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About paholler

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  • Location
    Concord, NC
  • Interests
    Urban Planning, Public Transit, Urban Geography
  1. Just curious, why divert all traffic down to the Belk? To me the Brookshire seems the more logical path as it allows for a more straight route, has the potential to be upgraded to interstate capacity all the way to I-85, and would no longer cut off uptown from SouthEnd. More on topic... I am all for parks uptown, and I do dislike 277, but the price per acre for a capped park seems awfully high. Why not convert some of the surface lots that remain uptown into smaller parks? Sure we would lack a large, flagship park, but a couple of smaller ones may see as much, if not more, use due to their proximity to more places.
  2. ^ All the better reason for a complete demolition. Warm up those bulldozers!
  3. ^ I have to agree to a point. Many of the rural Interstates being constructed are indeed overkill. However, the conditions of the highways they are replacing are often horrendous. Perhaps a more balanced approach would be to use the money granted to the interstate highways to improve the existing roadways, add shoulders, and such. Investment in our peripheral areas is necessary, but many of you are right in asserting that what NC has done is overkill.
  4. ^ My apologies if my prior statement wandered a bit from the topic at hand. I was specifically trying to address the issues of equity in the statewide transportation funding formula discussed on what is now page 15 of the forum. The questions of 'highways through the swamp,' giving the east more money at the expense of Wake and Mecklenburg, and the like. My personal belief is that simply restructuring the landscape will not provide the intended benefits to the rural areas which the state hopes to achieve. In many cases they need infrastructure improvements, but it is unrealistic to expect them to boost economic investment. This ties back into the east v urban funding issue. Urban areas provide the bulk of the funds, but we want them spent locally (485 etc) where we see a direct benefit. While I am not in the best position to judge, perhaps (in terms of the state at large) the most benefit can be realized by improving the rural infrastructure....at the expense of expansion in the Charlotte area. (despite all this, I do really find it ridiculous that 485 has taken so long)
  5. I cannot help but wince at the notions of environmental determinism that are woven into this dialogue. While I am a relative newcomer to the Carolinas and do not fully understand the cryptic structure of the state's funding formula, I do notice some problems. North Carolina's rural areas, especially those in the east, are depressed and poor. This is certain. However, there is no evidence to support that extending more freeway networks to them will improve their economic situation. Accessibility plays a central role in the location of firms, yes, but so do numerous other factors including the quality of the workforce, presence of complimentary firms, telecommunications infrastructure, and quality of life factors for employees. These are why industries tend to agglomerate in urban areas (though in an increasingly suburban form). The educational attainment of much of those regions is low. Any new business that needs an educated workforce would be darn near crazy to locate in much of Eastern North Carolina. They would have to coax an entire workforce to move along with them. The construction of freeways makes these areas more accessible, but nobody is going to commute 2 hours from Charlotte or an hour plus from Raleigh to work in a firm located near GTP. The only industries this will attract are low-level assembly and manufacturing firms that do not rely upon the close proximity of related suppliers. Read: low paying jobs. How many Wal-Mart distribution centers and plastics manufacturers can the region support anyway? If the goal of the state, through extending interstate highways to the east, is to improve the economic health of the region they got the prescription wrong. Instead, further investment in education, public health, and related measures should be undertaken to make the region a more attractive place in which to live and conduct business. - - - - Which brings me to Mecklenburg and Wake counties. Yes, the interstates are above capacity in many places. Yes, 485 should have been completed ages ago. Yes, we pay out more than we recieve in services. But such is the nature of government. Like it or not, we need many of the services provided by the rural areas. We rely upon them for agricultural products, some industry, and natural resources. If left to their own devices, those counties would not have near enough money to construct and maintain the infrastructure needed to promptly deliver those goods and services. The same works at the national scale. Wyoming, big but sparsely populated, consumes far more in federal tax dollars than it pays in. If it didn't, coal, cattle, and other products would never reach much of the country. So we will just have to sit back and wait our turn. Hey, two good things could still come from this approach. One: if congestion reaches gridlock in many places, it may be the force to slow development that our local governments are not willing to be. Two: it always gives us something to complain about - which seems to be Charlotte's favorite hobby ("We never get as much as Raleigh, or, the east gets more than we do")
  6. While I can understand the questions about the vast amount of retail space present in this new development, I cannot help but feel a bit of a contradictory tone toward the development in general. Please allow me to elaborate. Charlotte is growing and all the new people and business will have to go somewhere. Unfortunately the development between uptown and 485 is some of the lowest density, worst planned imaginable. How then can a new development along the lines of Birkdale be viewed with fear or disdain? It could just as easily be constructed as a "llifestyle center" of tons of little, single-story strip malls with arterial roads and parking placed between them and monotonous, repetitive apartment complexes lined along one side. If we are going to experience growth at the fringes, is not this density and design better than what we have been doing (and what many metro areas continue to do)? I understand people's traffic concerns on I-77. Nobody likes to commute in what is essentially a parking lot. However, congestion is a natural symptom of growth and prosperity. And, if it gets beyond several peoples' tipping points, behavior and attitudes will begin to change. Demand for the express busses will grow as will demand for the proposed north corridor rail line. Even if medium density developments are not near a transit stop, they can easily be linked by connecting bus routes. Imagine a circulator connecting a downtown Huntersville station, Birkdale, and this proposed development. If service were available every 15 minutes during peak demand, many commuting demands could be met. I am not asking for opinions to change. Rather, I am asking "It sure could be a lot worse, couldn't it?"
  7. I know I am jumping in late in the discussion, but I have a few questions. 1. Since when has weekend activity related to a university occured on campus? Most weekend activity on all campuses I have attended and travelled to (Big 10 to D III) centers around entertainment districts near the campus. Bars, concert venues, coffee shops, parks, and cafes are all magnets for university student activity. The campus buildings themselves, and the campus grounds, are largely dead as everyone congregates in these areas. Only those who live on campus tend to congregate on campus, and this generally occurs only in the residences. These districts generally develop around dense clusters of student housing. Several in this forum have pointed to the serious flaws the University City area has with regard to encouraging a dense, pedestrian-oriented campus area. 2. As a follow-up to an earlier question about the four games per year: How, if a football team plays on campus, will it encourage activity on campus (outside of the four quarters of gameplay) that is not tailgating in the parking lot? If any pre or post game activity occurs, one can almost guarantee it will be at places such as the Flying Saucer or Buffalo Wild Wings - not on the campus malll. Universities are in the business of education - not sports. UNC Charlotte has the goal of becoming a tier 1 research institution in the next sevaral years. This will put them on par with UNC Chapel Hill in terms of classification and make UNC Charlotte eligible for further funding for academic programs. The current enrollment of about 22,000 students is expected to surpass 30,000 in the next few years. The capital necessary to provide space and faculty support for these additional students is great, but is far better spent on academic facilities and faculty, which will further contribute to achieving the university's academic goal and securing more grant funding, than on a football program which is almost certain to lose money. (For a detailed outline of this see yesterday's Observer)
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