orulz

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orulz last won the day on June 9 2013

orulz had the most liked content!

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  • Location
    Raleigh, NC
  • Interests
    transit, biking, running, outdoors, urban development, local politics

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  1. orulz

    Durham City Center Tower

    Thanks for the awesome photos. And as somebody from the eastern half of the Triangle, no offense taken. Raleigh has nothing to match it - it's a gem in every way from every angle. IMO Durham has the three best high rises in the Triangle from an architecture perspective: this, the Hill building, and University Tower (aka the Pickle.) University Tower has been a bit of a laughingstock in the past only because of its location, but Light Rail will fix that right up.
  2. Adding some floors on top of Cup A Joe would be awesome, you got me there. That would be a super win-win. But would that be possible without tearing apart the interior that carries so much of the character? And yeah, Cup-A-Joe would be one of the last places I would pick for a tear-down and redevelopment. But I just don't think I would say "No way, not ever" - especially for a building of decent quality (like Kane's Stanhope for example.) I think it's very rare that you find a business that is completely dependent on a physical building. Clyde Cooper's moved out of their old building downtown and some character was lost for sure. The look is quite different. But it has character too. And more space. The new look is fine with me. Would Cup-A-Joe change if it moved across the street into the ground floor of "The Standard"? Sure. Some of the character would come with, some of it would be lost and replaced with new character. Would it be for the worse? Not necessarily, I believe that the owners and whatever architects and designers they hire could do a good job of it. Pressed tin ceilings are indeed awesome, maybe they could be salvaged and used in the new location. Anyway, change. Inevitably, some things will be lost, other new things will be created. Life itself is a dynamic thing. I firmly believe that our built environment should be, too. We should bring things with us from the past to remind us of where we were, and we should endeavor to see with a clear eye what the true impacts will be if something is lost. But we should embrace change. But we'll never reach our potential without change, without renewal, without pruning the old growth to make room for the new.
  3. Is Cup-A-Joe important because of the single story brick commercial building or because of the business within? I'm not so sure I would be too upset if the building went away and the business lived on in a new building. While I am fairly upset about the Carolina Equipment Company / Lulu building, there's just something about single story buildings that makes me not care all that much. Aside from a select few buildings, Hillsborough from NCSU west has been such a "corridor of crap" for so long that it was overdue for a BIG change. I think we should be selective and only go to the mat for things that are really worth it, and if IMO there's not all that much that meets that criteria. Let's not forget that "preservation" is a favorite tool often hijacked by NIMBYs to squelch change and entrench themselves and their interests simply because they "got there first." If we allow overly aggressive preservation, Hillsborough will get preserved in amber as a corridor of crap for all time. So what do I think is worth preservation from a historical perspective? Between Pullen and Gorman, aside from buildings owned by the university itself, not a whole lot. The full block from Horne to Chamberlain (Mitch's, etc) The two walk-up apartment buildings (Wilmont and the other one across the street at 3109, not sure what it's called.) Wilmont has been heavily renovated in the last 10 years or so and is probably safe? Carolina Equipment Company - I thought this was safe when Lulu bought it, guess I was wrong. Nehi Building - bought and restored by James Goodnight. The well-regarded modernist building at 105 Brooks. (Do you hate me now, Jones?)
  4. orulz

    Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction

    What I'm not clear on is why this is better than old school jug handles, which have been around for eons, are simpler, and can also turn a full movement intersection into a two phase signal. Neither is very friendly to pedestrians. I guess this one might take up a bit less land (though even that's not entirely clear) but it has four additional traffic signals which could be timed to allow similar capacity, but makes designing and building the signals and building all the channelization would be much more complicated and expensive. Maybe it's something psychological about motorists not wanting to pass through the same intersection twice, or expecting to make left turns from the left lane.
  5. orulz

    2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan

    Cross-posting my reply to this from the transit thread in the Charlotte forum. This is crazy. I wasn't happy about how state share has been reduced from 25% to 10% but it is what it is: what do you expect from an all-Republican legislature. I could also honestly understand a rule that no state funding can be *spent* until a project has all its local and federal sources in hand. Let the agencies put up their own money during the planning process so the state doesn't pour money into a project only to have it fail due to losing its federal grant application. This is actually what happened back in 2005 - state money was spent on planning, property acquisition, and even some utility relocation work, and then the project died. As a major source of funding for transit projects, this condition would be understandable as a right-leaning legislature's prerogative (although no such condition exists for most roadway projects). So, if the federal grant application fails, then the money allocated to the project by the state can be reallocated elsewhere - nothing lost on the state's behalf except a few man hours of planning staff time, which would also be nothing unusual since committed roadway projects get cancelled or rescheduled all the time. But saying you can't even submit for prioritization before all other funding is committed is a blatant attempt to kill all state involvement in transit capital projects. It's so blatant I think it might not be truly intentional, and that even right-leaning legislators would consider an amendment. Possibly the people who drafted that bit don't understand how the New Starts process works. I think that taking the state's 10% out would kill the project. They're already leveraging future tax revenues to the max to cover the 40%. It might be possible with a bond issue and a substantial property tax hike. That would be very, very painful.
  6. This is crazy. I wasn't happy about how state share has been reduced from 25% to 10% but it is what it is: what do you expect from an all-Republican legislature. I could also honestly understand a rule that no state funding can be *spent* until a project has all its local and federal sources in hand. Let the agencies put up their own money during the planning process so the state doesn't pour money into a project only to have it fail due to losing its federal grant application. This is actually what happened back in 2005 - state money was spent on planning, property acquisition, and even some utility relocation work, and then the project died. As a major source of funding for transit projects, this condition would be understandable as a right-leaning legislature's prerogative (although no such condition exists for most roadway projects). So, if the federal grant application fails, then the money allocated to the project by the state can be reallocated elsewhere - nothing lost on the state's behalf except a few man hours of planning staff time, which would also be nothing unusual since committed roadway projects get cancelled or rescheduled all the time. But saying you can't even submit for prioritization before all other funding is committed is a blatant attempt to kill all state involvement in transit capital projects. It's so blatant I think it might not be truly intentional, and that even right-leaning legislators would consider an amendment. Possibly the people who drafted that bit don't understand how the New Starts process works.
  7. orulz

    2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan

    The last meeting for this phase of the study is today at the Cary Arts Center, at 5:30PM. I'll be there
  8. This roundabout feels like it *should* be a pedestrian focus but it's really awful from a pedestrian perspective. It looks like this development does absolutely nothing to improve on it. In a way I can't blame them for putting the parking facing the roundabout like that because the pedestrian environment is so awful. That said, I wish this were set back a little more to make the sidewalk wider. The sidewalks are SO narrow. Literally like six feet wide, between a wall and a fence. As time goes on, I'm hoping more and more that they either rip the roundabout or at least move the curbs out to where they would be if this had been built as a single-lane roundabout from the beginning.
  9. orulz

    Charlotte Center City Streetcar Network

    Sorry, but CATS needs to completely go back to the drawing board with regards to absolutely 100% of its branding. Gold and black lettering on a blue, silver, and black train? Where on earth did they dig up the font they use for logos? The whole logo looks like they modeled it off of something they found on a web ring using Netscape Navigator some time around 1996. Do they do all graphic design in house? If so, they need to hire a consultant. If they already have a consultant, they need a new one.
  10. orulz

    2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan

    This is getting off topic, but NCDOT does have $90 million allocated towards the Crabtree project starting in 2022, which in planning terms is practically tomorrow.
  11. orulz

    2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan

    ^Why's that? Too expensive, not enough benefits? Too much opposition? NCDOT actually had a meeting on Monday about this. I saw no notice about this meeting (and I keep track of this stuff pretty carefully) so they must have only invited people who live nearby. According to the news, it went about as could be predicted: a bunch of people who live nearby came and most who spoke were opposed. Some of the concerns were hyperbolic NIMBYism but others seemed reasonable. Personally I think the idea has promise.
  12. orulz

    2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan

    You probably know this, but there already is a significant transit hub at the mall. It's nice enough: it's under the parking deck, so it's sheltered from the rain, and it's fairly easy to walk into the mall. It does take the buses a bit of time to get in/out, as you mention, but there's potential to improve that with the new Crabtree Valley Avenue interchange that they're planning. They're also planning on reworking the routes in West Raleigh in a way fairly similar to what you mention. To have an efficient route to Crabtree you have to go up Glenwood, which means going through Hayes-Barton. I recognize that. Glenwood also seems to be gradually moving in the same direction as Peachtree Road in Atlanta between Midtown and Buckhead, where everything within one block is redeveloped into denser multifamily and offices, while keeping the SFH neighborhoods behind it intact. Having frequent bus service in place during that transition is probably worthwhile. However, I have more of an issue with the crosstown route from Centennial Campus to North Hills. To me it seems like having both of these routes allocates too much resources to the richest part of Raleigh. These two frequent routes cross at Glenwood/St. Mary's, which is smack in the middle of everywhere, but at the same time is a nowhere itself, with nothing but high-income single family neighborhoods and a golf course within a half-mile radius, and little potential for increasing density along St Mary's or Lassiter Mill in our lifetimes. Coupled with the fact that the only frequent service that extends more than a mile outside the beltline into North Raleigh is on Capital Blvd, you can see how the optics might be troublesome from a general social justice standpoint as well as for residents of North Raleigh at large. I also think there's more potential for infill and redevelopment to increase density along OTB corridors like Glenwood, Six Forks, Falls, and Atlantic than there is in Hayes-Barton. I also question whether the density and uses are there to justify frequent service along Blue Ridge Road, at the expense of extending frequent service further out the radial corridors. In the future, perhaps, but today? Not really.
  13. orulz

    2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan

    Not every corridor can have BRT, and they've chosen the three highest ridership single routes (Capital, New Bern, and South Saunders) plus the westbound corridor which has a lot of ridership spread out over several routes (GoRaleigh 4, 11, 12, and the GoTriangle 100, 105, 300, and 301.) I don't think that BRT on Falls, Six Forks, or even Glenwood, really makes sense at this time.. TL;DR: I think the BRT is in the right place. However, I definitely have the feeling that ending the "frequent network" at the beltline for every corridor except Capital is a mistake on multiple levels. First, politically, as you state. It leaves out too much of the city. Second, for social justice. A disproportionate amount of that frequent service winds up going through the richest, most exclusive parts of ITB Raleigh like Hayes-Barton. Third, for ridership. Many of those ITB neighborhoods that wind up getting all the frequent service will have little chance of attracting riders out of their Teslas and BMWs, zero prospect for getting denser, and really aren't even all that dense compared with some of the older, often rather affordable apartment and townhome complexes scattered throughout North Raleigh, So, I think that extending the frequent routes further up corridors like Glenwood, Six Forks, and Falls might be a better use of resources than having frequent crosstown routes that bypass downtown.
  14. orulz

    2035 Triangle Regional Transit Vision Plan

    GoTriangle is holding a round of meetings about the Wake County transit plan in the coming weeks. The first meeting already happened, in fact. The subject is Bus Rapid Transit and the Frequent Bus Network. This will be the "core" of transit in the Raleigh area and implementation should happen between now and 2027. Monday, April 30, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Garner Town Hall (2nd floor) Thursday, May 3, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. GoRaleigh Operations Center Monday, May 14, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. WakeMed Andrews Conference Center Tuesday, May 15, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Cary Arts Center (Paul Cooper Room)
  15. Being forced to walk an extra block or two to get where I'm going is pretty annoying. Say I'm at the front of the train, headed south, and I'm trying to get somewhere on the south side of fourth street. When I get off the train, I'm right next to the fourth street "emergency" stairs. I have to get off the train and have to walk back north to the Trade Street stairs, walk through the station, then double back south, walk to a crosswalk at Graham or Cedar, etc. In the worst case scenario, this could be literally almost a half mile of extra walking. Now imagine yourself as a commuter who has to do this twice a day, EVERY DAY. If you've ever been on the NYC subway you'll be familiar with the damn infernal BUZZ that happens when people use the emergency exits to get out of the station. Loud, annoying, awful - but people do it ALL. THE. TIME. At some stations, the buzz seems to literally never stop. Why do they have to be emergency exits? Why can' they just be... exits? I have a similar complaint with how the platform access is handled at the brand-new Raleigh Union Station. Rather than just walking straight from the platform to downtown, you have to walk way to the access tunnel, then walk away from downtown to the very back of the station, and then double back towards downtown. Similarly, there will be an emergency exit that would dramatically cut the distance, but I'm pretty sure it will be protected with "panic hardware." Seemingly insignificant human factors like this can really add up. They can add 'slip ramps' and right turn lanes all over the place to let drivers move around with less friction, but they can't throw train passengers a bone? Come on.