RALNATIVE

Triangle Growth - Issues & Opportunities

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The Raleigh MSA is expected to swell to 2.2M by 2040, making it one of the fastest growing metros over the next few decades. Durham-Chapel Hill is expected to grow to 753,000 by 2040. This would put the Triangle CSA at around 3M in 2040.

https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2016/10/11/raleigh-metros-population-to-grow-by-72-percent-in.html

 

With all of this growth, I question whether the Triangle, and especially Raleigh, is doing many of the things needed today to address the issues and opportunities that will come with the greater population.

 

Please share any thoughts on this topic...

Edited by RALNATIVE

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Raleigh-Durham CSA (2015)

Census Pop.  
1970 446,074  
1980 560,774   25.7%
1990 735,480   31.2%
2000 1,187,941   61.5%
2010 1,912,729   61.0%
Est. 2015 2,211,022   15.6%

If we grow by 1/2 of the rate of the last 25 years, we are at 2.885 million.

If we were to grow at the same rate as the last 25 years, we are at 3.560 million

Basically, between where Pittsburgh CSA and Denver CSAs are in 2016.

Charlotte CSA, on the other hand is 2.632 million in 2016; at half the growth of the last 25 years, they are at 3.434 million; or, if at same clip, 4.211 million.

The North Carolina Urban Crescent, the contigous, uninterrupted urban core of NC is between 8.3 and 9.8 million by 2040 in an area of about 14,000 square miles.  In terms of area, somewhere between DC-Baltimore at 12,000 square miles or Atlanta at 13,000 and Dallas Fort Worth at 14,500 and Houston at 15,000 square miles but no where near Las Vegas at 40,000 sq. miles, Salt Lake City at 27K or LA at 34K.

I-85 is going to be a disaster unless there's alternatives...

Edited by Phillydog

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My biggest concern is that the NC cities were not originally designed to be large urban cities like many of the cities in the northeast. I'm not sure that trying to retrofit them to support the types of populations that are projected in a couple of decades will work.

There will be significant impacts on the roads, water supplies, public schools, housing costs, etc. We're already seeing the consequences of rapid growth and I'm not sure that this area is prepared and even capable of handling the growth decades from now.

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4 hours ago, RALNATIVE said:

My biggest concern is that the NC cities were not originally designed to be large urban cities like many of the cities in the northeast. I'm not sure that trying to retrofit them to support the types of populations that are projected in a couple of decades will work.

There will be significant impacts on the roads, water supplies, public schools, housing costs, etc. We're already seeing the consequences of rapid growth and I'm not sure that this area is prepared and even capable of handling the growth decades from now.

This is a tremendously good point. I wonder if at some point, entire cul-de-sac laden areas will need to be replaced with real city-style bones. 

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As a city planner and urban designer the biggest challenge is knowledge. People need to be more aware of how the built environment impacts their health their wealth and their overall sense of well-being.

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Its flooring to think of where we'll be size wise in 20 years.  The population of the WHOLE Triangle will be in Raleigh Metro alone. We'll be larger then cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

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9 hours ago, Jones_ said:

This is a tremendously good point. I wonder if at some point, entire cul-de-sac laden areas will need to be replaced with real city-style bones. 

Precisely. It will be interesting to see how land use evolves as the population continues to grow.

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On 11/23/2017 at 1:39 PM, Jones_ said:

I wonder if at some point, entire cul-de-sac laden areas will need to be replaced with real city-style bones. 

No city or county government would be able to do so by eminent domain. Any attempt would be hung in court indefinitely, and the General Assembly would probably intervene anyway. Getting all the property owners in a large subdivision like the one I live in (1500 homes) to sell voluntarily would be virtually impossible. The cul-de-sacs are here to stay, for better or worse, at least in the large subdivisions.  For very small subdivisions a developer might be able to raise enough money to make the property owners offers that they can't refuse, but that wouldn't have much of an impact.

Edited by ctl

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3 hours ago, ctl said:

No city or county government would be able to do so by eminent domain. Any attempt would be hung in court indefinitely, and the General Assembly would probably intervene anyway. Getting all the property owners in a large subdivision like the one I live in (1500 homes) to sell voluntarily would be virtually impossible. The cul-de-sacs are here to stay, for better or worse, at least in the large subdivisions.  For very small subdivisions a developer might be able to raise enough money to make the property owners offers that they can't refuse, but that wouldn't have much of an impact.

You're totally correct. But to clarify, my fantasy/thought was on like a 100 year horizon, and would be founded upon road issues alone....only compensation can really go anywhere in court currently, as the State and it's units of government (municipalities), all have clear authority to invoke eminent domain for roads. I don't know of any good candidates off the top of my head, but assume smaller subdivisions, and areas where there are no HOAs would be lowest hanging fruit/best bang for the buck. 

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Charlotte   now does  not allow  cul-de-sacs.   But it will take a long tine to get rid of  cul-de-sacs already here.   So Raleigh has the same problem as Charlotte.

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Just back from midtown Atlanta where I spent Thanksgiving in a house built in 1920. The area is notorious for discontinuous streets. Atlanta hasn't fixed it in 100 years, and I doubt Raleigh will fix cul-de-sacs, either!

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I'll house this here under "issues" with growth. It's also obviously tied to the transit thread...

Anyway, a 650 acre interchange....

With denser cities and a full fledged transit system, you could probably get by without 540 but here we are taking 650 acres essentially off the map in every way except to move vehicles. It's no longer generating taxes..can't be developed. Wildlife other than birds can't even safely use it. I guarantee sufficient O&M money isn't being set aside for it, therefore...'it isn't paying for itself', but the Locke Foundation will never tell you that. At the highest level, growth cannot continue forever, and it is much harder to sustain, this type of growth. In 40 years will there be another loop? Chapel Hill-Pittsboro-Angier-Middle Sex-Franklinton-Bahama? How much better would it be to take a magnificent bike ride down the Neuse River Greenway to Clayton, then hang a right over to a 650 acre PARK, then pick up Swift Creek on a greenway to Lake Benson and Lake Wheeler with connections back to south Raleigh and Cary from there....

The need to commute to an office is rapidly declining from what I can tell....I know many many people who work from home 1-3 days a week or do corporate work from a home almost entirely....I would love to see a point where interstates are actually removed in my lifetime, especially loops and urban thruways.

I find 650 acre interchanges very dismaying...

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I was horrified at the 650 number also. NCDOT might have reasons for it, but I doubt anyone tasked them to minimize the footprint during design. It does illustrate, however, the growth in Johnston County. 200,000 people there now, compared to 100,000 twenty years ago. Projections say 250,000 in ten years... the fastest-growing county in the state by percentage, even more than Chatham,  headed for 400,000+ by 2050. At that point, the 540/40/70 intersection becomes one of the busiest in the Triangle. Could it be that for once, NCDOT is being proactive? And I doubt most of those 50,000 new residents will be working in DTR. More likely their jobs will be distributed across the Triangle. 

As for an outer outer loop, it will never happen... for the same reason that metro Atlanta reduced its plan for GA 500 (their "Outer Perimeter") to just an arc between 11 o'clock and 2 o'clock. What you might ultimately see is a connector between I-85 and US 1 through Granville County, an improved NC 96 between Zebulon and Selma, and an improved US 421 between Sanford and Dunn... case-by-case improvements, that is.

Edited by ctl
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44 minutes ago, ctl said:

I was horrified at the 650 number also. NCDOT might have reasons for it, but I doubt anyone tasked them to minimize the footprint during design. It does illustrate, however, the growth in Johnston County. 200,000 people there now, compared to 100,000 twenty years ago. Projections say 250,000 in ten years... the fastest-growing county in the state by percentage, even more than Chatham,  headed for 400,000+ by 2050. At that point, the 540/40/70 intersection becomes one of the busiest in the Triangle. Could it be that for once, NCDOT is being proactive? And I doubt most of those 50,000 new residents will be working in DTR. More likely their jobs will be distributed across the Triangle. 

As for an outer outer loop, it will never happen... for the same reason that metro Atlanta reduced its plan for GA 500 (their "Outer Perimeter") to just an arc between 11 o'clock and 2 o'clock. What you might ultimately see is a connector between I-85 and US 1 through Granville County, an improved NC 96 between Zebulon and Selma, and an improved US 421 between Sanford and Dunn... case-by-case improvements, that is.

The goal of the agency using design-build procurement for a project is basically to come up with a "worst case scenario" in terms of impacts before handing it over to the contractor. The contractor would then be free to design within those bounds and would have incentives to reduce both the footprint and cost as well.

This is the same problem that NCDOT is running into regarding the beltline footprint between Meredith and University Club. The footprint depicted at public meetings is a worst-case scenario.

When there is uncertainty, it is just the nature of some people to assume that the worst-case scenaro probably WILL happen.  At the very least, the way our environmental review system is set up, it pays to exaggerate how much it impacts you because you might score yourself some extra mitigation. Hence all the blustery, overblown controversy.

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Design-Build contracts are interesting things. The shared profit-contingency and GMP together, put significant contractor skin in the game and heads off claims. It also likely excludes bad-apple firms with an in depth selection process vs just a low bid selection. Does it save much money overall? Not really from what I have seen...it mostly just hems surprises that bite owners later. 

I did kind of envision a sort of boxed highway layout vs an outer/outer loop. The State is just connecting up the last few areas now with 74, 73 and what is it, I-140 up to the northeast part of the State?

I do think DOT is doing *their job correctly this time....we are just far too reliant on them to do a job. 

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Last week the N&O ran a story on a new development in Wendell for 4,000 homes and an initial 2 million square feet of retail on 1,100 acres.  Build-out will take 10 years or so. "The development could triple the size of Wendell." This is a big step for eastern Wake County.

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article205494749.html

It fits with the message of a Brookings study that suburbia is growing again. "We see a continued rise in both outer exurban areas and low-density emerging suburban counties at growth levels not registered since 2008." 

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/26/us-population-disperses-to-suburbs-exurbs-rural-areas-and-middle-of-the-country-metros/

 

 

 

 

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On ‎4‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 7:18 PM, ctl said:

Last week the N&O ran a story on a new development in Wendell for 4,000 homes and an initial 2 million square feet of retail on 1,100 acres.  Build-out will take 10 years or so. "The development could triple the size of Wendell." This is a big step for eastern Wake County.

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article205494749.html

It fits with the message of a Brookings study that suburbia is growing again. "We see a continued rise in both outer exurban areas and low-density emerging suburban counties at growth levels not registered since 2008." 

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/26/us-population-disperses-to-suburbs-exurbs-rural-areas-and-middle-of-the-country-metros/

 

 

 

 

Indeed, it's a big step for eastern Wake and east Raleigh because Wendell Falls is actually between Wendell and Raleigh. But, I'd point out that if this development really tripled the size of Wendell that means it (Wendell Falls) would be home to 12,000 people, which would be like 7K/square mile, making it much denser than Raleigh as a whole, and I think they said the development might have up to 6 million sq ft of commercial development. This company is also really emphasizing walkability in their promotional materials so this is a much much better suburban development than we usually see. If we're going to see a lot more suburban development (which we will) I hope more of it looks like this. 

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I don't see why we can't just build 'urban' from the get go. Or else, I have it in my head, that there is such a thing as low density or low-rise urban....connected, walkable, mixed use buildings and blocks, connected to transit, in which case perhaps Wendell Falls *could be 'urban' by those criteria, but I haven't looked over site plans at all. I suppose, too, I should read what 'experts' consider urban criteria. The US census definition is very loose. 

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I'm not sure I understand what you're saying? Walkable and urban aren't necessarily the same thing, a lot of streetcar suburbs are very walkable but not exactly urban. Wendell Falls (and Briar Chapel in Chatham county, same company) will have like 4 villages of 1,000 houses or so, with little village centers, and then a larger town center inside the four villages. It makes a lot of sense from a walkability standpoint because it creates multiple commercial districts that will primarily serve the local residents. At the same time, it delivers the product: big, relatively cheap houses with small yards, that is really in demand around the area. People obviously want detached houses, so we might as well try for as much walkability as we can given that constraint. Better suburban design could do wonders for the Triangle. 

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I was really just thinking out loud that "urban" means different things to different people. I figured Wendell Falls would never be anything but glorified sprawl, but didn't say so, because I had not looked over any of the project details. Anyway, I would consider 'walkable' an urban trait, meaning you cannot be urban without it. Well...now that I think about it, I think I have two levels of urban in my head, regular, modern giant mess urban, and urban-proper. Most everything that has been built since cars had to be accommodated, resulted in the former label. Original buildouts pre-car, were urban-proper. Modern attempts to replicant the historic version and smashed up areas that used to be proper, fall into some shade of grey. I've not tried to list out the objective items so cannot assign a shade of grey until I can point to the missing items from the non-list. But I intend to 

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Oh, it's definitely glorified sprawl. After all, it's a single-family development. But, I think a lot of people want sprawl, so I appreciate a company trying to add some urbanism to their development. Having some walkability is still better than a normal subdivision, which has absolutely none. 

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4 hours ago, SteveFromFuquay said:

Having some walkability is still better than a normal subdivision, which has absolutely none. 

Well, the suburban subdivision where I live has what I call limited walkability. There are sidewalks on one side of the principle streets, and it's straightforward to reach the nearby strip shopping centers or the GoRaleigh line on foot.  I see people bring home groceries on foot -- the acid test -- although to be fair 99% of people drive.  And people do walk to/from the shamefully inadequate bus stops. Since the 1980s, I think, the City of Raleigh has basically insisted on sidewalks for one side of principle streets in new subdivisions inside the ETJ or the city limits. But we are saddled with a huge legacy of subdivisions that don't have them.

Edited by ctl

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Where is all the population growth in the Raleigh Durham coming from and this report talks about it.  From places you expected and maybe some you did not. The population of the area has grown by 250,000 since 2010.

http://www.jll.com/raleigh-durham/en-us/research/snapshots/955/raleigh-durham-5-29-18-residents-flock-to-raleigh-durham

 

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