Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

monsoon

Smart Growth/Planning in North Carolina

Where in NC is the best Smart Growth found?   57 members have voted

  1. 1. Where in NC is the best Smart Growth found?

    • Asheville
      6
    • Wilmington
      1
    • Charlotte
      26
    • Greensboro
      3
    • Winston-Salem
      7
    • Raleigh
      3
    • Durham
      1
    • Chapel Hill/Caroboro
      7
    • Durham
      0
    • Other (explain)
      2

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

44 posts in this topic


From things that I've seen and read among the major cities in the state, it seems that Charlotte has the most organized and most well supported set of smart growth policies.

Between watching the city council meetings on TV and reading articles about projects in the papers, I can't help but feel as though the people calling the shots have relatively high control over what a developer or builder can or cannot do.

Raleigh itself seems to be adjusting to the concept of smart growth without much trouble, the problem with that area is the surrounding towns in Wake County and Johnston County. There are too many different goverments, too many differing policies.

I think that the concept of "The Triangle" will continue to cripple the area in terms of the consistency of growth. Their motto "A family of communities" is probably pretty accurate--most families are dysfunctional :D

In the end, I guess people will go where they are the most happy. I think it is great that so many people relocated from Cary and other Triangle towns into Raleigh... Raleigh's high percentage of growth (into the actual city) is a good sign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My impression is that NC is a great booster for big corporations in the name of jobs, regardless of anything else. This impression comes from news articles about how NC is trying to take high tech and biotech jobs from other states using ad blitzes and letters to CEOs touting low taxes, cheap land, low wages and tax funded business support programs. This could be a load of crap, but I see these stories all the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't been to Ashville yet so i'm going to say Charlotte

what can i say i don't get out much

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are more urban & new urbanism projects in Charlotte than any other metro in the state...but there's also more sprawl due the the larger size of the city. Its a toss up I guess.

Charlotte talks the good talk about smart growth, but in the end developers get what they want and families get the much coveted cul de sac home. Heck, my realtor said people pay premium prices to live on a cul de sac. THis must be the only city in the country that is investing HEAVILY in rail transit AND a sprawl producing beltway - simultaneously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with 49er. Similar issues exist in Raleigh, so I cast my vote for Asheville. The truth is that all major NC metros want to fight sprawl and promote smart growth, but few cities have the guts to enforce strict urban guidelines. Raleigh is not doing as bad in that area, considering the continuous momentum the city has created for downtown and the surrounding areas. Hell, even Crabtree Valley will start looking more urban when the plans for that area start to be implemented. Charlotte supports more New Urbanism-related projects, while Raleigh tries to revive some old, traditional urbanism. Both cities get it, but we are very early in the game to judge the results. I guess that the Triad is somewhere along the same lines. I see more similarities between Greensboro, Durham and Raleigh; Winston-Salem seems to be going to a similar direction, but I think it will follow an even more traditional development path. Considering its well-preserved historical neighborhoods, it is the right thing to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the trolley idea for Asheville. As far as mass transit is concerned, no city in North Carolina has [currently] an efficient transit system, although plans may exist. Asheville will definitely need one in the future, but for now they can "survive" without it. I bet there will be one within the next 5-10 years, once the city grows more. Maybe HauntedHeadNC can offer his opinion on this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Just wanted to comment on Asheville's mass transit here briefly. While the only trolleys to be found in this city are the motorized ones used by the "Asheville Historic Trolley Tour" company, Asheville's bus system is pretty good. I hear people calling it a "joke" all the time, but I don't see why. It covers the entire city, and really because of the bus system, it's not that hard to get around Asheville or even to live in Asheville without a car. I know a few people who have done just the latter, by the way.

However, when it comes to rail, Asheville has decided on a location for its future rail station, and that would be a site in the Biltmore Village Historic District, just south of downtown and past the medical district. True, there's been no planning for a light rail networkd or anything like that, but is Asheville really big enough to support such a thing? I suppose light rail would be feasible if it were more a regional network instead of just one that served the city, with connections to places like Black Mountain, Hendersonville, Waynesville, and Madison County. There are, however, already bus connections to Hendersonville and Black Mountain, and there's not been enough demand for public transit service to anywhere else that I know of.

I think Asheville's public transit system is adequate overall. When rail arrives, perhaps it would become more feasible to connect Asheville to other nearby cities, but for now I think bus service is enough. In the menatime also, I don't think a trolley would be a viable option in Ashevile because the railroad tracks don't run through downtown! Rail lines run alongside the city's two rivers, the French Broad and the Swannanoa. The line that passes through Biltmore Village runs alongside the Swannanoa and then continues past the spot where that river flows into the French Broad, following the contours of the French Broad through an historic industrial area called the River District and northward. Ashevile's never had to bother with the railroad passing through downtown itself, which sits several hundred feet above the river, with a steep hill separating it from the River District. I believe that starting back in 1885 when the train first arrived in Asheville, when passengers arrived here via rail, the rich then went wherever they were going in private coaches, and everyone else took streetcars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input HauntedHeadNC... It makes a lot of difference to hear about Asheville's present and future transit plans from someone who actually lives in Asheville. While there maybe small cities with good public transportation in place, we must also consider the budget issues. For Asheville to create an even better public transit system, LOTS of money is necessary, which for now is not feasible. I do not know if there are any plans for the future, 25 years from now, but given the development pattern changes, it would be hard to come up with a solid plan. I am sure, however, that smaller cities will benefit from the mistakes of the bigger ones and learn from the future plans NC's largest metros have in place to remedy the situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, perhaps an electric trolley system would be a good fit for Asheville, but I don't know that the idea of one would fly due to the traffic tie-ups that would be caused by a slower-moving vehicle like a trolley trundling along through downtown streets. Further, some of downtown's streets are very narrow and wouldn't be able to accommodate a trolley without making them impassible to other traffic.

However, you were certainly right about Asheville's downtown foot traffic, Metro boi. But lack of parking? There's some on-street parking, but your better bet for parking downtown is in a garage, as there are numerous parking garages scattered around downtown. I know there's one on Biltmore Avenue, as well as one on Wall Street, and another that serves the Civic Center and library, and yet another with an entrance on Ranking Avenue. There's another, by the way, at the bend of Haywood Street, under construction. It's being built by the city as part of a large mixed-use project, and it and the commercial/residential project will be built using Art Deco-style architecture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are there other revitalized/revitalizing areas in Asheville? You bet! West Asheville, Biltmore Village, Montford, the River District, and Chicken Hill come to mind. There are also lots of neighborhoods that never really declined as well, like Grove Park and Beverly Hills.

Next up at the plate, as near as I can tell, would be South Slope and the Broadway Corridor, plus more of West Asheville, and other parts of North Asheville aside from Broadway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


TTA's regional rail is still going. That is, they are working on many different areas, from upgrading the lines, to planning projects near the future stations, to upgrading bridges, etc. In other words, it is going as planned. Here are some images from the Boylan Heights station that I found on the Internet:

Wye_1-sim.jpg

wye2sim.jpg

And here is TTA's regional rail page, including a link to the current status of the project [look at left sidebar], although not really up-to-date:

TTA Regional Rail

Also, take a look at the Intermodal Station, planned for Downtown Raleigh, near Boylan Heights station:

intermodal.jpg

I expect a few bumps along the way, but nothing major. TTA seems to be doing a good job in presenting this project as a vital transportation plan for the future, so I don't anticipate any major delays. The funny thing is that the developers did not warm up to the idea right away, but they seem to be more anxious than I thought, and I am not talking just about those who favor more urban projects. It always helps to have plans for the areas surrounding the future regional rail stations; it makes a better case in front of the powers-to-be. Most discussions are about minimizing any negative impact of the project, as well as investigate ways to attract more developers. Quite frankly, this is the right time to do that, before the State and Federal government commit with actual funds. The momentum is slow, but it seems to have picked up pace from a year ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I agree, as long as the developers are not as "cheap" as the ones that currently made proposals for the convention hotel :angry: (Look at the new thread concerning those proposals.) I do not expect high-rises, but I do anticipate lots of 5-8 stories mid-rises near the stations. There was a very interesting presentation, several weeks ago, concerning development around the stations, and let me tell you... it was truly awesome. The plans are there, and the developers will eventually jump in with both feet, but we need the strength to enforce strict urban guidelines and not let the developers come up with all sorts of stupid ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The top 2 for me are Chapel Hill and Asheville. Both those cities have basically rejected the kind of sprawl thats found in other NC cities. They have very strict zoning ordinances. Even though Charlotte has alot of sprawl, the Queen City does have a smart growth plan in place with the urban infill development that will be connected by trolleys and light rail. Charlotte is ahead of the pack when it comes to fixing the damage that has been caused by sprawl and Raleigh is not to far behind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WoW This looks like an airport terminal! This really is great news for the Raleigh/Durham area!

intermodal.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Triad is Basically where Raleigh/Durham was back in 1994. I can't wait till the Triad gets their regional rail going here is the link to regional rail in the Triad

http://www.partnc.org

potential rail transit corridors

Corridors.jpg

current living and working areas

1994-2025-land-use_01.gif

projected future working and living areas

1994-2025-land-use_02.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

monsoon: I agree 100%. I will be very happy if I see mid-rises (5-8 floors) surrounding the stations. Like you said. If destinations are created around the rail stops, the whole project will have better chances of succeeding. Personally, I would ride the train just for fun. I'd much rather shop in an area around the stations than the stupid shopping centers they poisoned this city with.

Cityboi: Regional rail projects across NC will flourish once TTA's plan proves to be a success. Financially, it may not be as profitable, but if ridership increases and urban developments near the stations flourish, then be certain that the rest of the state will follow. The intermodal station is a very impressive project; I remember it years ago, when it was in its infancy. What's left now is for developers to submit more drawings of the plans to create more urban centers. Momentum is all that's needed before people get excited about the potential.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

monsoon, I just have to point out that the development you love so much in Huntersville, Birkdale village, is just as auto dependent as Arysley. Both depend on the car for shoppers to support the development. Both have housing, but not enough to support all the shops there. From the plans i have seen, they appear very similar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.