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Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction


monsoon

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In light of all the discussion regarding CATS' cost overruns, I thought I'd attempt to turn a little bit of attention to highway cost overruns......

I don't see what this has to do with CATS. Most of CATS cost overruns, in fact the vast majority of that, is related to bungling, and incompetence in its staff who can't seem to manage a construction project. The article said the highway building cost increases were related to materials increases, not bad management. (Though I've always assume the NCDOT had some of that too)

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I don't see what this has to do with CATS. Most of CATS cost overruns, in fact the vast majority of that, is related to bungling, and incompetence in its staff who can't seem to manage a construction project. The article said the highway building cost increases were related to materials increases, not bad management. (Though I've always assume the NCDOT had some of that too)

I never attempted to take any stance as to whether highway cost increases are attributed to material cost increases or to incompetence, so please don't attribute statements, or intentions, to me that I did not make. I simply restated the fact that we were given one set of estimates and we subsequently face a different, higher set of costs for the highway sections described in the article.

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I don't know why the electronic signs aren't used more--always wondered myself. It's something I could check on. I know some message signs have been funded outside of normal road funding channels, but I'd have to look into it further.

The main reasoning behind why electronic message sign/boards aren't used properly has a lot to do with local law enforcement agencies ability to report the traffic accidents and conditions. Most agencies seems to not ever work together in a coordinated manner to properly report these conditions to ITS Monitoring Centers. This has been an on-going problem here in Birmimgham with their message signs as well.

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^ There is some momentum to have the General Assembly (in the 2007 session) allow counties the right to a menu of funding options, such as local sales taxes and real estate transfer/impact fees. I think the Triangle MPOs are pushing for some form of this legislation too. State and local leaders must come to grips with the fact that the urban areas are falling behind rapidly in transportation needs, and they need assistance to keep up with the rapid pace of growth.

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"Uptown East" !?! What the heck does that mean? Why don't they just use the names of the wards and possibly put a SW, SE, NE, or NW for orientation. Uptown East is not a place, so finding their way there is not helpful. Am I going to start having to say "meet me at Uptown East" because that is where all the signs tell newcomers they are?

Also, by using arbitrary place boundaries that slice through blocks diagonally, it means there are will be lots of projects in both Uptown East and Uptown West.

Personally, I dislike that selection so much, it ruins this whole project for me. The rest looks good, though.

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Here are the renderings for the new Pedestrian and Vehicular wayfinding signs for Uptown Charlotte. They include realtime information on which parking decks are open and available.

http://www.charmeck.org/NR/rdonlyres/es3mz...1%2e01%2e06.pdf

It looks pretty. The East, West stuff is bogus and confusing. I don't think people will intuitively know how to read the numbers next to the parking garage names. This needs work.

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I think I understand what they're trying to do, though. People from out of town find uptown intimidating due to the diagonal streets, one-ways, cutoffs, places you can't turn, etc. I had a lot (probably 500,000 miles or more) of diving experience before arriving in Charlotte. It still took me a while to figure out uptown and the surrounding streets.

If you feel like you know where you are, you can focus on overcoming that apprehension. And maybe correct yourself if lost.

X Ward doesn't mean much to someone that does not live near, or work in, uptown. But if you know the government center is in "South" and are driving around in "West", there's a better chance of re-orienting in the right general direction.

The leaves look classy on the signs. But I think it would be more instructive to use a diamond, and color each point orange, blue, etc. That would re-enforce the true diagonal nature of the inner 277 area.

Edited by MZT
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By dealing with uptown as though it has diagonal streets (which it does), makes it very confusing. It is much easier to deal with downtown streets if you pretend that the streets go N-S-E-W. They are labeled that way, with N Tryon, E Trade, S Tryon, and W Trade, despite the fact that Trade goes just as much north-south as Tryon does.

This plan is terrible. It will be so confusing for everyone, and leave newcomers completely unaware of actual placenames used by residents. The only place names that matter are Tryon, Trade, the Wards, and Gateway.

The rest of this plan is good, but by trying to coin a new place name that is illogical will cause a lot of confusing. We already suffer from too many synonymous names for the same place, like Garden District = First Ward = Uptown = Downtown = Center City. Now add that it is the edge of Uptown East and Uptown North, and you get a completely ridiculous result.

I just feel like this was sent away to Bangalore and that is what they came up, without knowing anything about the city.

This is very disappointing for something that could have been very positive for helping people understand this city's downtown.

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.....

The leaves look classy on the signs. But I think it would be more instructive to use a diamond, and color each point orange, blue, etc. That would re-enforce the true diagonal nature of the inner 277 area.

Actually if it is a directional road sign it has to be either green or blue depending upon the circumstances. There are a bunch of federal and state codes that dictate this. There is a topic in the main UP forum on this subject. Pedestrian have no restrictions but often they follow the standards for road signs.

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By dealing with uptown as though it has diagonal streets (which it does), makes it very confusing. It is much easier to deal with downtown streets if you pretend that the streets go N-S-E-W. They are labeled that way, with N Tryon, E Trade, S Tryon, and W Trade, despite the fact that Trade goes just as much north-south as Tryon does.

This plan is terrible. It will be so confusing for everyone, and leave newcomers completely unaware of actual placenames used by residents. The only place names that matter are Tryon, Trade, the Wards, and Gateway.

The rest of this plan is good, but by trying to coin a new place name that is illogical will cause a lot of confusing. We already suffer from too many synonymous names for the same place, like Garden District = First Ward = Uptown = Downtown = Center City. Now add that it is the edge of Uptown East and Uptown North, and you get a completely ridiculous result.

I just feel like this was sent away to Bangalore and that is what they came up, without knowing anything about the city.

This is very disappointing for something that could have been very positive for helping people understand this city's downtown.

I agree completely. And I'm letting CCCP know. The designer just went overboard. On the other hand, it's fitting. Another instance of tearing down Charlotte's history. The irony of the history depicted on the signs is not lost.

I can see something like this: "Second Ward in the Center City, AKA Uptown or Downtown, intersected by the Brevard Stroll District, was formerly known as Little Brooklyn. On the map you can see Second Ward between Uptown South and Uptown West, otherwise known as the area between Government Center and the Wachovia Cultural Arts District, the latter of which is between Uptown West and Uptown North, in an area known as 3rd Ward. The Cultual Arts District should not be confused with the Arts District on N. Tryon, which actually runs east and is located in Uptown North...."

EDIT: According to the CDOT page, these concepts were approved by the project steering committe and stakeholders. Over the next 60 days, the project team will seek approval from City Council and CCCP.

http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/Transportation/Home.htm

Edited by graydog
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To be honest, the Wards make sense on a grid standpoint, but I can't see Bubba Tourist finding his way to the NASCAR HOF by way of "wardage." Thus, having directional signs helps aid those that don't know how to get around uptown (hence the reason for creating these.) I agree with the Diamond emblem to help represent the layout of uptown in relation to 277. I mean, even calling them N, S, E, or W Wards for visitors could help spare confusion for them. Sure, it irritates those who already know how to get around uptown, but why would we be referencing those signs anyway?

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So, luke, are you advocating for creating new placenames for the sake of tourists? Are you for throwing out century old ward numbers just because tourists might not know where they are?

I guess this is just part of American culture nowadays. If kids don't know grammar, instead of teaching them, we simply throw away the rules and make new ones. The problem is, it takes all consistency out of our language, and in the end, no one knows what the others are talking about.

I will never ever ever use "Uptown East". This whole thing just seems absurd. I mean, Charlotte gets flack for officially starting to call downtown "uptown" for image sake. But at least that was used colloquially by many generations in this city.

I am not one that shuns change. But change should be an improvement over the status quo, especially if it has been used for a long period of time.

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I'm not proposing we change the names of our districts. Saying Northern Uptown is just referring to the fact that you are in northern uptown for navigation purposes alone. I've been in many cities that use their original names on signs and it sometimes confuses the bejesus out of me if I don't have a local with me or a map (as common sense would provide.) With the NHOF and the arts coming in, tourism is going to blow up (in comparison) to the point that we're going to have people wandering the streets and even more cars cruising through uptown. I do hope we keep the wards, but having directional signs can't hurt either. Heck, we could have a directional sign like Hazardous Materials Signs and that would be enough to help out tourists. I wish the signs would incorporate the Wards, but also refer to geography as well.

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Stick with the wards!!! First of all, Charlotte's grid isn't really on a N, S, E, W axis. Tryon St runs northeast/southwest. None of these make sense to me. And for God's sake, can we not find a label for the middle of our region and stick with it? The Charlotte Uptown Development Corporation changed its name to Charlotte Center City Partners to distance itself from the word "uptown". Now they've gone and put it (uptown) on the signs. I'm really confused. If indeed CCCP thinks "uptown" is what the middle of Charlotte should be called, then why doesn't it change its name back to what it was called originally?

For the record, in my book, it should be "UPtown". Leave "Center City to Philadelphia where it belongs.

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Indeed. It should be called downtown.

And for that matter I would like to get rid of NoDa and call it North Charlotte again. (the original name for that place).

South End ought to go too as that is a made up name taken from Wilmore to distinguish the "good" area from undesirable part. They ought to start calling it Wilmore again.

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It is just a wayfinding sign, right? Joe Outoftowner needs directions and has no idea what or where Third Ward is located. I don't see the branding of "Uptown" or "Center City" isn't going to be affected much by the signs or even what Center City Partners decides to name themselves. In reality, branding is truly separate from wayfinding. Why can't they keep the directional signs but add "Fourth Ward" in small type to the somewhere to appease the traditionalists?

BTW, I have walked around Uptown Charlotte quite a bit, and the identity of the four wards is currently not very apparent from a pedestrian perspective.

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Indeed. It should be called downtown.

And for that matter I would like to get rid of NoDa and call it North Charlotte again. (the original name for that place).

South End ought to go too as that is a made up name taken from Wilmore to distinguish the "good" area from undesirable part. They ought to start calling it Wilmore again.

While North Charlotte was descriptive for the day it was in use, calling it North Charlotte noew could get people confused enough to think you're talking about neighborhoods up towards NorthLake.

I like the ring of South End, although I wouldn't mind calling it Wilmore either, as long as the name sticks for everyone.

As for Center City vs. Uptown/Downtown, it was a while back, but I heard on some random news broadcast (probably Edge) that Center City encompasses areas outside the loop including South End and NoDa, although they never specified the exact 'boundary' of the name. They said Uptown/Downtown refers more to the CBD core, ie inside the loop.

Charlotte is still a young city in regards to growth, so I am sure we have many name changes in our future. As the cbd becomes more dense and then expands, these names will have a much bigger regard to location than currently, as for now, it's just a dot in comparison to the size of other areas in Charlotte like SouthPark and University.

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While North Charlotte was descriptive for the day it was in use, calling it North Charlotte noew could get people confused enough to think you're talking about neighborhoods up towards NorthLake....

And you think NoDa is descriptive?

That is why it is called a city. Destroying the history for confused people who are that way because they don't want to take the time to learn is wrong.

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And you think NoDa is descriptive?

That is why it is called a city. Destroying the history for confused people who are that way because they don't want to take the time to learn is wrong.

I know you know that NoDa is North Davidson, which describes the street which forms the axis of that area, calling an area of central Charlotte "north" and not referring to where north it is in the city is a bit lacking.

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