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7 hours ago, Reverie39 said:

In a way I wonder if definitions using money spending could actually be considered broader than definitions using commuting. A lot of people in Raleigh shop/play in Durham and vice versa, for example.

I was there this morning and was checking traffic around 8 am bumper to bumper I-40 eastbound from Durham County into Wake and vice versa into Durham from 540 to I-885.    My friend lives in north Raleigh works for Glaxo at RTP and goes to DPAC performances all the time.  My cousin lives in Fuquay in southern Wake and shops at her favorite mall in Durham Streets of Southpoint.  The locals consider it one metro area 2 big cities 29 miles apart (Dallas and Fort Worth are 33 miles apart)  The media considers it one and if you ask anyone from outside the area they consider it one.  Unique cities but together as one with RTP and the surrounding area in both Wake and Durham counties as the employment hub for the region.   Brier Creek area of Raleigh straddles the county line or as the Commerce Dept would put it 2 separate metro areas.  

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21 hours ago, Reverie39 said:

In a way I wonder if definitions using money spending could actually be considered broader than definitions using commuting. A lot of people in Raleigh shop/play in Durham and vice versa, for example.

The hard thing with spending money is the vast majority of somebody's expenses are going to be in the county they live in. Take somebody that lives in Rowan County / Salisbury (part of the Charlotte metro area). The vast majority of their expenses will be buying groceries in Rowan County, going to a Target/Walmart/Home Depot/Marshalls, et... in Rowan County, buying gas in Rowan County, et... The extent of their purchases in the core county of Mecklenburg may amount to just one anniversary dinner in Uptown Charlotte, two Panthers games, and a flight from CLT airport. 

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56 minutes ago, CLT2014 said:

The hard thing with spending money is the vast majority of somebody's expenses are going to be in the county they live in. Take somebody that lives in Rowan County / Salisbury (part of the Charlotte metro area). The vast majority of their expenses will be buying groceries in Rowan County, going to a Target/Walmart/Home Depot/Marshalls, et... in Rowan County, buying gas in Rowan County, et... The extent of their purchases in the core county of Mecklenburg may amount to just one anniversary dinner in Uptown Charlotte, two Panthers games, and a flight from CLT airport. 

IKEA probably brings in more county sales tax revenue than the Panthers. 

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16 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

IKEA probably brings in more county sales tax revenue than the Panthers. 

Yep, and then a Rowan County residents may spend more money in Florida for 7 days on a $3,000 vacation than they spend in Mecklenburg all year. The amount of work to exclude certain types of expenses (vacations) and control to just expenses related to their life in the metro area just seems sort of impossible to do accurately, especially when 95% of those expenses are usually going to be in the county somebody lives in.  Like if a Cabarrus resident brings their own lunch to work in Uptown Charlotte and fills up their gas in Cabarrus.... they may spend very little money in Mecklenburg despite going there 3 times a week. Meanwhile, a person that came to Mecklenburg once to buy $3,000 in furniture at Pottery Barn and then returned to their suburban county for the other 364 days may look like they are more a part of the metro. 

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Thanks for the article.  Not sure why it's good news but whatever. 

The authors bar is far too low:

“It’s not that Uptown isn’t vibrant,"

Ummm. No, it **IS** that uptown is not vibrant!

It's *not even close* to vibrant. Charlotte did right with sports and Romare to set the stage to build a vibrant uptown. Then, and most of you know a lot more than me about this, my perception is many idiotic anti urban state rules, timidity and the past travesties of 277 and destruction of black neighborhoods prevented zoning and other policies that could've made it a success. Can it be fixed? In my opinion, not in a state still dominated by conservative think. 

Edited by elrodvt
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8 hours ago, elrodvt said:

In my opinion, not in a state still dominated by conservative think.

Do you mind explaining this more? I am genuinely and non-confrontationally curious.  The comments about 277 and neighborhood destruction in the past make sense, but I am not sure I make the connection to how left-leaning state (legislature?) would create a more vibrant Uptown today.

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Funny thing is that conservative policy has the unintended (by conservatives) effect of sprawl and suburban land use from cities that creeps into rural land. I’ve heard a lot of complaints on this sprawl and this is due to the people they vote into state legislature that actively bar cities from urban design and incentives that would keep them from sprawling. Instead they blame people for moving to NC and sometimes blame people on having “too many children” (natural growth) which is exacerbated by new residents moving. It’s interesting because it shows how parties and ideology deal with different sides of the same coin without realizing how linked we all are and doing something to one group or area affects the other group or surrounding area.

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4 hours ago, J-Rob said:

Do you mind explaining this more? I am genuinely and non-confrontationally curious.  The comments about 277 and neighborhood destruction in the past make sense, but I am not sure I make the connection to how left-leaning state (legislature?) would create a more vibrant Uptown today.

At this point others have provided  much better answers than I can! Thanks for that.

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On 11/16/2022 at 2:08 PM, JeanClt said:

Funny thing is that conservative policy has the unintended (by conservatives) effect of sprawl and suburban land use from cities that creeps into rural land. I’ve heard a lot of complaints on this sprawl and this is due to the people they vote into state legislature that actively bar cities from urban design and incentives that would keep them from sprawling. Instead they blame people for moving to NC and sometimes blame people on having “too many children” (natural growth) which is exacerbated by new residents moving. It’s interesting because it shows how parties and ideology deal with different sides of the same coin without realizing how linked we all are and doing something to one group or area affects the other group or surrounding area.

Not sure I would say unintended. If you look at the people at NCDOTin positions of power (particularly the board members), the majority are real estate developers or attorneys who work for developers. Most road building decisions are made through the lens of maximizing sprawl because that makes these folks richer (either directly or indirectly). Since most non-urban counties view sprawl as economic development, I would bet the NCGA is made up of a huge majority of sprawl boosters. 

Even lefty pols in NC will act like the a new, isolated, subdivision built on former farmland is a boon to their community.

Edited by kermit
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4 minutes ago, JHart said:

There is the personal gain motif but the NCDOT also supports sprawl as a funding mechanism for itself. 40% of NCDOT revenue from gas taxes (80% from gasoline vs 20% from diesel even though almost all degradation of roads is caused by commercial vehicles), 25% comes from federal funding which again is primarily gas taxes at the federal level,  and 16% from highway use taxes which again is majority funded by personal vehicles. 

81% of revenue is tied to keeping NC residents on the roads, driving as much as possible. 

Only 6% of NCDOT spending goes towards "other modes" with over half of that going towards aviation, with just 1.2% for public transit. NCDOT spends almost the same amount of money on 12 ferries as they do on public transit for the entire state! ($51M vs $58M)

This is a another perfect example of how baked in the sprawl is. There’s so many ways of how systemic the sprawl is when you really dig in. And it’s designed to do so. 

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4 hours ago, JHart said:

There is the personal gain motif but the NCDOT also supports sprawl as a funding mechanism for itself. 40% of NCDOT revenue from gas taxes (80% from gasoline vs 20% from diesel even though almost all degradation of roads is caused by commercial vehicles), 25% comes from federal funding which again is primarily gas taxes at the federal level,  and 16% from highway use taxes which again is majority funded by personal vehicles. 

81% of revenue is tied to keeping NC residents on the roads, driving as much as possible. 

Only 6% of NCDOT spending goes towards "other modes" with over half of that going towards aviation, with just 1.2% for public transit. NCDOT spends almost the same amount of money on 12 ferries as they do on public transit for the entire state! ($51M vs $58M)

It's ridiculous. But at least we're being proactive to be sure EV's pay for road use to make sure they don't have an unfair advantage. While all the CO2 emissions will cost us trillions to protect coastal cities with no one paying and certainly not the people who're getting rich off it. Brilliant. 

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It's ridiculous. But at least we're being proactive to be sure EV's pay for road use to make sure they don't have an unfair advantage. While all the CO2 emissions will cost us trillions to protect coastal cities with no one paying and certainly not the people who're getting rich off it. Brilliant. 

Especially when most of road damage is caused by commercial trucks and heavy weight vehicles rather than personal vehicles. Let alone those EVs!
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On 11/16/2022 at 10:31 AM, kermit said:

Not trying to speak for others here but IMO there are two issues with the NCGA that makes them anti-urban

The first is the NCGA has disproportionate representation for small towns and rural areas (as  most legislative bodies do). This means that at appropriations time money for explicitly urban things (sidewalks, bike lanes, transit, parks, social welfare, education, etc.) is intentionally restricted, reduced or redirected. Just look at how NCDOT expenditures are allocated (e.g. Shelby bypass) to see this process in action. The way that funds are spent are an issue as well -- most highway dollars are being spent in ways that aid suburbanites who want to drive to town, rather than being spent to benefit urban residents themselves.  Our economic development policy also steers recruitment away from Charlotte and Raleigh. Our policy explicitly offers higher incentives amounts for rural projects.

The second characteristic of the NCGA which is bad for cities is its gerrymandering which vastly over represents the right. This leads to far too many culture war grandstanding issues (e.g. HB2 and medicaid expansion) that make NC's urban areas look backwards to most potential migrants from other out of state urban areas to Charlotte and Raleigh (abortion policy would be another element of this, thankfully we avoided republican super majorities so we have put this debate off for another couple of years). The degree to which this impacts migration will be debated by many, but I can't imagine that divisive political activity makes NC a more attractive destination for high-skill, high-wage folks which is the modern engine of economic development  (see CoStar's Richmond offices for a reference point).

I can understand the fiscal perspective of the right, most of NC's non-coastal rural areas have been declining for decades, the representatives of those places should be working to make them more attractive places to live and work. However, the VAST majority of the state's tax revenue comes from metro Charlotte and Raleigh. Starving those economic engines of investment, and making it harder for them to grow in sustainable ways (e.g. by not funding a significant portion of transit development) is simply undermining NC’s future.

EDIT: I'll add that NC's dueling big cities don't help matters much. There is certainly legislative competition between the two of them for resources. If we had one large urban area of 4 million (roughly CLT+RGH) instead of three vaguely large metros I would bet the big city would do better with state budget allocations (like Atlanta, Chicago and Seattle)

Edit 2: I forgot one other big issue. NC is a Dillion’s rule state which means no city can pass any ordinance without approval from the state. This top-down control by the NCGA means that Charlotte can’t just decide to raise our sales tax to fund transit without permission of the NCGA. This system of governance makes cities unable to leverage their considerable assets to produce change.

I subscribe to a channel on youtube called not just bikes and they explain what is going on with American cities and their addiction to sprawl.  According to them what is happening in NC is a by product of NC booming after WW2. Look at pre war large cities; dont have to go far to see the stark differences. Dense built up cores that you can see and feel the difference. IMO there is only one city in NC that retained its pre war urban core that urban renewal didnt touch; Ashville, and to some extent Wilmington. But those cities were not large enough then to warrant big urban projects and schemes. Imagine Charlotte with an extended core around uptown like Asheville. There would be no argument about vibrant anything as the number of people living around uptown would be massive.  Soo here we are in 2022 and Charlotte wants to build big but NC politics are stuck in the 50's. The only way out is to vote in the right folks but we all know thats a pipe dream. I'm afraid what you see is what you gonna get until peer cities start to leave NC cities behind.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Believe me I am glad I-485 was built.  It would not have been quicker to go through town if all those trucks were going through the city as well.  Every major worldwide city has a beltway around it Paris, London,  major Chinese cities, Mexico City etc.  This region is growing and it is densifying at the same time especially in the city of Charlotte.  But there is real affordability problems in the inner city neighborhoods.  You can not build affordable housing much in the inner city of Charlotte the land is too expensive.  

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10 hours ago, KJHburg said:

 But there is real affordability problems in the inner city neighborhoods.  You can not build affordable housing much in the inner city of Charlotte the land is too expensive.  

Tokyo and Berlin (and Chicago) would like to have a word…

Edited by kermit
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