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rolly

RDU Area - New Projects

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"The Market" at Perimeter Park (Morrisville) near Hwy54/540 is nearing completion. This is right next to the Lenovo HQ complex.

These pix are about 6 weeks old. I'll post new ones soon.

Side Front

Info Sheet

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This seems like it will be convenient for people working at Perimiter Park as well as nearby residents.

Morrisville certainly does like to approve fairly dense developments (Grace Park and Carpenter Village come to mind too) but it's not designed to be walkable, nor is it really even dense enough for that. I wonder what the Floor Area Ratios of these developments are.

In case you're unfamiliar with the term, Floor Area Ratio means the ratio of total building square footage to lot size. So if there is a 5 story building downtown that covers 100% of its lot, the FAR is 5.0. If there is a strip mall that occupies 1/5 of its lot, and the other 4/5 are dedicated to parking, loading docks, etc.. that is a FAR of 0.2.

I've read on a blog somewhere that typical suburban development "works" at an overall floor area ratio (FAR) of 0.05 to 0.3. 0.3 would require a denser road network and less "unutilized" space - much or most of the non-building area would have to be taken by parking and roads. The same source, a blog, states that truly walkable neighborhoods don't work at all with a FAR below 1.0, and really work well with an overall FAR of about 1.5.

Of course this is a bit of an oversimplification; dwelling unit size (and therefore density), and the nature of commercial/retail space plays into this as well, but think of it as a rule of thumb. FWIW, I think NCSU's main campus has a FAR of somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0, and Centennial will be between 1.0 and 1.5.

Back to the development in question, it looks to have a FAR of somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.25, if I were to guess. That falls on the high end of what can be supported as suburban development. However, Morrisville is not exactly known for its dense, well-designed street network. Quite the opposite in fact. So, if Morrisville keeps approving this dense but still suburban development, but does not build out a better designed street grid, it seems doomed to a future as the region's endless traffic jam.

The town should make up its mind. Does it want to be urban or suburban? Mostly suburban with a few pockets of real urban development at transit stations? Splitting the difference and spreading somewhat dense but still suburban developments wherever developers want them will result in an unworkable mess.

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So, if Morrisville keeps approving this dense but still suburban development, but does not build out a better designed street grid, it seems doomed to a future as the region's endless traffic jam.

The town should make up its mind. Does it want to be urban or suburban? Mostly suburban with a few pockets of real urban development at transit stations? Splitting the difference and spreading somewhat dense but still suburban developments wherever developers want them will result in an unworkable mess.

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With Cary's 100K+ large population base and small Morrisville's sweet location near RDU, a merger could create a sum "greater than the parts" type of deal. Personally I'm for less fragmentation. It's better to have fewer tiny cities all fighting for the same corporate relocations and such. Lenovo, Tekelec, Time Warner have their HQs in Morrisville and more are on the way. I think the area will be even more attractive and have better planning (have you seen the mess of Hwy-54 traffic between Morrisville and Cary during rush hour?) with a consolidated govt.

N&O Article

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