[Update: 5/2 — According to the N&O, Wake Commissioner Stan Norwalk just announced that today's meeting of the Board of Commissioners will be his last. Re-reading this post from five weeks ago, the only other update is that Cary Town Councilor Erv Portman is on the list of those "mentioned" as a possible replacement for Norwalk. Two prominent Democrats mentioned Portman to me privately on Saturday at the Jefferson-Jackson breakfast in Cary hosted by the Democratic Women of Wake.]
What follows is from the 4/23 post:
Wake Commissioner Stan Norwalk, the one forceful progressive voice remaining on the Republican-majority board of county commissioners, has his house in Cary on the market. As soon as it sells, he plans to move to Kansas with Marcia, his wife of some 56 years, to be close to one of their two daughters. This is a combination of age — Norwalk is almost 80 — and the fact that, with Democrats now in a 3-4 minority on the board following the Republican sweep in the November elections, Norwalk's ability to affect an outcome is slim to none.
Norwalk's term of four years has almost two more to run — he's not up for re-election until 2012. When he moves, he'll of course resign and his replacement will be named by a committee of the Wake Democratic Party. The choice may be interim, that is, someone not interested in running for the seat when Norwalk's term expires. Or it may be someone who is interested in running, in which case Norwalk's decision to step aside early will give that person a chance to make a name for her/himself over the next year-plus.
But I've known Stan for a long time and know him to be hard to pigeon-hole on a given issue. Mainly, he's pragmatic and interested in seeing that the schools are well-run and well-funded, and he's not dogmatic about anything other than the importance of a high-quality school system to the health and economy of a community.
That said, the search is on for his replacement. It has to be someone who lives in Norwalk's district — District 4. Names I've heard "mentioned" (I always loved Bill Safire's "Great Mentioner" columns) include Yevonne Brannon, a former commissioner and currently leader of the Great Schools in Wake coalition; Karen Rindge, the head of Wake Up Wake County; and Al Swanstrom, a former candidate for the state House of Representatives. Come to think of it, the GSIW group is full of pro-schools activists, several of whom would be good candidates.
Let me know — by posting here or to email@example.com — if you hear of other names, or more about the ones I've mentioned.
With Norwalk's departure, just two Democrats remain on Wake board — longtime member Betty Lou Ward, who's not expected to seek another term in 2012, and ex-Raleigh Council member James West, who was appointed to fill Harold Webb's unexpired term when Webb stepped down last year at age 85.
Point being, the changing of the guard in Wake Democratic politics continues with the death of former Sen. Vernon Malone, Webb's resignation and Ward's and Norwalk's advancing years. It presents a challenge for the new party chair, Mack Paul, and anyone else who thinks a Democratic Party in Wake County would be a good thing to have.
Phil Poe, inveterate citizen that he is, has a new blog up about the UDO — the Unified Development Ordinance. (Like its subject, Poe's blog is a work in progress.)
Never heard of the UDO? That's Poe's point in creating his website. Raleigh's planning department & its consultants from Code Studio have been writing this thing, this UDO, for more than a year and guess what, it's a whole new zoning code for the city ...
... pretty exciting, except ...
... City Council has allotted all of 60 days for the interested public to consider it from the time it's unveiled on April 6 to an intended June-July adoption process.
That's right, it's an entirely new zoning code, and the public has just two months to read it, figure out what the hell it would do to development patterns in Raleigh, consult with friends, maybe go to a public meeting and hear what others think, and then ...
... ah, too bad, time's up.
(This just in: Raleigh Public Record has a Q&A up today with Christine Darges of the planning department about the UDO—and blogger-in-chief Charles Pardo promises more to come after April 6, so if you're interested and haven't bookmarked his website yet — )
And for extra fun, the Council's intention — that is, Mayor Charles Meeker's intention — is to adopt the ordinance without a map to show where the various new zoning categories would go.
In other words, it isn't a zoning ordinance at all. It's a zoning theory, with its uses to be determined on a case-by-case basis once you've given up trying to understand what the theory is.
Or to torture an analogy, think of your garden. We're going to describe some plants, most of which you've never seen before — but here's some sketches — and we're not going to reveal how they'll be planted until after you buy them. (Nor can you go buy some others if you don't like the way the garden turns out.)
I'm reminded of that old Cole Porter song:
You do something to me,
something that simply mystifies me.
Tell me, why should it be
you have the power to hypnotize me?
Let me live 'neath your spell,
Do do that voodoo
that you do so well.
For you do something to me
that nobody else could do!
Poe is a member of a UDO advisory group named by the Council to meet periodically with the consultants and staff. Indeed, he's one of the members tasked with representing the public interest; others are representing real estate interests or, as lawyers, their clients' interests.
But after a year of meetings, even the diligent and civic-minded Mr. Poe is feeling a bit "mystified" about the UDO's many twists and turns and whether, as almost but not quite written, it will improve on Raleigh's famously loose, pro-developer development standards or in some unforeseen ways — at least unforeseen by the public — augment them.
So he's issued a "Help Wanted" call: "Please help spread the word about the UDO. The schedule has only allocated two months for the public's review of the initial draft of the UDO."
At the most recent Council meeting, the chair of the advisory group, Rod Swink, asked Meeker & Co. to slow down and give the public a fair chance to understand the document before it's adopted. Swink said:
Over the course of our many meetings we have found much to like about the new code as drafted. We are totally in support of its intent and believe that it will be a major improvement over our current tool, and one that we all want to see in place as soon as possible. Having said that, we do have some concerns.
First, we have not totally revised our city development code in years, and everyone believes that we will not likely do a total or even major revision again for years to come. Therefore, we are eager that the code we put forward be the best code it can be. We do not seek perfection, but we do want this to be fully vetted and properly tested to minimize the need for future revisions, and to maximize citizen and business confidence in the process.
Given the pace we have all been on, we are concerned that the proposed 60 day review period once the consolidated draft has been released on April 6 will not be sufficient for thorough analysis and thoughtful commentary.
Second, once the review period has passed, there is an even smaller window from June 6 to a possible July public hearing during which time staff must prepare the final document for official public comment. This will require staff to not only consider all of the comments generated during the open review, but also decide what, if any, changes are needed.
Third, given the compressed review time available, those most vested in the outcome of this process may not have sufficient time to become fully comfortable with the document, leading to the risk that some may not support that which they do not understand. While we as a group represent many key stakeholders, we are just a small number of those whose opinions matter.
Finally, there has been some concern expressed by some members of the Advisory Group that releasing the proposed code separate from the proposed zoning map may limit people’s ability to fully understand the implications of the UDO. Their belief is that without the map, people will not engage in the review process and until the map is available, the code has limited value.
Meeker essentially dismissed Swink's concerns, saying he'll await a report from staff as to how things are going after 60 days.
As usual, Councilor Thomas Crowder weighed in on the side of more opportunity for public comment. And as usual, when Crowder spoke up for the public, Meeker ignored him too.
Cary deserves a visionary leader and ambassador who will drive job creation, promote solid planning locally and regionally, keep tax rates low, and ensure citizens are not only heard, but responded to. Citizens have a right to expect someone with the time and talent to provide real solutions so that we can all be sure that tomorrow is going to be better than today. There is important work to be done to make Cary even better.
By my count, that makes one (1) active mayoral candidate in Cary and none (0) in Raleigh. In case you're keeping score at home.
According to Muir's campaign, Cary has never had a woman mayor — not in 140 years. That's hard to believe ... not that I doubt it.
More from Muir: She owns a small business and is a mom of four; if elected, she'll serve full-time:
Muir owns a growing consulting practice which provides small businesses and non-profits with marketing and media services. She is also the co-creator of iCary Wi-Fi, a wireless network established to provide businesses the ability to offer free public internet access to shoppers and visitors in Downtown Cary. As a former human resources professional and facilitator through the Covey Leadership Center, Muir has assisted hundreds of individuals in developing strategies for effectiveness."
Muir was born in Washington, D.C., attended high school in Manteo, N.C. and is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. An active civic servant, she has received bi-partisan appointments to the Town of Cary Planning and Zoning Board, District 9 School Board Advisory Committee, and the Wake County Commission on Women. She previously served on the Information Systems Education Advisory Council at NC State’s McKimmon Center, was Programs Vice-Chair for the Raleigh Society of Human Resource Management, and has also held numerous positions with faith-based, youth-athletic, and educational organizations. She is a member of the Cary Chamber of Commerce, the Heart of Cary Association, and Peace Presbyterian Church.
Michelle and her husband, Steve Muir, have been married for 20 years and have four children. Together they enjoy hiking, mountain biking, musical pursuits, and watching college basketball.
Triangle Transit planners launched a new round of "alternatives analysis" workshops last night at Triangle Town Center. Subject: Rail transit — now proposed to be a hybrid commuter-rail and light-rail system — for the region. Another workshop is slated this evening, 4-7 p.m., in Durham and a third is tomorrow, same time, in Chapel Hill. Two more Raleigh sessions are scheduled next week along with one in Cary and one in RTP. For locations and times, see the project website. I wrote an article for the printed Indy this week. I'll put a link in here (with a sidebar here — it's in two parts now) when the story is posted online later today. Consider this effort a pictoral introduction, with pretty illustrations courtesy of TTA below.
In Wake County, the proposed light-rail line will link Cary/Morrisville/RTP to Raleigh using the main Amtrak-freight rail corridor past the State Fairgrounds and N.C. State University. Where is goes after that is the big "alternative" in the room at these workshops. The TTA has put out three option, two of which involve a bridge over Boylan Avenue:
1) One option is to bring the light-rail line out of the main corridor west of Boylan Avenue and then bridge it over S. Boylan and W. Hargett Street. That would allow a direct connection to — and a station stop within — the proposed Union Station at West Street between W. Hargett and W. Morgan. The image above is a close-up of what the bridge would look going over Boylan. Below is a wide view showing its connection to the Union Station site and — eventually — to a northbound route up West Street or Harrington Street.
2) A second option would also bring the light rail line out of the main corridor west of Boylan Avenue and bridge it over S. Boylan, but then it would swing to the south, where it could connect to another alternative — a streetcar loop running on Salisbury and Wilmington streets. This is shown below in two images, one a closeup at the current Amtrak station location and the other a wide view. As you can tell from the length of the span, this would be the most expensive option.
3) The third option doesn't involve a bridge, but it has its own complications. The light-rail line would come out of the main corridor at W. Morgan Street, just below Charlie Goodnight's and Irregardless, and then track into the West Side district on W. Morgan — streetcar-style — before looping north on Harrington. (TTA did not do a photo illustration of it.)
Because the main railroad corridor is virtually at-grade where it abuts W. Morgan, no bridge is needed to make the connection there. However, W. Morgan drops in elevation as it moves east and is dropping right where the front door of the Union Station would be; thus, a station stop there is highly problematic, if not impossible, given ADA access requirements. Unless the street configuration is changed somehow, any "Union Station stop" would be near Union Station but not at it or in it. Which is kind of a big problem.
There was much talk last night among the TTA planners and a contingent of Raleigh city officials who came out (Russ Stephenson, Eric Lamb, Ken Bowers, Roberta Fox) about whether a West Morgan streetcar line (option 3) could be made to work with Union Station. No resolution on that subject, or none that I heard.
What I did hear is that TTA means to defer to Raleigh's view on this — in other words, if Raleigh wants the W. Morgan route, then TTA will back it and help it become the "locally preferred alternative" — a term freighted with meaning in federal funding parlance. That doesn't mean that the TTA folks don't have their own views. What it means is that, as a political reality, they understand that it's up to Raleigh where the Raleigh light-rail line goes.
Or rather, it's up to Raleigh and then it's up to CAMPO, where Raleigh has a major voice but not the only one.
So about every other day, I tell somebody, I don't think he's going to run; he sure doesn't look like he's going to run; he acts like he's not going to run; but then — two years, he all but told me he wasn't going to run again and then he did. And this year, he's told me nothing. So take all that for what it's worth.
That said, I have it on excellent authority that Meeker told a fellow Wake County mayor yesterday, in the presence of another mayor of a different political persuasion, that he would not be running for a sixth term come October.
Additionally, I don't think you can read Meeker's "State of the City" remarks earlier this week as anything but valedictory. Meeker took questions afterward, and most of the reporting you've heard about his forward-looking plans came in the Q&A. But the speech itself was couched in the past tense: How Raleigh has become a leader in sustainability, how Raleigh has forged a working partnership with N.C. State, how Raleigh should build on its record of past successes.
The only forward-looking element of the speech was about the Council considering putting a modest little bond package on the ballot in October. About $15 million for affordable housing (could you ask for less? the city is out of AH money), and a trivial $30-40 million for small-scale transportation projects. This was not the speech of a mayor rallying public opinion to his side for anything. It's time for Raleigh's private sector to get rolling, he said at one point. But in describing his possible bond package, he remarked that for government, caution is the order of the day.
Until Meeker makes his intentions known, other prospective candidates are chilling. My conversations with Republicans indicate that if Meeker does run, there won't be a serious GOP candidate — the Republicans do not think they can beat him. (On the other hand, if he doesn't run, watch out for Art Pope's wallet. Pope's Republicans now control the state, the county ... the only holdouts are in eastern Libya and downtown Raleigh.)
And the Democrats? I haven't heard of any. The only seriously unannounced contender to date is City Councilor Nancy McFarlane, an independent (i.e., unaffiliated voter).
If Meeker does run, McFarlane won't. If he doesn't, I'm told she'll jump in immediately. From what I've also been told, Meeker hasn't confided his plans to McFarlane either, other than to say that he will make his official announcement the last week in April.
The other six Council members, I believe, will all seek another term: Stephenson, Baldwin, Crowder, Gaylord, Odom and Weeks.
Following up on my story in the Indy this week about whether Duke Energy, soon (?) to be merged with Progress Energy, should be spending hundreds of millions of $$$ of customers' money on maybe building another nuclear plant (estimated pricetag, pre-Japan disaster, $11 billion) ...
... as The New York Times is reporting, the danger posed by the loss of cooling water in the pools containing spent fuel rods is almost as bad as from a reactor core meltdown. Indeed, a better term than "spent" for these retired fuel rods would be "partially used but still highly radioactive for a long, long time."
Like the Japanese, most U.S. nuclear plants also store their spent fuel in pools — like the one shown above, one of four (three operational) located at the Shearon Harris plant in Wake County.
From the Times story today about the problems with the cooling pools in Japan (a longer excerpt is below the fold) —
If the American analysis is accurate and emergency crews at the plant have been unable to keep the spent fuel at that inoperative reactor properly cooled — it needs to remain covered with water at all times — radiation levels could make it difficult not only to fix the problem at No. 4, but also to keep servicing any of the other problem reactors at the plant. In the worst case, experts say, workers could be forced to vacate the plant altogether, and the fuel rods in reactors and spent fuel pools would be left to melt down, leading to much larger releases of radioactive materials.
Another NYT story, headlined "Danger of spent fuel outweighs reactor threat.", begins —
Years of procrastination in deciding on long-term disposal of highly radioactive fuel rods from nuclear reactors is now coming back to haunt Japanese authorities as they try to control fires and explosions at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
Some countries have tried to limit the number of spent fuel rods that accumulate at nuclear power plants — Germany stores them in costly casks, for example, while Chinese nuclear reactors send them to a desert storage compound in western China’s Gansu province. But Japan, like the United States, has kept ever larger numbers of spent fuel rods in temporary storage pools at the power plants, where they can be guarded with the same security provided for the power plant.
This is the problem that critics pointed to at the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in Wake County prior to and again following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The reactor core at Shearon Harris is protected by a concrete-and-steel containment vessel, designed to keep any radiation that leaks from the core from escaping into the atmosphere. But the partially used fuel rods at Shearon Harris, as at many U.S. reactors, are stored in pools located in a different building, one which is highly fortified but not to the same degree that the containment for the core is.
Moreover, while there's only one reactor at Shearon Harris, at least so far, there are four containment pools — built in anticipation of three additional reactors that were cancelled following the crisis at the Three-Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979. And for years, Progress Energy shipped spent fuel rods from its other nuclear facilities to Shearon Harris because of the surplus storage pools there.
(I've got a call in to Progress Energy to ask whether all four pools are in use — last I knew it was two out of four, but the two were filling up — and whether the company did in fact stop shipping spent fuel rods to Shearon Harris for storage from its Robinson and Brunswick nuclear plants. The answer, from Progress Energy spokesman Julie Milstead, is that three of the pools are now in use; no fuel rods have been shipped to Harris since 2008.)
The upshot is that Shearon Harris is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, nuclear-waste storage facilities in the country.
Like Japan, the U.S. has never figured out how — or where — to create a permanent storage facility for these wastes. Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, was supposed to be the U.S. answer. But unless something changes, it's not going to be — and there is no alternative in sight. (Japan, while it has no permanent waste facility either, does reprocess its used fuel, so less is stored in a cooling pool there than here, according to NC WARN's Jim Warren.)
Progress Energy took some reporters through Shearon Harris in 2000. I wrote about it then and recalled it in a post-9/11 story, "What If," about the possibility that a terrorist attack could result in water escaping the cooling pools, — exactly what's happened in Japan because of the earthquake, apparently.
This is from my own "What If" piece eight years ago:
Re-racked for dense packing, Harris has storage space for 20 more years even if the Robinson-Brunswick shipments continued, Kimble says. But Harris expects to stay in use longer than that, so rather than run out of pool space for its own spent fuel, Progress is thinking it could put dry casks in at the other two plants and buy itself more time for Harris' wastes.
Since Sept. 11, the NRC has ordered nuclear plants to stop conducting media tours, but the Independent was allowed to visit the pool-storage building in 2000. It's not constructed to the same, 12-foot thickness as the containment dome around the reactor core, but it is reinforced concrete, 4-6 feet thick, according to Kimble, and the walls that surround each of the four pools are also reinforced concrete, up to 8 feet thick, and sit on top of a 12-foot-thick concrete block. [Update, 3/17/11: Milstead just gave me different numbers — see below.]
The effect, Kimble says, is containment-like: An airplane, or missile, would have to break through the exterior walls and keep going with enough strength to penetrate the pool walls before the stored fuel rods would be in any jeopardy. Even at that, the pools are 40 feet deep, and the fuel-rod assemblies only 13 feet tall, so there's a cushion of time for plant operators to start pumping back-up water before the tubes would be uncovered, the hottest fuel rods would start heating up, and the zirconium cladding would ignite, releasing radioactivity into the building.
The exact specifications of the building are kept secret, for security purposes, and Kimble declined to say how thick the roof is.
It's the roof, however, that the Princeton authors think could be compromised in an air attack. The blast from an airliner explosion might not be sufficient to destroy a pool by itself, they say, but it could collapse the building into it. Or the turbine engine from a diving fighter jet might be able to punch through and puncture a pool wall.
Progress Energy is "watching and monitoring, along with the rest of the industry," Milstead said today, everything that's happening in Japan. That said, the company continues to have "extreme confidence" in the structural integrity of the waste pools at Shearon Harris, she said.
On the dimensions of the containment dome and the waste-storage building, Milstead said the dome is 3-4 feet thick and is reinforced with steel rebar; the storage building is 3 feet thick and its roof 2 feet thick, she said. The pool walls are 6 feet thick and its bed—the bottom—is 12 feet thick, she added. The pools have extensive equipment to monitor for leaks.
Milstead said the Shearon Harris reactor is licensed through 2046, and the storage capacity of the four pools is sufficient to last at least that long.
It is absolutely blistering, especially regarding Chairman Ron Margiotta and his sidekick John Tedesco, on the subject of how the board majority abused the student assignment process. It concludes: “Since December 1, 2009 the actions and decisions of the Wake County Board of Education have resulted in creating a climate of uncertainty, suspicion, and mistrust throughout the community. It is critical that the Board of Education and the newly appointed Superintendent establish a cohesive governance-leadership team dedicated to serving all students attending Wake County Public Schools. Additionally, the Board of Education and Superintendent must work to gain the community’s trust and confidence in the school system and its ability to meet the needs of all students."
And then there's the board majority's refusal to acknowledge that in the area of student achievement, the school system they were ripping apart was really pretty good.
For example, from p. 7:
Each of the four newly- elected Board members, as well as Ron Margiotta, refused to acknowledge the student achievement data compiled by the school system and displayed on large posters in the Board meeting room. Each of the five Board members indicated a reliance on their 'own' data to support their conclusions and defend their actions. Board member John Tedesco asserted that the previous Student Assignment Policy distributed low achievers throughout the system so that their needs would be hidden and consequently not be met. Mr. Tedesco has repeatedly advocated for concentrating low achieving students in a school so that their needs are not hidden.
However, when Board members were asked how they would ensure that schools with a significant population of low achieving students would be supported there were no solutions or plans offered. High school principals noted deep concern that the new policy would significantly compromise their ability to meet the needs of students. Additionally, principals indicated that there is no plan for providing the additional resources for a school with an exceptionally high proportion of low achieving students. Given that the school system is facing significant financial challenges there is much doubt among administrators that the necessary resources will be available and targeted to support the need for instructional interventions.
The report really speaks for itself. In a press release, Superintendent Tony Tata takes a deep breath, expresses thanks that accreditation wasn't yanked (so does Margiotta), and says he'll take the fact that they're on a "Warning" status seriously:
"I welcome this input as I continue my listening tour of Wake County. We are already attacking many of the recommendations and intend to aggressively implement all of them," Tata said.
Being placed on "accredited warned" status, the school system will work over the next eight months to implement the action steps. In November, a review team will conduct another visit to monitor progress.
The seven action steps required by AdvancED are:
* Create and implement a strategic plan to guide the future work of the school system.
* Analyze and revise the "node" system of assigning students to schools to ensure objectivity, transparency and consistency.
* Establish and implement an agenda setting process to ensure that every member of the Board of Education and key system leadership are well-prepared for each Board meeting.
* Define in policy the purpose and role of adopting resolutions as a governance practice.
* Provide ongoing cohesive and consistent training to all members of the Board of Education regarding their roles n, responsibilities and strategic direction of the school system.
* Institute a policy review, revision, and adoption process that support related board policy development.
* Ensure that policies and procedures guiding the work of the system are in alignment and support of the newly formed mission, vision and core beliefs.
In February, following a two-day visit by a review team, Superintendent Tata requested that the findings of the report be expedited, so he could incorporate them into his work plan for his first 90 days as superintendent.
On March 8, 2011, Tata announced the formation of a Student Assignment Task Force to develop the next long-range student assignment plan. The plan is expected to be presented to the Board of Education in the late spring.
"I think AdvancED has provided us a thorough analysis that we can incorporate into the strategic planning that is already underway on the next student assignment plan," Tata said. "As a learning organization this input will help us shape the thinking of the task force as well as improve how we perform as a district."
"We are pleased that our accreditation remains intact and we have not been placed on probation," said Margiotta. "We had a constructive meeting with AdvancED officials this morning and while we may disagree with certain opinions expressed in the report, especially unfair characterizations of individual board members' motives, many of the actions which they recommended are currently under way," he said.
The poll was taken for the Regional Transportation Alliance — judge accordingly, but the questions seem reasonably straightforward. Traffic congestion is NOT the number one concern in the Triangle. That said, three out of four favor a rail-transit system for commuting and/or a combination of rail and better-bus transit. More than half are even prepared to pay for it via a 1/2-cent sales tax for transit. (That last figure dropped from almost 57 percent to barely 51 percent when the ante was upped to 3/4-cent for better transit AND schools.)
‘‘Nearly 60% of voters in the western Triangle counties of Durham and Orange would be willing to support a half-cent sales tax to improve transit offerings,” said Paul Fallon of Fallon Research and Communications of Columbus, OH. “While the support is conceptual since the respondents were not reacting to a specific package of bus and rail investments, that is still strong support given the ongoing sluggishness of the economy and the presence of the existing temporary sales tax.”
(More from the RTA below the fold.)
Triangle Transit is holding public forums (workshops) beginning next week to explain its latest thinking and get public input on what a regional transit plan should look like and where it should go. The forums are part of a process required before the TTA can apply for federal funding under the New Starts grants category. The schedule for the forums is here.
I kept hearing that the new plan would have more station stops than previous plans. Yup. I count 16 in the Orange-Durham corridor, some of which would be potential stops for a Bus Rapid Transit system rather than light-rail stops. In the Wake light-rail corridor plan, 20 stops are listed.
A possible Durham-Wake commuter-rail scheme running from downtown Durham to a station at Greenfield Parkway, southeast of Garner, would use some of the same stations as the light-rail system, but not all of them.
* commuter-rail = less frequency, moves faster, fewer stations, service mainly at rush hours;
* light-rail = greater frequency, moves slower, stations every mile or so, service at all/most hours;
I was told that this list is subject to change right up to the first forum — and may well change later as a result of the forums. With those caveats, here t'is:
Potential Rail Stops: Triangle Regional Transit Plan
Orange-Durham corridor: (looking at BRT and LR)
• Mason Farm
• Friday Center/Meadwomont/Woodmont
• Leigh Village Station
• South Square A or B
• Duke Medical
• 9th St
• Allston Ave
Wake LRT Corridor: 18 miles, 20 stations, 15 vehicles, 29-32 mph ave, 34-41 minutes travel time, 4350 park and ride spaces, 51 bus bays
Stations: (about 1 mile apart, all on the NCRR corridor)
• Cary Parkway
• NW Maynard/Cary
• Downtown Cary/Depot — shared w/commuter and Amtrak
• NE Maynard
• West Raleigh (just east of I 40, NC 54) — commuter rail and large park and ride
• Jones Franklin/Western
• State Fairgrounds
• Gorman/Hillsborough St./Meredith College
• NCSU/Dan Allen
• NCSU/Pullen Rd. - commuter rail
• West Morgan St.
• Downtown Raleigh — commuter rail too; 2 alternatives: follow Morgan St. to Harrington St or West St. (will operate as a streetcar for about 1/3 of mile, where cars can travel along with LR) OR go over Boylan St. Bridge (creating a Union Station w/ high speed rail) OR going towards South St/Amtrak station and then north up Salisbury
• Peace St. (paralleling Atlantic)
• Whittaker Mill
• Six Forks/Atlantic Ave.
• New Hope Church Rd (between Atlantic and Old Wake Forest Rd)
• Millbrook Rd.
• Spring Forest
• Then either to NE Regional Station (where 540 goes over rail corridor) OR to Triangle Town Center (big park and ride)
(Boylan Bridge — until agreement reached with railroad, have to show only option of a bridge OVER Boylan Bridge, but hope to go under it)
Durham-Wake Commuter Corridor: (looking at commuter rail; some overlap with LRT stations)
37 miles, 12 stations, 15 vehicles, 43 mph ave., 51 min travel time, 4400 Park and Ride, 40 bus bays
Stations: from Durham to Greenfield Parkway southeast of Garner
Very cool use of animation tool, courtesy of RSA Animate: Visualize our 18th century model of public education and how it's worked, and not worked, over the ages. In just 11 minutes. (!)
Here's your homework: Organize a NEW system of public education for our state, pre-K to ??? using the paradigm of divergent thinking and creativity explained (with the animation overlay) by Sir Ken Robinson.
[The day after, the threat of a meltdown in Japan tells us part of the answer.]
Peter Bradford, former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will be in Raleigh next week to testify in a Duke Energy rate case involving its proposed Lee reactor in South Carolina. I'll try to ask him that question. In the meantime, click here for a preview of his thinking on the need for new nukes.
The Duke case is in front of the N.C. Utilities Commission because, though the Lee reactor would be in SC, ratepayers in both states are being asked to kick in for it now.
Duke and Progress, meanwhile, are said to be circulating draft legislation at the General Assembly aimed at giving them virtually automatic rate increases in advance for future nuclear construction — no need for those pesky rate cases and testimony and such.
Anyway, it's only billions of dollars out of the customers' pockets for plants that may or may not get built. Here's the cartoon explanation of why this is a great idea for you and me, from the N.C. Conservation Network — funny, if not so true: