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Re: “Hendecatope

This is the release party for my new CD-aleph infinity. All sales will be donated to

Posted by Andrew Robbins on 07/06/2016 at 11:49 AM

Re: “Trump Bringing Corker to Raleigh; FBI Recommends No Charges Against Clinton

"We know, Donald. It's terrible. Just terrible."

Mr. Hooley, your sarcasm exposes you, yet the shame of your hypocrisy is non-existent. Rather than be embarrassed, you wear your double-standard as a badge of honor. An easy test for the legitimacy of your stance is a simple exercise: simply reverse the roles of the players and see whether your outrage at their behavior reaches the same level. If it doesn't, you're exhibiting partisan favoritism and will excuse the most blatant abuses of power and the most outrageous attacks on decency. Aware of my own flaws, I am much more comfortable being loyal to Ideals rather than to commonly accepted human standards.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Yamaha Grampa on 07/06/2016 at 11:38 AM

Re: “Will a New Townhouse Project Open the Floodgates for Raleigh Developers?

"The only way subways make any sense is to, in fact, upzone and allow areas (like downtowns) to have great density. So, your ideas are not really coherent."

That isn't the only way that subways make sense. They make better sense when connected at shared stations to outlying light rail. They are a fast, efficient, unobtrusive way to move a lot of bodies around the urban core. The New York model of dense urban core is one example, i chose DC because you can take the Metro to a rail line and commute out as far as western Virginia. Their system isn't robust enough for their population, but ours could be.

It helps disperse the living areas for commuters along a far greater area, spreading affordable housing options out into a variety of neighborhoods. It keeps the homes inside the beltway out of reach of most buyers, but they should be. You don't need affordable housing in the city, you need it in the countryside with a fast comfortable way to travel into the urban core without cars.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Norf Cackalackie on 07/06/2016 at 11:24 AM

Re: “We Went to the Trump Rally and Boy, Was It Terrible

I do believe that Trump Looooooves dictators. Then shouldn't he love Obama? I thought Obama was a dictator? Isn't that what the radical right wing has been saying for the last 7 years?

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by John Cross on 07/06/2016 at 11:10 AM

Re: “The Durham-Orange County Light Rail Line Is on the Ropes Again. That Might Be a Good Thing.

I'd just like to refer folks to for a very good debunking of the above IndyWeek piece which characterizes it as " a poorly researched opinion piece that does a tremendous disservice to INDY Week readers, residents of Durham and Chapel Hill, and—most importantly—current public transit riders in Durham and Orange counties who stand to benefit greatly from a significantly enhanced bus and rail transit network with DOLRT at its core." That's his point and if you read the piece you'll see why.

7 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by chuckde424 on 07/06/2016 at 10:56 AM

Re: “A Brief Note on the Indy's Recent Personnel Changes

Fresh ideas are essential to progressive journalism - Bravo to the new team - it feels like the old Indy is resurging. Maybe we can once again count on the Indy for quality, substantive reporting. Particularly impressed with the work of David Hudnall - a beacon of light in a world of mostly content-free news.

7 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Bonnie Hauser on 07/06/2016 at 10:50 AM

Re: “Trump Bringing Corker to Raleigh; FBI Recommends No Charges Against Clinton

What we have seen is Politics at it's worst. The FBI Director was trying to secure another 4 years of job security should Hillery be elected. T DoJ is fixed by the President and Bill to insure that Hillery was not prosucted for actually breaking the Law. Further, it is not coincidence that the FBI announcement came befor POTUS traveled with Hillery. Could not be precived he approved of a potential fellon. But Hillery knew befor any investigation that POTUS would cover for her and direct his agencies in DOJ and FBI to not recommend punishment. Hillery and Bill have been above the law all their careers and have amassed millions of dollars at the expense of the tax payers. It is a shame all Dems can not see the deciet and lying that has occured all these years.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Lacy English on 07/06/2016 at 10:21 AM

Re: “Wake’s Early Voting Debate Illustrates Why It’s Time to Rethink Partisan Elections Boards

A couple of corrections. You state:
"The board settled on a plan to open nineteen early voting sites—including Chavis and N.C. State's Creative Services center—during working hours on weekdays and a few hours on the weekend."
First, it's actually 20 sites, and it's only the BoE office in downtown Raleigh that is open "during working hours on weekdays" The other 19 sites are open weekdays 9 am to 7pm, which is more than working hours. As far as "a few hours on weekends", it's actually 13.5 hours at the 19 sites: 8:30a-2p the first Saturday, 1pm to 5pm on Sunday, and 9a-1p the final Saturday. The BoE office has 12.5 weekend hours.

You also say:
" Since 1985, the boards' majorities have been determined by the party of the governor. County parties nominate appointees who are then approved by the State Board of Elections."Actually this date back to at least 1951, maybe back to the 1920s. Not sure where 1985 came from

Posted by gercohen1 on 07/06/2016 at 10:14 AM

Re: “Trump Bringing Corker to Raleigh; FBI Recommends No Charges Against Clinton

Did Corker give Trump the brilliant idea to praise Saddam Hussein for his ruthlessness when dealing with terrorists (and Iraqi people in general)? Tremendous move, tremendous...

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by saturn8 on 07/06/2016 at 9:37 AM

Re: “Which Triangle Zip Codes Are Seeing Housing Prices Rise the Most?

This would be more interesting with a comparison of average house price by zip code as well. An increase of 10 to 100 is huge, but the context is missing. Are there some zip codes that went from 999,999 to 1,000,000?

What do those % increases actually mean in real dollars?

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Gladdek on 07/06/2016 at 9:25 AM

Re: “Bona Fide Sandwich Co. Delivers Trusted Classics (With Some Creative Misfires)

I want hot capicola on my Italian hero but their choice of mortadella was a change of pace so I will be back for another one

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Fritx on 07/06/2016 at 9:12 AM

Re: “A Brief Note on the Indy's Recent Personnel Changes

Good luck to Skillet and Grayson! I've enjoyed their work for years and will miss them in these pages.

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by john i on 07/06/2016 at 8:53 AM

Re: “Which Triangle Zip Codes Are Seeing Housing Prices Rise the Most?

It's no surprise that prices have increased in downtowns. In the past, the residents in downtowns were primarily low-income citizens. Now we see an influx of new apartment and condos marketed to the upper-middle class and the wealthy. It would be a surprise if average housing prices had not increased! Or to put it differently, housing prices in 27701 and 27601 had nowhere to go but up

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ct on 07/06/2016 at 7:30 AM

Re: “Wake’s Early Voting Debate Illustrates Why It’s Time to Rethink Partisan Elections Boards

To the victor go the spoils. Look, the root cause of dissatisfaction here is that Democrats lost control of both the Governor's mansion and Jones Street. I suppose you can try to mitigate the damage by creating more local elected offices, but bear in mind that unlike Durham County or Orange County, Wake County hasn't always voted 100% Democrat consistently -- and for that matter, Raleigh has been known to elect a Republican mayor (although I think it's unlikely it will happen again). In other words, you could conceivably wind up with a Republican-dominated Wake County elections board while a Democrat is governor.

Do we really want more elections on the ballot, or is the simple solution for Democrats to help Roy Cooper get elected in November?

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ct on 07/06/2016 at 7:22 AM

Re: “The Durham-Orange County Light Rail Line Is on the Ropes Again. That Might Be a Good Thing.

One more because again I was directly addressed by wheresthebeef:

"Doesn't make sense" -- 15-501 requires exits and crossings to serve its existing needs. Incorporating those is hard. Also, the 15-501 is not an urbanized corridor -- BRT buses would have to exit the main path to serve stations, or else people would have to somehow get to the middle of the highway to board stations.

"First problem" is just "BRT is always better." Which it's not. Sometimes it's better. It works really well through already urbanized areas with dense built environments and extant excess lane capacity. It works less well other places. This is why light rail

"Second problem" is that you don't like the funding source. Regressive transportation planning is worse at this point than regressive taxation because of the overall cost to job opportunities. I'd like a better funding source if we could get NCGA to approve it. Ha! I made a funny!

"tertiary problem" Because at-grade crossings are cheaper but sometimes they don't have a high enough service level and have to be upgraded. Was that so hard?

"Seismic disruption" to transportation technologies. Ah, this would be the famous self-driving vehicles. Please see my response to Mr. Cabanes regarding the marginal cost of those technologies in the 10 year window from now. Compare that to the adoption rates on other massively "disruptive" technologies like hybrid engines and alternative fuel vehicles, along with the average operating span of a new vehicle. SDVs will be good things in limited applications, kinda like Segways. But the hype over them is just that -- hype.

All of which gets back to my problem with the current crop of transit skeptics lionized by Mr. Hudnall's highly flawed article -- it's long on posturing and rhetoric and low on engagement with actual planning practice. One more time -- I actually like BRT systems a lot in the right environment, but folks like wheresthebeef and Mr. Cabanes are basically people who have learned a few buzzwords and arguments and taken them and run. (I mean really, leaving out the cost of car operation in making comparisons with transit is basic, basic stuff.) And ultimately it keeps coming back to silly self-driving vehicle utopias where everything will be solved by technology that somehow never materializes into cost.

So, hey, let's do this for fun -- around 30k vehicles are sold to Durham and Orange residents every year. Let's say SDV tech comes on the market next year at the projected $30k marginal cost (they won't, but let's say). If EVERYONE buys SDV from year one, that's an almost $1 billion in ADDITIONAL new car costs to Triangle residents. And what do you get for that? Somewhere between 5-6% of cars on the road are SDVs. So repeat that every year for the first 10 years, and you likely get something close to half the cars on the road are SDVs. At a cost of $10 billion dollars to Triangle residents. And you still haven't done anything for the transit-dependent population.

And remember, cars with a $30k SDV markup aren't available yet. The markup for on-the-road true SDVs (unlike the Tesla "Autopilot" that just killed someone) is more than $100k.

Not to mention that actual first-year adoption rates for SDVs at those rates are likely to be less than 1% and, if things go REALLY well, get up to maybe 5-8% by year 10.

How you feeling about that "seismic disruption" now?

6 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by MichaelB on 07/06/2016 at 12:09 AM

Re: “Welcome to the INDY's Raleigh City Council Live Blog

How many millions of dollars has Steve Schuster's firm made from the City of Raleigh? I.e., taxpayers have enriched him immensely. His strong business ties with the city make his role on the planning commission an obvious conflict of interest. And, of course, the whole being a rubber stamp for developers over citizens as well.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Protect Falls on 07/05/2016 at 9:17 PM

Re: “The Durham-Orange County Light Rail Line Is on the Ropes Again. That Might Be a Good Thing.

As I said in my opening Denver and Durham are not even on the same planet. I like Denver, go there on business 3-4 times a year. Was not meant as a criticism of Denver at all. The numbers are different by an order of magnitude.

Denver chose to make parking free to attract riders, but it has backfired. The point is the lengths politicians will go to promote their transit trophy.

I notice you are all about discrediting the source, but not the analysis. Regardless of the source the Cato criticisms are valid and relevant to DOLRT. hese real world experiences directly counter the assertions by MichiealB when he says DOLRT long term costs are less than BRT. I can see rail to the airport. I can see rail to RTP as it becomes more dense. I can see rail tying Raleigh, Cary, Durham, RDU, RTP and possibly Chapel Hill together.

I cannot see spending +1.8 Billion dollars on a 17 mile LRT between two campuses especially when there are so many more pressing transit needs in the area. I also think the introduction of the "at grade" crossings are seriously problematic (I am unsure if there are any in Denver downtown, but I don't think there are)

I am certain that connected car technology can be and is being applied to BRT, taking one of the main long term expenses out, while maintaining a superior cost and flexibility model.

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by where's the beef? on 07/05/2016 at 7:13 PM

Re: “The Durham-Orange County Light Rail Line Is on the Ropes Again. That Might Be a Good Thing.

I'm open to rebuttal. I am. But I'm confused. Have patience; I am not that bright.

But first, you are citing a 3 year old op-ed piece from a Cato Institute guy? CI in its history is in favor of funding what programs? ACA? Social Security? Saving puppies from drowning? Anything?

Then, the next source you quote is from an article about Denver's parking models, particularly the choice to not charge for parking at some park -and-ride spots in order to encourage adoption of lite rail: "If RTD charged drivers just $1.50 per day, the agency would raise an extra $8.2 million a year, according to the Colorado Fiscal Institute."

So the first article says LR is a failure and the second one says it's a potential tax windfall?

As I said, I'm no genius, but those numbers translate to what: over half-a-million rides taken on the lite rail? Minimum. That doesn't count car poolers and uberers and people that walk to a station. This kinda signals half-a-million less commuter car rides taken, right? That sounds good. But maybe I'm missing your point.

Is your point that there are multiple revenue streams to be gained by pursuing the lite rail's working commuter first, and then adding routes to the less robust neighborhoods, but it comes at the expense of the traditionally poorer bus rider? Ok, there's a concern there.

Is your point that Colorado used forms of monetary encouragement to get people to use the lite rail, and that's what? Unfair? Because that sounds like how we lure every private business to NC.

Is your point that lite rail is racist/classist because it must follow the tax base first? (Can a lite rail be racist? Policy can, so why not? Ok. I don't know) That's an interesting take.

Do you just really love buses? It's a thing.

The lessons to be learned from the Denver model do include: it's expensive to install/maintain and adoption takes time/effort/carrots&sticks. You're right. And there's upkeep. Like w roads. But, just for giggles, go fly into Denver and see the new lite rail now that it pulls up to the airport. Go visit the newly refurbished Union Station and the vibrant restaurant/convention scene in and around the terminal! The upside to the city is tremendous. Go see how the professional hockey team's fans (ooh similarity), and the professional baseball, football, soccer, and basketball teams' fans pack the thing on every game day. Look at the people using it for plays and concerts and commuting. And think of what the Triangle can become. This is a no-brainer--the equivalent of investing for a vibrant future. And look, not long ago, Denver was considered a "cow town"--now it's one of the most desirable places to live in the US with amazing growth for 10 years running--just like Raleigh.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by whatdoiknow on 07/05/2016 at 6:14 PM

Re: “The Durham-Orange County Light Rail Line Is on the Ropes Again. That Might Be a Good Thing.

MichaelB, that retort does not make sense. First the DOLRT requires considerable land purchases as well, how is that different? Secondly how adding a BRT guideway to 15-501 would add “considerably less volume than an equivalent lane on a new [DOLRT] corridor”?

Once again:

The first problem with DOLRT is cost; BRT has been shown again and again to cost less/cover far more territory/serve more people.

The secondary problem is fairness; regressive taxation to build a rail for the well off is trickle down transit and just wrong. LRT has served to displace people with low incomes nationwide in favor of soaring real estate prices, rents, and developer profits.

The tertiary problem is safety; why are we spending Billions on DOLRT building new at grade crossings in dense areas when we are spending millions removing them elsewhere?

Fourth and finally there are seismic disruptions coming in transportation technologies, coupled with major social and demographic shifts. Why would we spend +1.8 Billion dollars on a inflexible 17 mile rail line when we could invest in a much more flexible and less costly transit solution?

There are other problems such as GoTriangles ridership justifications, maintenance facility location, parking allocations, "public" meetings held at hours only convenient for politicians, the fiscal burn rate on "studies", neglect of other solutions (parknride, downtown connector, etc.)....

9 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by where's the beef? on 07/05/2016 at 11:46 AM

Re: “The Durham-Orange County Light Rail Line Is on the Ropes Again. That Might Be a Good Thing.

This might be my last comment on this -- others are carrying on the debate fine, but I do have to respond to a couple of specific questions from wheresthebeef and Alex Cabanes:

"OK. I must be missing something. If corridors are expensive why is DOLRT advocating a new one? It only makes commonsense that expanding the existing corridor(s) would be far more cost effective, Overcapacity is hyperbole along 15-501 since there is plenty of right of way. Yes additional rights of way would be needed, but that would be by far less expensive and impactful that the DOLRT right of way."

First of all, corridors are needed because transportation requires them. This is fairly axiomatic when one stops playing silly word games. Transportation is both incredibly expensive and incredibly necessary to our economy. That is why these things cost lots of money. This is a very simple point but one which seems to keep being missed. Road corridor lane miles or rail miles are both expensive. (More on that in a second.)

Further, there is not "plenty of right of way" around 15-501 -- it would require considerable land purchases, which unlike the rail corridor, no transportation agency holds the options for purchase. Additionally, every lane added to an existing corridor adds considerably less volume than an equivalent lane on a new corridor.

Now, regarding Mr. Cabanes:

Let's start with the mathematical. The total budget of DOLRT involves the construction, operating, and maintenance costs, and these costs include not only the corridor infrastructure, but the rolling stock purchase, operation, and maintenance. By contrast, the building of a highway does not include the purchase, operation, and maintenance cost of driving -- which can be approximated as the cost of owning and maintaining a car and the cost of the driver's time. The monetary cost of driving time versus riding the train are hard to calculate, but fortunately AAA (hardly an auto-unfriendly organization) does the good work of calculating the per-mile costs of car ownership and maintenance. (See here:…) If Mr. Cabanes wants to do apples-to-apples comparison to costs of transit, he needs to take the average trip length of those car trips and multiply times the appropriate costs per mile. (Given the range of variables involved this can be hard, but 55 cents per mile is a reasonable conservative estimate based on AAA's calculations.)

This, of course, gets a bit higher if one wants to buy into Mr. Cabanes' technoutopianism. Mr. Cabanes has repeatedly said that train technology will be obsoleted by self-driving vehicles in 10 years. While I find this ridiculous on its face, the veracity can be set aside for the moment and his time frame used. Existing, road-tested self-driving vehicles require an approximately $100,000 mark-up to take a normal car to a self-driving one. Current estimates of fully automated, self-driving vehicles put its cost for the next 5-10 years as dropping to $30k. The most optimistic estimates, which I'm highly skeptical of, see that dropping to $5k within 25-30 years, but let's stay within Mr. Cabanes' 10 year framework for now. Just focusing on the (very ambitious) purchase cost estimates and ignoring any extra maintenance that SDVs would require over a 7 year ownership period (after all, all computers and cameras and smartphones last 7 years with no maintenance, right?) with 15,000 miles driven per year, SDV adds at LEAST 25 cents per mile to the conservative 55 cent estimate above.

Finally, onto Mr. Cabanes' aptly-named "personal note":

"On a personal note, I find it particularly ironic that the most vocal DOLRT advocates, do so from afar without bearing the brunt of their progressive advocacy. Or that virtually every elected official advocating for DOLRT, high-density, transit-oriented-developments, etc. does so from the comfort of their single-family, detached, suburban home --- far away from the proposed DOLRT alignment. Perhaps it is easier to be ‘progressive’, living without the consequences of your decisions and can comfortably bully from afar those who do, as merely NIMBY."

Dear sir;

The letters following "MichaelB" in my name are "acon." You may feel free to put those into a Lexis-Nexus search for the public record of my involvement in Durham politics, particularly in the years between 1998 when I returned to Durham from college and 2013 when I moved away to allow my wife to take a job elsewhere. Unlike you, I expect, I was born in Durham. Unlike you, I expect, I graduated from high school in Durham. Unlike you, I expect, I rode the bus system regularly for well over a decade in Durham. Unlike you, who likes to style yourself a bus-advocate, I was pinning down elected officials at events as early as the late 1990s emphasizing that bus service in Durham had to improve, regardless of whether or not a train-based system was built. Unlike you, my record of public activism in Durham expands well beyond transit. Unlike you, I advocated for the half-cent sales tax because of its immense benefits to bus riders, benefits that have already begun to manifest.

Like you, my parents live near the rail corridor in southwest Durham county. Like you, I still have many friends and family who live near the corridor.

Unlike you, however, regardless of whether the BRT or the LRT gets built, I intend to be a regular rider of the service for decades to come and will therefore actually live with the consequences of whether the system is well-designed or not.

It is, however, unsurprising that when your utopian nonsense is laid bare, you resort to the same sorts of "personal notes" you only days before were decrying in your opponents.

You may now return to your futuristic dreamland. I can't help but wish you would stay there.

11 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by MichaelB on 07/05/2016 at 10:50 AM

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