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Re: “Interview: Scott Avett Talks The Avett Brothers' True Sadness, Not Becoming a Farmer, And Not Making a Statement on HB 2

Why this? Americans are sadly, myopically fixated on this and similar issues. Artists as well as ordinary citizens should be quietly and diligently personally devoted at all times to human dignity and basic rights. It doesn't have to be a show. Children die. Actually die - because their sleep is unsafe! If American children were dying in rates that malaria kills little Africans, we'd be up in arms (I hope). Little girls are forcibly circumcised. Others are sold into slavery. Women are stoned. Children with "defects" (deaf, Downs Syndrome) are treated like garbage, abused, neglected. We don't publicly condemn our celebrities for not speaking out on these atrocities. Why? If we are all equal citizens of the world, why do we care so much less about the horrific living conditions and substandard lives of the truly poor, and focus instead on "rights" of people who have, by world standards, EVERYTHING. Sorry is this is a bit of a rant, but having grown up in a third-world nation, this is my perspective.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Lavinia Curletta on 07/01/2016 at 10:22 AM

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

"What if, this time, those Republicans who oppose light rail for all the wrong reasons—allergy to government spending, resentment of progressive city folk—happen to be right?"

This insulting reductivism, applied to anyone who disagrees with any of the progressive agenda, is what is driving the candidacy of Donald Trump. What if, quelle horreur, those non card carrying progressives are right about other things?

Why doesn't the Indy grow up and look at the issues facing Durham in an objective manner?

9 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Rosemary Ford on 07/01/2016 at 7:20 AM

Re: “Interview: Scott Avett Talks The Avett Brothers' True Sadness, Not Becoming a Farmer, And Not Making a Statement on HB 2

@jodys If you don't mind me asking how do you know "many members of the Avett camp aren't pro-HB2"?

Not sure what you mean by this "I wonder if when he says Avett shows are inclusive, Scott's focusing on including the people who choose to exclude."

If people are excluded that's their own doing isn't it?

Posted by Robin Elizabeth on 07/01/2016 at 7:06 AM

Re: “U.S. Congress, Fourth District: We Endorse Sue Googe in the Republican Primary

Well... DRiley,

You should be worry having a crooked candidate running for president who have the majority of her donors a list of Muslim Countries. Countries who want America to fall.

Posing with a riffle does not mean she will go into public and start shoot to people.
Great examples are the terrorist attacks against American citizens by Muslim terrorists.

Finally, the gun she is posing is a hunting rifle.



2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Steve A. Von Loor on 07/01/2016 at 6:59 AM

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

For those wondering why I'm here -- I was born in Durham, finished high school in Durham, moved back to Durham in 1999 and stayed until 2013 when my wife's job took me to Richmond. I still own the house I lived in for 9 years in Old West Durham. My Virginia license plate says "DURMITE." Richmond is a temporary stopover, but it's interesting as a counter-example because they're implementing the solution that Alex and others want. I am currently a student in the Urban and Environmental Planning department at UVA.

BRT has lower corridor capital costs (although not smaller corridor width -- if Alex stopped to think a moment he might realize that road corridors often use considerably more than two 14-foot wide lanes, and are often close to 50 feet themselves once drainage ditches and shoulders are incorporated). It also has considerably higher operating costs, uses more energy, and costs per passenger rise at a higher rate once the system is built. In short, LRT has a higher initial cost but lower ongoing costs than BRT.

As to any "baseless" assertions, again I'm out of country until next week and so can't take the time to pull this up while on vacation, but most of the key data are here: Pull the NCDOT performance levels for the following corridors where they cross the New Hope watershed:

- 15/501
- Old Erwin
- Old Chapel Hill Rd.
- NC 54
- Stagecoach Rd
- I-40
- NC 86 (which collects both New Hope Church Rd. and Mt. Sinai)

What you'll find is that they are all at or close to capacity. This is why there is no existing corridor room down which to put BRT. All solutions require adding existing corridor along almost the entire route, including crossing the sensitive watershed. Again, we've already used up all of the extra right-of-way we had in the 15-501 corridor with an expansion that cost hundreds of millions, which improved congestion but still did not bring the road back under reasonable capacity. That "cheap" option is gone.

So $100 million BRT options like Richmond has aren't available for the Durham to Chapel Hill connection. To get transit, we need new corridor.

11 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by MichaelB on 07/01/2016 at 5:30 AM

Re: “Budget "Correction" Set To Take $500,000 From Emergency Relief Fund To Pay For HB 2 Litigation

Nobel use of public funds, to defend a law which never should have been enacted in the first place. Discrimination will never stand up over what is right and, expanding rights to everyone, equally, is always right. So, spending good money to defend a bad law, which will eventually be struck down as unconstitutional? Why are the citizens of NC not in complete revolt?

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Thomas Norris on 07/01/2016 at 2:50 AM

Re: “At the Eno River Festival, North Carolinians Fight for Their Own Backyard

I had tickets to see Ani up in Annapolis last week, but I did not go after her insulting cancellation of the Eno gig. I have seen her many times over the years, but never again.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by briteness on 06/30/2016 at 3:37 PM
Posted by Durham Lou on 06/30/2016 at 1:01 PM

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

Baseless assertions like "You simply cannot build acceptable BRT between Durham and Chapel Hill on existing corridors" are unsubstantiated and not useful. Why are we even comparing Richmond to this area? Does MichaelB own property in Durham?

Adding a *much* less expensive dedicated guideway for BRT across heavily traveled routes that have lots of business and medical facilities that people need to get to rather than cutting a new corridor to benefit speculators is a much better use of transit dollars.

Leverage the existing infrastructure and business corridors, spend the monies saved by not building LRT to expand coverage and frequency of the transit system is the way forward.

8 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by where's the beef? on 06/30/2016 at 12:48 PM

Re: “Is The Closure of Cave Taureau a Bad Sign for Downtown Durham's Recent Retail Bloom?

These are all great points. David Wofford, I would argue that your assertion about tech culture in Durham, compared to the stereotypes about Silicon Valley that often get used in these discussions, are misguided. Again, full disclosure, our team at RUNAWAY has an office in American Underground, and our shop is in the newly renovated Trust Building. Our new neighbors, Blackspace, just opened up next door after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Both these businesses (owned by minorities) benefitted from the infrastructure of the "tech culture," and now have an opportunity to pay it forward back to the Durham community.

Durham is going to change. That is certain. HOW it changes depends a lot on what happens in the next 5 years, and how we choose to engage with the process.

Using tech culture as a scapegoat for decisions made by city government and developers (many of which don't live here or have roots here) could ultimately hurt Durham long-term. What we need is more discussion and participation around housing, commercial development, alternative transit, retail affordability, small business development, and so forth.

I am happy to have that discussion with anyone that wants to. My name is Justin, and I work at the RUNAWAY store. You're welcome to come find me.

Posted by Justin Laidlaw on 06/30/2016 at 12:29 PM

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

Rather than fabricating traffic on a corridor - How about joining forces with Wake for Integrated Regional Transit. Imagine extending Wake's Commuter Rail to Durham, Hillsborough and Mebane - as a backbone. Then you could add BRT corridors along all the major thoroughfares - including 15-501 South to Chatham Park and Chapel Hill to RTP, Raleigh and Durham.

I'm so tired of hearing about studies done years ago that have not been adapted to changing demographics and technologies. Based on GoTriangle's reports, BRT would now be faster than DOLRT on the same corridor (plus cheaper and lower impact). And there would be plenty of money left over to service all our communities. Wake figured it out - why can't Durham and Orange.

Thanks David Hudnall - maybe we can start to have an honest, forward looking conversation about transit.

16 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Bonnie Hauser on 06/30/2016 at 11:57 AM

Re: “Interview: Scott Avett Talks The Avett Brothers' True Sadness, Not Becoming a Farmer, And Not Making a Statement on HB 2

Given that the Avett Brothers launched their career on the backs of the North Carolina venues and recording studios that are hurting because of HB2, I find "not taking a stand" to be ungrateful at best. I know many members of the Avett camp aren't pro-HB2, so pleading ignorance seems disingenuous. I wonder if when he says Avett shows are inclusive, Scott's focusing on including the people who choose to exclude.

Many bands communicate human empathy and support of social justice without being overly preachy or political. If you want to see an example, Shovels and Rope does it beautifully.

11 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by jodys on 06/30/2016 at 11:35 AM

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

For what it's worth, the appropriate BRT to build in Durham, IMO, is to run roughly from the Durham Regional area, down Roxboro Rd., shift over onto Alston, and continue all the way to RTP. The conversion of the Bull City Connector to BRT would also be a good investment.

Those are the kinds of corridors that can support the addition of BRT. For the Chapel Hill connection, however, LRT is the optimal choice.

10 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by MichaelB on 06/30/2016 at 10:45 AM

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

Alex, with all due respect, you ignored my fundamental point.

You simply cannot build acceptable BRT between Durham and Chapel Hill on existing corridors. The cost of corridor construction is the overwhelming component of the LRT's cost.

Richmond (and many other cities) are building BRT, which I fully support where appropriate, on existing corridor and adding stations along the way. That is an excellent use of existing corridor, particularly when the corridor is already fully urbanized, as it is along all of the proposed BRT corridors through Richmond.

And further, major infrastructure expenditure on the Durham to Chapel Hill link is needed, and soon. Again, hundreds of millions (I'm actually out of the country at the moment, so digging through project reports to get the exact cost is more than I can do at the moment) have already been spent on 15-501, which hasn't even brought the road back up above an F rating in NCDOT's eyes. So this, "let's just do what Richmond is doing and add BRT" suggestion fundamentally ignores the reality of corridor capacity.

The LRT is a good solution. We should build it, and the state should stop playing favorites and apply its data-driven funding model.

13 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by MichaelB on 06/30/2016 at 10:03 AM

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


Extra ROW of a rail corridor and extra ROW of a number of different road corridors are not created equal. The additional land needed adjacent to a rail road is more likely to be underutilized than some of the roads that will need to be widened. If you think of where some of these BRT corridors would go there will be very real damage done to the look and feel of some communities, and also creates even worse conditions for pedestrians. Rail corridors by contrast have for the most part already created the 'divides' and pedestrian obstacles, so you could argue that their negative impact to the built environment and pedestrians will be less than widening roads that many would agree are already too wide. Thanks,

6 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by biIIy on 06/30/2016 at 9:46 AM

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

If buses turn out to be a better fit, please be aware that clean, quiet, cost-effective all-electric buses from companies like ProTerra, BYD, Volvo, and others are now a reality.

All-electric buses do cost more than diesel up front, but pay for themselves over time through higher efficiency and very low maintenance. Some have large batteries and can travel long distances, and some have smaller batteries and recharge quickly at stops along their routes.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Chris Sites on 06/30/2016 at 9:39 AM

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

MichaelB, thank you for sharing your insight from afar. Always good to get competitive benchmarks from other parts of the world.

To clarify, BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) is being deployed across the world, including in Richmond where you currently reside. BRT is much more than just placing buses on existing roads, rather it is investing in the BRT stations with platform fare collection and dedicated guideways (aka dedicated road) so it does not have to contend with existing traffic.

DOLRT requires a 50' right-of-way according to GoTriangle engineers, or the equivalent of 4 road lanes (12' each). So in fact, LRT requires twice as much corridor space than a comparable BRT.

Chapel Hill is looking to develop more cost-effective BRT along MLK corridor for approximately $100M with 80% Federal subsidy and NO state funding requirement (details @ So basically BRT costs a mere fraction at ~ $14M per mile, versus DOLRT estimated $94M per mile (or Charlotte BLE ~ $126M per mile). And Wake County is also pursuing cost-effective BRT. In the mean time, GoTriangle continues to waste taxpayer dollars on DOLRT studies ... when we could have already paid for an equivalent BRT line.

For $1.6 BILLION, we could build the equivalent of 16 BRT lines similar to the proposed North-South / MLK corridor BRT project ... now that WOULD BE mass transit!

And unfortunately while you may emphasize the high capacity of DOLRT, we will unfortunately use very little of this capacity.

Using GoTriangle's optimistic 23,000 daily boardings projection (in 2040) running 150 train trips per day across the end-to-end 17 mile line will result in an average load of 9 passengers per vehicle mile travelled (or utilize less than 2% of the 500 passenger capacity heralded by GoTriangle). As comparison, Charlotte LYNX has stagnated 16,000 daily ridership after ~8 years of service, while it's population is larger and has grown more than 17% during that time contributing to even more traffic congestion.

So for every one DOLRT train that travels at the cited 500 passenger capacity, there will be ~50 trains (weighing 90 tons) running empty.

And with no renewable energy requirement for DOLRT, the electricity will be sourced from Duke Power which has been repeatedly cited for environmental transgressions and primarily relies on coal and nuclear feedstock.

Low capacity utilization is not particularly environmentally or economically sound.

17 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Alex Cabanes on 06/30/2016 at 8:46 AM

Re: “Evaluating Bare Theatre's Experiment in Free Public Shakespeare on the Eve of Its Final Show

Thanks for the correction, Dustin. The playbill listed the wrong actor in the role.

Posted by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on 06/30/2016 at 8:22 AM

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

The elephant in the room that the anti-LRT folks don't engage with is the problem of corridor crossing the New Hope Creek valley and protected watershed.

Richmond, where I live now (before anyone flips I still own property in Durham and have many, many family and friends there) is building a BRT system for less than $100 million, which sounds great until you realize that they have underutilized corridor that they can build it on. No new roadway is getting constructed as part of that project.

In contrast, the link between Durham and Chapel Hill, which is economically more important than any other link (including Raleigh) happens almost entirely over seven bridges over the New Hope Creek watershed. At rush hour, almost all of the roads that cross those bridges, including Stagecoach and New Hope Church Rd., are either close to capacity or far over it, and that's after hundreds of millions spent widening 15-501.

So the option is not simply add buses -- there's no corridor room to put them in without severely impacting auto traffic or just making them sit in traffic like everyone else. It's whether we spend huge amounts of money on more road corridor between the cities or spend huge amounts of money on fixed guideway exclusive to transit. And dedicated BRT might cost a little less up front (maybe 25% less), but it still has all of the corridor impact issues on neighborhoods and watersheds, uses far more energy than electrified rail, and has a lower ceiling of capacity in the long run.

Finally, the "technologically obsolete" argument is so mind-numbingly absent of critical thought I can't believe how often it gets repeated. Self-driving cars won't reduce capacity demands on the roadway, which is obvious if one takes 2 minutes to think out how it would actually work. "SDV+Uber" is technophilic nonsense that might require 5 minutes to think out issues of ownership and rental rates. And it somehow imagines that LRT will be coal and steam powered choo choo trains instead of highly sophisticated and energy efficient rail. Technologically sophisticated rail is being deployed all over the world because of its great advantages in capacity and energy efficiency, despite what rail-skeptics will tell you.

20 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by MichaelB on 06/30/2016 at 7:58 AM

Re: “How a Little Jewish Day School in Durham Became Embroiled in an International Controversy

suing your customers seems like a great idea . .NOT. yet another reason public schools are better than private.

Posted by Mzio on 06/30/2016 at 7:52 AM

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