The Raleigh 2030 Comprehensive Plan designates Jones Street, West Street and Harrington Street as Priority Pedestrians Streets AND all three are also Retail Streets. Not only that, but they are among a very small number of connections between the network of Priority Pedestrian and Retail Streets in the Glenwood South area, and the larger network in the downtown area. Whereas highways and airports suck the life out of downtowns, the SEHSR high speed rail project has the potential to "revitalize important urban centers," as claimed in the SEHSR PowerPoint. Let's don't screw it up like we did when we blasted highways through downtown Durham and obliterated the thriving black business district there. Using technologies such as four-quadrant gates, median separators, one-way pairs, and pedestrian channelization, we can dramatically improve safety without closing any crossings, and save a lot of money to boot. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Bob, I agree that transit -- not just roads -- can cause urban sprawl. And I agree that fixed-path transit infrastructure should be built where there is the most potential for pedestrian-oriented redevelopment around stations.
I am not sure I agree that the Raleigh-Durham corridor will ever be the appropriate place for regional rail. I am sticking with my story that we should connect the downtowns with their respective [inner] suburbs first, even though intercity rail service may never become cost-effective.
Express buses can fill in the gaps, of which there are many. But whether it's light rail, heavy rail, streetcars, bus rapid transit (BRT), or the traditional bus systems, we need to start with our downtowns and work outward rather than vice versa.
The "builders" that use 1-2 million gallons two days per week to flush out new water mains includes civic projects, such as new schools, and city-related projects. Under the proposal put forward, water lines can continue to be flushed if the water is recaptured.
Bob, great article! My only comment is that we should be building transit OUT from our multiple downtowns where space efficiency is of paramount importance, rather than OUT from RTP or IN from distant cities. Rail is almost never appropriate for connecting "between" places (e.g. Raleigh-to-Durham), and should instead be used to connect "through" our dense urban centers. I am a strong supporter of the 10-mile rail line going north from downtown Raleigh along Atlantic Avenue, which would be about a third of the cost of the full 28-miles from Raleigh to Durham. Then, once we have connected our downtowns to their respective suburbs, we can talk about how to connect Raleigh and Durham. I believe that express bus service will provide far more flexible service in that corridor for a given cost. I strongly caution against asking the public to pay for billion-dollar projects that will starve funding for the traditional bus system, education, public safety, and health care.
I am thrilled that the Raleigh City Council will finally have a majority who support downtown and making urban living more practical. We need mixed-use pedestrian-oriented infill development as an alternative to urban sprawl in order to make Raleigh a place that is more for people rather than only the automobile. There is a very bright future for Raleigh, and Councilor Stephenson is absolutely right -- the voter mandate for managing growth in Raleigh and Cary isn't about stopping or even slowing growth. Sustainability means we won't forfeit future growth after the slash-and-burn of inefficient, auto-oriented development.
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