The continued attack on urban areas, generally not controlled by the governing party, would seem to be something that you might have mentioned. Derailing DOLRT, redistricting Wake county commissioners and school boards, taking the airport away from Charlotte, attempting to redistrict Asheville, and the effort to undermine business improvement districts -- which exist and thrive in every major city in the state.
Bonnie, this ridiculous position of the legislature to undue the rigorous decade of work that had been done by the NCDOT, GoTriangle, and the USDOT, experts in this field, has only been confirmed for week or so. Our elected officials are seeking ways to come up with the difference. My bet is that they do find the money but the question is whether we loose our place in line with the federal government and that the project gets delayed -- likely to result in greater cost. While the half cents sales tax was designed to generate the 25% local match, I understand that its actually generating more like 30-35% of the needed funding. So the gap created by this action by the State legislature may be less than $100 million -- Think about it this away, assuming my math is correct, we may be just a mile away from being able to accomplish this project. In these early days, the answer is not clear but clearly its also not over.
The funding limitation actually will impact any technology that we use and will impact Wake county as well as Durham-Orange. So this is not an LRT issue or an attack on Durham. Its an attack on urban living in NC. The legislature does not want to fund the needed infrastructure in Urban areas even where the development and growth of urban areas is the economic engine of the state. Over 40% of the tax base of the state is in the Triangle. Yet they have no problem spending $600 million for the Bonner Bridge to the outer banks that will be crowded two days week for three months per year. Uban infrastructure is so important to this state. My faith is in our local elected officials.
Let me add the conclusion of the BullCityRising piece here for folks who don't want to take the time to read how it completely dismantles this IndyWeek article . . . just let me add that it backs up every point in this conclusion: "In closing, a lot of the mistakes in this article could be chocked up to a new guy in town not doing his homework. But for a paper that proclaims to fight for social justice, and given that most people riding transit today in Durham and Chapel Hill have incomes well below the median income, (slide 10) INDY Week needs to take a harder look in the mirror and ask itself why it couldn’t be bothered to talk to low-income residents or people of color who ride transit in Durham and Chapel Hill about how they travel instead of letting several older, wealthier white residents with a clear agenda speak for them."
I am reposting this note because anyone who took the time to read the IndyWeeks shoddy work needs to look at bullcityrising to understand just how poor the journalism was by the Indy. -- I'd just like to refer folks to http://www.bullcityrising.com 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.
I'd just like to refer folks to http://www.bullcityrising.com 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.
Bonnie, not sure why you make the disrespectful response "if you were current . . ." blah blah blah. Rest assured that I'm pretty current and Alston Avenue is not out. The original site was called Alston Avenue but was actually along Pettigrew just east of Alston Avenue but as planning went on that location was found to be too expensive and not really workable. The new site for the stop will likely continue to be called Alston Ave even though it also is along Pettigrew about the same distance from Alston as the original site, just on the west side of Alston.
The idea that transit dependent communities get no value from DOLRT is just wrong. Someone within a half mile of many of the stops are lower income communities like north east central Durham, Mcdougall Terrace, etc, etc. Other communities the are transit dependent will be able to access DOLRT via bus and hopefully the light rail line will become a spine for a newly designed and enhanced bus system -- clearly the bus system will need redesign once the light rail comes into existence.
If you were aware of the process that has gotten us to this point you would know that safety concerns are a big part of the process and are certainly being considered at every phase of the engineering of the project. Further, the environmental, fiscal and moral values of the project are clear and all very positive.
One of the great benefits of light rail is that it tends not to be the ghettoized situation presented by the bus environment. You have choice riders right there with transit dependent riders. As a result, the experience is improved for all.
Alex, I will take the time to respond to a couple of your points before I get busy enjoying my weekend. I hope you enjoy yours.
First, on the politics . . . the vote was not during a presidential where the transit tax would have won by an even wider margin but the internal polling of our community suggested that this election was fairly reflective of our community's sentiment on the matter. Of course, elections have consequences and just because it has a direct impact on you and your neighborhood, you don't get a do over. Not only did it win the popular vote but there was not a single elected officials at the time who opposed it. So you must accept and respect that this community and its leaders make this choice clearly and without equivocation. Maybe its because those leaders are interested in what's best for the community at large and not so focused upon a particular neighborhood.
One more point on the voting, your effort regarding what was voted upon is clearly one to mislead folks who might be reading this. You accurately quote what was on the ballot but, and you clearly know this, what you fail to mention is that there was a campaign sponsored by our chamber of commerce, not a left wing radical group, and supported by information from TTA, now known as GoTriangle now, which, in fact, forecasted the sort of light rail system and routing that is now the plan. This is a good example of you not trying to provide truth but to mislead when necessary to your goals.
Second, on your personal attack on me for being a supporter of DOLRT who's actual neighborhood won't be directly effected by it, save it. You don't know me or my personal situation. I've not made that an issue because for me its about the broader community and not just what happens in my neighborhood or, frankly, yours. But the broader community impact and the options for a person who lives in Durham will be impacted as long as you live in Durham. So we have the right, and really as you suggest about vote, the duty to participate in this discussion.
Third, on the I-540/DOLRT comparisons, I don't dispute anything you say there. However, your points are extremely myopic. You ignore the personal expense associated with using a major highway or the impact that major highways have on communities.
Fourth, as to uber fares, are you seriously suggesting that the public support the cost of personal vehicles that folks use as taxis's. I've never heard of that being done anywhere in the world. Somebody's car is not public infrastructure.
Fifth, as to your thought that any of these tech advances will be seen in the wild within the next 20-30 years, i sincerely doubt it. The average age of cars driven on highways today is close to 10 years. I think of mine as new, but its 8 years old. There are electric cars but it will be decades before they are sufficiently common to have traffic rules that allow any of those efficiencies to have a material effect on Highway utilization. Personal drones exist today, but i doubt that either of us or anyone reading this have the money to buy one. Those are pie in the sky solutions. This DOLRT has been in the planning for over a decade and millions have been spent to get us to this point. This pie in the sky technology savior that you haven't even actually identified but just generally suggested is beyond ridiculous.
Our community is growing and needs to actually have viable actionable plans for its future. This DOLRT is a big part of that and probably just the beginning of how rail, that ancient technology that caused this city to come in to being, will have on this community's future.
I am sorry that it will impact your community but it has been apart of the public record for a long time, probably long before you moved there. Meadowmont was actually intended to be a transit oriented community . I am sorry that they were even more powerful NIMBYist than you, but none of this sorry persuades me of any of your points on the merits of the broader community interest in DOLRT. I am also sorry that the legislature has given your selfish view life. Its shocking how unprincipled and arrogant they are. You are not that, but you are selflishly wrong. I am also shocked that the Indy got this one so wrong in the above piece.
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