Mental Rectangle | Indy Week

Mental Rectangle 
Member since Oct 12, 2009

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Re: “Edie Jeffreys, City Council, and Raleigh’s existential question: How to grow?

It's difficult to tell what Edie's policies are with regards to urban infill, revitalizing downtown, mass transit, etc. Her positions on protecting historic neighborhoods and requiring architectural standards sound good, but there are many people who use those issues as a false flag to run on a NIMBY position and reject any new construction--particularly dense affordable infill that could be a positive contributor to the city's urban fabric.

When I followed the UDO hubbub one thing that frustrated me was that the city was passing any height limitations at all in its downtown (and that people were complaining those were TOO HIGH). I'd quite like to see more 400+ foot buildings there, personally. I would much rather see Raleigh grow up than out. But there are many NIMBYs who would prefer for downtown Raleigh to look like a city of 150,000 for the rest of all time, frozen in amber. The love/hate relationship with building tall is a major point of contention in Raleigh right now. Gaylord is at least firmly in favor of this. I'm concerned Edie might not be...

Are those fears unfounded?

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Mental Rectangle on 09/08/2015 at 5:24 PM

Re: “Why is Gary Kahn, Chapel Hill’s last Republican politician, running for mayor as a Democrat?

I use the bus every weekday... I support the light rail line. Improvements to the buses could be made but I think there are diminishing returns past a certain point. They're already free for passengers. Anyone who's not riding them now is never going to ride them--unless a train is linked with them. Right now the biggest deficit in the CHT system is the lack of connections to Durham. Light rail will fix that problem. TTA buses have no utility for people living along the line since they're express buses, and they get stuck in traffic with everyone else at rush hour. Trains don't have these issues.

Conservatives will always use buses as a red herring to oppose rail funding. It doesn't matter how good the buses already are, or how appropriate trains would be for a situation. The buses will never be good enough, trains will always be too early, it will always be preferable to throw more money at buses than to invest in dedicated transit corridors when a conservative is talking. Spending a penny to save a pound is a foreign concept to these people. But also, trains bring a psychological element to any transit system. Trains don't change routes last minute. Trains don't get stuck in traffic. There's an aspect of solidness and dependability that buses lack. Having trains in any transit system tends to improve bus ridership. People are more willing to take a bus to a train than to another bus line.

There are minor issues that could be addressed like improving weekend service and improving some of those long routes (F, for instance, is a miserly route that should be split in half and then lengthened to provide better service at the ends of it). A more major issue is that many people working at UNC live in Durham and can't take the bus to work at all. No amount of funding buffs will change that. But trains would. Trains would also help to fix the game day traffic nightmares.

0 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by mentalrectangle on 09/08/2015 at 2:06 PM

Re: “The new North Carolina Museum of Art opens up

I agree, "aw". You are definitely not alone in this. The new building was poorly executed in too many ways to count. It is... a prison for art.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by mentalrectangle on 01/18/2011 at 10:59 PM

Re: “The next hot spot for drilling could be the N.C. coast

It's not just oil spills that would permanently screw up our beaches. We'll lose the outer banks once the sea level rises, so I think our state has a lot more at stake from the normal use of the oil that's extracted.

Quite frankly we need a radical energy policy. Something along the lines of everyone abandoning gas-powered cars within 20 years. Republican-lites like Obama and most of his party aren't going to pass that.

So I'm pretty pessimistic that we'll avert a major disaster on our coast in the next couple centuries, even if the federal gov't decided to cancel drilling in the atlantic, which they hopefully will.

Posted by mentalrectangle on 07/06/2010 at 12:08 PM

Re: “Wake County goes to hell

Reminder that the Jefferson quote is a warning against targeting specific individual taxpayers unfairly. He went on to say that inheritance law was the best way to prevent any individual's wealth from becoming powerful enough to hurt the state.

Posted by mentalrectangle on 03/05/2010 at 2:56 PM

Re: “Wake schools to come apart? Will the new school board fire Del Burns?

"According to Forbes Magazine, the Wake County School System ranked third in the nation and Mecklenburg County came in ninth on its Top Ten List for The Best Education In The Biggest Cities.

The list was based on access to educational resources, affordability of housing, and high school graduation rate. The 100 largest school districts in the most populous cities in the country, as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau, were examined by the magazine. 10 school districts that score best in all three categories were then selected."

So yes actually wake county schools are pretty good now that you asked.

Posted by mentalrectangle on 10/16/2009 at 6:19 PM

Re: “Dan Douglas' European vision for our capital city

Luthert, downtown Raleigh subsidizes the suburbs a lot more than vice versa. Think about property taxes. They're highest where property values are highest, and that would be inside the beltline.

The reason Raleigh is trying to support downtown more than a McMansion in the far corner of Wake County is because the latter contributes nothing to the city. In fact they probably live there to leech off the fine schools and employment opportunities that downtown Raleigh has generously subsidized for decades.

Meanwhile your ideology has pretty much killed the city's culture, and every other city it's touched. New York? Fun city to visit. Houston is a dump by comparison. There's nothing to do there, and it's considered one of the worst civic-planning nightmares in the country. The traffic is terrible in both cities, but in one of them you don't need a car to get around.

Posted by mentalrectangle on 10/12/2009 at 7:13 AM

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