Accidents will happen
This is in response to the notice that police will be making their presence known on MLK Boulevard for bike and pedestrian safety: Accidents waiting to happen.
Motorists are programmed to stop at red lights and go on green lights. Pedestrians are taught from earliest ages to cross at the crosswalk and to wait for a walk sign to cross the street.
But for some unfathomable reason Chapel Hill has set up a crossing for pedestrians not where there are stoplights and crosswalks, but right in the middle of the block – where many have been taught never to cross. So the town installed wildly flashing lights that are supposed to let motorists know there is something to be looking out for. Motorists are confused by flashing lights with no sense that people will be dashing across the road to catch a bus. Pedestrians, on the other hand, feel protected by these flashing lights and island half way across to protect them from cars and trucks whizzing by.
Other towns and cities throughout our nation put their bus stops near legitimate crosswalks at stop lights. Indeed, Chapel Hill could do this too. There are stoplights less than 100 steps from this mid-way pedestrian dash spot (at Estes Drive and also at Piney Mountain).
Putting police in prominent spots to enforce a law that is so completely beyond motorists and pedestrians experience may help to reduce accidents.
But a far more sensible solution is to move the bus stop to the corner where there is a stoplight. And a crosswalk. And yes, that can be done without having the busses obstruct traffic – a bus-sized lane divot is the way other towns handle this – Chapel Hill can too.
Let’s save lives, save driver distractions and give pedestrian the protection they really deserve.
One day Chapel Hill Town Council member Jim Ward appears to have learned about construction and development costs, then another day he seems to have forgotten. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt rightly takes offense when Ward criticizes the Ephesus-Fordham reinvestment plan as if the town “gave away the bank,” (CHN, nando.com/13o), which only encourages further delays in long-needed additions to the sparse business district at Ephesus-Fordham.
Lately “affordable housing” has taken the place of “significant tree” and “steep slope” buzzwords that area obstacle-throwers hurl at any expansion of our tax base. Then opponents of goods, services, and more housing instead repeat demands for more parks, public gathering spaces, bike-ped paths and sidewalks. As staff and working supporters of affordable and workforce housing understand, the costs traditionally added to developer plans in Chapel Hill discourage affordable housing construction. DHIC within Ephesus-Fordham will provide less costly housing. Now support general refurbishing: allow overall reinvestment to go forward.
Where’s the will?
It’s not surprising, in talks about Obey Creek, that the developers want to give the town money instead of affordable housing. Chapel Hill never seems to insist on affordable housing, as developers get zoning adjustments and walk away with millions in exchange for a “payment” toward affordable housing. Unfortunately they are 10 years too late for Northside where affordable housing has long vanished.
It is all double talk and no action and worsening traffic and congestion, as those who can't afford to live in Chapel Hill commute and those in the new developments flood the highways. There is a lack of will to stand up for people who need affordable housing; it isn’t what you say but what you do that counts!
Cynthia Combs O’Hara
Obey Creek: Why?
I reviewed the website whatsupwithobeycreek.com and wonder about the push for the Obey Creek development in Chapel Hill. It’s not just Greenbridge standing partly empty or the new developments stretching all along Franklin Street and around town (not to mention the proposed 60,000-person development in Pittsboro), it’s the combination that concerns me. Does the necessary consumer base exist?
I’m also concerned about location. To get to Obey Creek you'll have to cut through campus, come down Mt. Carmel Church Road, or take U.S. 15-501 (or smaller residential streets). None of these roads are designed to support the traffic that Obey Creek (larger than Southpoint mall) will require in order to be profitable. It could be men’s basketball traffic all the time. The town will need to invest in road expansion projects to respond to the congestion.
I appreciate some benefits of this investment cycle, but the size and location of the Obey Creek development could change the fabric of our town and our day to day lives.
I am grateful for our elected leaders’ service but want to understand support for Obey Creek, especially on the south side of town which has the least infrastructure to support it.
The Wednesday, March 18, edition of The Daily Tar Heel carried an article about efforts to allow guns on campus. The justification seems to be for self-protection. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that only 2 percent of guns kept in the home were used for self-protection against an intruder. Instead, 61 percent of guns in the home in 2010 were used in a suicide. Often college students are in a fragile state of mind and suicide is common in that age group. Easy access to a gun could increase the number of suicides on campus.
Guns on campus are not necessary and could lead to tragedies.
A Bolin Creek Walk
As it now exists, much of Carrboro’s portion of Bolin Creek is a badly eroded corridor along the sewer line. Portions, as Blair Pollock described last Sunday (“Where the sidewalk ends,” CHN, nando.com/13p), are a difficult, muddy walk during wet periods. During heavy rains that corridor becomes a parallel channel emptying into the creek at countless eroded bare stream sides.
Blair describes a vision of a completed greenway along the Carrboro portion of the Creek all the way from Morris Grove School to the Community Center.
He refers to the 2009 Carrboro Greenway Plan, now “shelved” in the Town’s planning Office (nando.com/12). That extensive and thoughtful plan is a “conceptual master plan” to lead further study and planning for an accessible greenway. It is not an engineering document, nor a set of plans to be implemented. The concepts require extensive additional study and planning and engineering. It is a fine beginning for what Blair hopes to see in his life time and, though older, so do I.
In addition to accessibility, an appropriate flood resistant hard surface path with vegetated edges will decrease erosion and improve the quality of the Creek.
Implementation of such a pathway will require the loss of some sizable trees, a relatively few large trees, because most of that corridor is already wide. Wisdom would have us step back and view the entire corridor. Losing a few trees to lessen the erosion and improve the water quality for the length of the corridor is a long term investment.
Now is the time to take that plan off the shelf and begin working with other agencies for funding and logistical planning to see that a greenway will be constructed during the time sewer upgrades will come about in the future.
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