Letters to the Editor

George Lawrence: Collaboration needed in Triangle

Ned Barnett’s Dec. 14 column “ Bridging a divided Triangle” was on the mark. I’ve lived in the Triangle nearly 40 years and watched as sprawling growth has gobbled us up like unattended kudzu. To be fair, some of this growth has been more than welcome.

Downtown Raleigh is finally a boon. Durham has become a go-to locale for entertainment and business alike. While development in Chapel Hill has obliterated once-cherished institutions on Franklin Street, much of the fast-paced residential growth has been managed nicely.

Regardless, there has been nearly zero coordination among local governments regarding rapid growth. Development along the Durham-Chapel Hill line near the intersection of I-40 and U.S. 15-501, primarily the ridiculous New Hope Commons area, should be an example of failure. This congested hodgepodge of commercial sprawl has burst forth with no coordination among Durham, Chapel Hill or Orange County, despite the obvious shared interest.

Barnett cited the Triangle J Council of Governments as a sole example of mild coordination. He is too kind. The Triangle J never has had the authority to help guide development in a meaningful way. It is vastly ineffective, not because of the well-intentioned people but because its charter has no teeth.

Until top leaders reach across boundaries to work together, the fast-growing, nationally famous Triangle will continue to sprout like a field of mushrooms after a summer rain.

George Lawrence