Citizen Action for Responsible Roads-- NC

See our policy statement at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SaneRoads

Name:
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Chapel Hill mayoral and council candidates
respond to transportation e-forum


Chapel Hill, October 11, 2005: All current Chapel Hill mayoral and council candidates have responded to a transportation survey conducted by Citizen Action for Responsible Roads (CARR). Candidates responded to eight questions that involve town transportation policy.
The questions are:

1. Explain why you support or oppose keeping Carolina North's automobile traffic off of Weaver Dairy Road, Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, and/or I-40.

2. Where should automobile entrances to Carolina North be located?

3. Describe why you support or oppose an automobile connector road between Larkspur and Eubanks Road.

4. What is your opinion of council's decision not to expand Weaver Dairy Road?

5. What's your philosophy in deciding where future regional transportation corridors should be located?

6. What's your position on UNC's plan to put 17,000 parking spaces at Carolina North?

7. What action should council take should NCDOT continue to drag out the improvements that have been approved for S. Columbia Street?

8. What kind of improvements are needed for Estes Drive Extension?

Both mayoral candidates responded, although only one provided answers. CARR asked candidates to adhere to a 150-word limit, and some did not. While responses were not edited for electronic distribution, printed versions will adhere to the suggested limits. Mayoral candidate responses are listed first followed by the answers of council candidates. Responses are listed in alphabetical order (as listed by the Orange County Board of Elections). Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to use these answers in your research as you make your decision.

CARR's goal is to increase voter awareness about transportation issues. CARR does not endorse candidates.




Citizen Action for Responsible Roads
2005 transportation e-forum



1. Explain why you support or oppose keeping Carolina North’s automobile traffic off of Weaver Dairy Road, Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, and/or I-40.

[Kevin Foy]
How we get around Chapel Hill has the greatest impact on how this community will function in the future. If we follow the post-World War II model of more and wider roads to accommodate single-occupancy vehicles, then we will destroy the town. We need to have different ways to accommodate greater numbers of people moving around town. So I don’t support more cars on our roads because eventually that leads to the destruction of our town.

[Kevin Wolff]
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your questions. I am sorry but I will need to decline at this time due to other commitments. Further, I am still in the process of learning about these issues and as of yet have not formed an opinion or position on them.

[Jason Baker]
Carolina North entrances should preferably be placed on existing primary traffic corridors. MLK Boulevard should receive most, if not all, of the traffic, whether directly or via Estes Drive Extension. I would defer to the recommendations of a thorough transit study. To my knowledge, no studies have been done which incorporate a responsible number of daily automobile trips (which would be far fewer than the 17,000 parking space estimate would imply).

[Robin Cutson]
Carolina North is being planned as a mixed use (primarily biotech) research park with faculty/staff housing. And at the scale proposed there will be an increase in traffic on all of these roads. Even with public transit buses. Even with light rail. Because the people who LIVE in the housing at Carolina North are not just going to go from their homes to work or to the main campus and then back home again like little worker ants. They will drive to Southpoint to shop—to Durham and Raleigh to visit friends or just for a change—to RTP and Duke for collaborations on research . . .and so on and so on. The people who WORK at Carolina North at the “start-up” “incubator” research companies and businesses will do the same. And many who work at Carolina North will choose NOT to live at Carolina North or even in Chapel Hill—they will migrate to neighboring Counties for bigger houses for less money and lower taxes—or for more land and more privacy. And they WILL DRIVE on ALL of the above roads because these ARE the main ROADS. If you slap a development the size of Hillsborough down in the middle of Chapel Hill you can count on more traffic (and noise).

The real solution? Lobby at the State level to REIN IN THE SCALE OF DEVELOPMENT. And there are two excellent reasons to do so—keep reading.

[Laurin Easthom]
I oppose Carolina North’s quantity of projected traffic in general. The amount of traffic on any of these roads is unacceptable with 17,000 proposed parking spaces. Weaver Dairy Road in particular serves predominantly residential neighborhoods. Given the proximity of Weaver Dairy and its Extension to I-40 it is far better to keep cars on highways such as I-40 than divert them through residential roads or thoroughfares. A particularly egregious example of this is diverting northbound 15-501-traffic via Weaver Dairy to Carolina North. The traffic that is generated from Carolina North should be kept on state highway-86 (MLK/Historic Airport Road) to get to I-40. Most commuters will likely be arriving at Carolina North from I-40. Ideally, ample Park n Ride facilities along the I-40 corridor should be used to keep cars out of Chapel Hill. Carolina North should be designed such that the automobile is not the primary mode of transportation.


[Ed Harrison]
First, legally, these are all state roads (in the case of I-40, federal), and a local government can’t keep traffic off them. Having said that, the Town Council should be able to affect the number of auto trips generated by CN, and where they are distributed.

Unlike the UNC Board of Trustees, I don’t see the roads next to or approaching CN as having a whole lot of space for new car trips. My response to the UNC Trustee who lobbied me to support his board’s vision of Carolina North “to be competitive with Duke and NC State” was: And where are your three freeway interchanges next to the campus? Carolina North is profoundly different from those (and from RTP) in that all automobile access, especially from out of town, would use roads already carrying significant local traffic, some passing through fully-developed neighborhoods.

My particular analysis focuses on MLKJB.
Based on the most recent Mobility Report Card (MRC) done for the town, MLKJB has “numerical” capacity, but only for cars, in my analysis – and barely that. Level of Service E capacity just north of the Estes Drive intersection is 37200 motor vehicle trips per day. The most recent MRC shows a jump (2001 to 2003) from 31000 to 32600 trips a day. At those percentage increases, the road is over LOS E capacity by 2008. The standard description of “driver comfort” for LOS E is “extremely poor” with anything worse being “the lowest.”

And none of this is taking into account the four major bus routes using MLKJB daily, with every passenger needing to cross the road at least once a day, or the hundreds of bicycle commuters (including this one).

I-40 does make sense as a transit corridor providing access for regional bus trips to CN. A combination of HOV lanes with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), converting to Bus Mixed Traffic mode (with signal preference given to buses) on MLKJB, would be a reasonable use for travel to CN from outside CH. However, changing the whole concept of CN to have far more employee housing would relieve much of the projected burden on both I-40 and our in-town roads.


[Mark Kleinschmidt]
I do not support the use of Weaver Dairy Rd as a primary access route to Carolina North. I believe the best transportation vision for Carolina North should use existing primary transportation corridors like I-40. I also envision the use of an alternative transportation technology to be used along transit corridors within the Town limits. The Town has worked diligently over the last several years to make such alternatives, like bus rapid transit, work on MLK and regional rail to operate in the I-40 corridor. Transportation issues will certainly be one of the primary areas of concern for the Town during the negotiations surrounding CN development. We must make sure that the solutions don’t thrust inappropriate transportation technologies into our existing neighborhoods.

[Will Raymond]
Both as a citizen and as a candidate, I've stated that our world-class university is quite capable of creating a world-class design for Carolina North. The current design, I believe, falls way short of that goal. One example is the car-centric nature of the new campus. I've asked for a rethink and challenged the current UNC administration to rework the design starting with zero cars. I know that we won't achieve that goal (though it would be fantastic) but believe if you start at zero and miserly work up, you'll get a better result than starting with 17,000 parking spots and negotiating down. Weaver Dairy Rd. functions as a sink and source for traffic flows in and out of the current designs for Carolina North at levels way beyond reason. I think, as others, an approach that utilizes the railroad corridor from North of I-40 (at the Mt. Sinai intersection) for access into Carolina North could be quite successful in limiting flows through Weaver Dairy, Weaver Dairy Extension and Martin Luther Kind Blvd. If we can get a design that vastly reduces the number of cars on Carolina North, coupled with access via the railroad corridor and innovative usage of the current Park-n-Rides/bus system, I think we can reduce the traffic flows to a reasonable level. On a personal note, I live on Mt. Bolus Rd. My wife and I kid, somewhat darkly, that we'll never be able to make a left turn onto our road ever again after Carolina North is developed. I have every interest, both as a representative of the citizenry and myself, to collaborate with UNC on reducing traffic flows.

[Bill Thorpe]
The Chapel Hill Transit Master Plan needs to come out before any specific decisions can be made. I completely agree with the Horace Williams Citizens Advisory Committee that this project needs to be on the leading edge of transit friendly development. That means not allowing the existing road infrastructure to become overcongested. We should push alternatives to single occupancy vehicles that congest our roads and pollute our air. We need to maximize the amount of affordable housing at Carolina North so that people can live where they work. We need to work toward creative mass transportation solutions to get folks to work at Carolina North. I will do everything possible as a Council member to minimize the impact it has on area roads.




2. Where should automobile entrances to Carolina North be located?

[Kevin Foy]
Off MLK Jr. Blvd and off Estes Drive.

[Kevin Wolff]
No answer. See answer to question 1.

[Jason Baker]
[See answer to question 1.]

[Robin Cutson]
Okay, here we go, let’s stop talking about traffic issues with Carolina North and get down to brass tacks. Because the constant focus on traffic issues is pretty much like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The fact of the matter is the scale of Carolina North needs to be scaled back for TWO very important basic reasons.

1.) WE DON’T HAVE THE WATER AND WE ARE GOING TO FURTHER IMPAIR OUR WATERWAYS
In 2002 the Chapel Hill News reported that water consumption in our area was outstripping supplies and that UNC consumes about 30% of all of water supplied by OWASA. And since UNC is poised to begin an additional 5 to 8 million square feet of development for Carolina North with numerous biotech research labs as well as housing that have higher water need than classrooms used for teaching, UNC will be consuming even a greater amount of local water supplies. Increased high density residential development and infilling in Chapel Hill will also increase water use further stressing local water supplies.

Currently, because our area is developing and overpopulating beyond our water supply capacity OWASA is engaged in an aggressive campaign to stretch shrinking water supplies.

In order to stretch water supplies OWASA has in place permanent year-round water use restrictions on businesses and individual customers. Any citizen who violates mandatory water restrictions will face a hefty fine. And in 2002 The Chapel Hill News reported that OWASA’s board of directors also granted authority to its staff to cut off water supply to any customers who repeatedly violate water restrictions. (The Chapel Hill News July 14, 2002).

In order to stretch the shrinking water supplies OWASA sought and received State approval to add process water back into the water treated and then used for drinking and bathing (The Blue Thumb April 2005). Process water is water that is used “to carry solid particles that are separated from water during treatment processes and to periodically wash the filters.” The State currently limits the amount of process water that can be added back in to drinking water supplies to 10% of the raw water used. Of course, this could change as water becomes even more scarce.

In order to stretch shrinking water supplies, OWASA has agreed to implement a new program where they will provide UNC with reclaimed water (highly treated wastewater not safe for drinking or bathing) for uses such as irrigation and chiller plants. Reclaimed water is sold at a cheaper price than regular water. OWASA has stated that no costs of the reclaimed water project will be passed onto residential and business customers. But OWASA’s Feb. 2004 newsletter stated, “However, since reuse will result in reduced demand for drinking water, system revenues will also drop. To offset that drop, OWASA may have to increase water rates to all customers.” This means that individuals and businesses will have to pay higher prices to make up for the loss of revenue OWASA incurs by selling UNC the cheaper water. And just recently it was reported that OWASA water and sewage rates would increase this year.
Possible Rolling Water Outages
And in May, 2005 the Chapel Hill News reported that out of concern for dwindling water supplies OWASA’s new strategy of water conservation would involve “limiting how many millions of gallons of water the agency will provide per day.”

Does this mean sometime in the future citizens could be subject to periods of water “outages” similar to the rolling brownouts of electricity suffered by California citizens during the Enron debacle? I asked this question of Mark Marcoplos, Chair of the OWASA board and he responded that this was indeed a possibility.

On Orange Politics Mr. Marcoplos once again confirmed this possibility but stated, “I said that this could happen in an extreme situation where we might experience a more prolonged drought or series of droughts than the 2001-2002 drought.” But what Mr. Marcoplos didn’t address is the fact that future water shortages can stem from prolonged droughts OR from increased usage due to more high density development. The fact of the matter is that Carolina North at the scale proposed may not be viable simply because of water supply issues and cost.

Obviously, placing a development the size of Hillsborough in the middle of Chapel Hill is bound to have a severe impact on water supplies and COSTS. We need to know what the projections are for water consumption after Carolina North is built even taking into account the reclaimed water project.

WHAT ABOUT ADDITIONAL WATER SOURCES?
May 1, 2005, The Chapel Hill News reported that at the current rate of water use and anticipated growth, OWASA would have to go beyond University Lake and Cane Creek Reservoir by about 2025, about 10 years before OWASA expects to draw water from the Stone Quarry. This is why the strategy was implemented to limit how many millions of gallons of water the agency will provide per day.
It should also be remembered that the existing stone quarry, proposed quarry extension and Stone Quarry Reservoir site are within the University Lake watershed, but the quarry/reservoir itself receives rain water that drains from a very small area around it. Almost all of the water in the extended Quarry Reservoir would come from water pumped from Cane Creek Reservoir and/or University Lake when they are overflowing.
This means if there is no overflow because the Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake are low, there will be little water supply available in the new extended quarry.
Tapping into Jordan Lake and piping water is an option should we deplete our own water supply but it would be very expensive; and Jordan Lake is also experiencing problems.
May 9, 2005, the News & Observer reported that Jordan Lake lies downstream from some of the fastest-developing land in the state. It was also reported that, “Excessive algae prompted the federal government to add the shallow upper reaches of the lake to its list of dirty waterways in 2002, and nearly all of the lake will be added next year. Algae fouls the water and can kill fish and give tap water an off-taste. In summer, algae produces so much oxygen on Roberson Creek, a tributary, that the water bubbles.”
In short, we not be able to depend on additional water sources if the density and scale of Carolina North (as it is currently proposed) stresses our local water supplies.
UNC and IMPAIRMENT OF WATERWAYS
A 2003 report by the N.C. Division of Water Quality reported that Little Creek and its tributaries Bolin and Booker Creeks were classified as impaired. 63% of the study area was located in Chapel Hill. Stormwater retrofits were recommended at an estimated cost of at least $1 million per square mile with the most densely populated areas considered priority. The list included “portions of the UNC campus.”
2.) THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA CAN’T AFFORD UNC’s EXPANSION AND IT WILL NOT BE AN “ENGINE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH” BUT A CONTINUAL DRAIN ON OUR ALREADY STRESSED STATE BUDGET

Not an Engine of Economic Growth:
A 2000 report by the National Science Board revealed that since 1994 money spent on research and development in the U.S. has risen sharply from $169.2 billion to an estimated $264.6 billion in 2000. But this outpouring of money may not be generating results. Economist Arthur Rolnick, director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis says the costs of state universities promoting commercially oriented research is high and the benefits are low and it “can compromise the long-run vitality of the state’s economy ((Business Week, Sept. 7, 2001, “Sound Money” by Chistopher Farrell).

In a June 2001 paper by Sol. S. Shalit, Prof. Emeritus of Economics and Finance of the University of Wisconsin, entitled, “The University’s rationale for growth does not stand scrutiny,” he states that in justifying their growth and expenditures by increased jobs or economic health to an area they omit to detail the costs such the as loss of taxable property from the tax base, the loss diversity of other for profit business that pay taxes and the cost to the taxpayers in increasing taxes to fund their increasing need for more money. (This is a must read paper for all those interested in this issue).

Universities pursuing public/private research are mostly dependent on federal tax dollars funneled to them from the National Institute of Health (NIH). And our National government is running one of the biggest deficits in history—and the Katrina disaster is only going to worsen the situation---and the NIH money is dwindling. From 1999 to 2003, the National Institutes of Health doubled their research budget and during that same time, the amount of NIH-funded research awarded to UNC increased from $149 million to $271 million (an increase of about 82% or 13%/yr). From 2003 to 2004, UNC-CH’s NIH-funded research increased about 6.9% to $290 million. This slowdown coincided with the slowdown in NIH budget increases by congress. In FY 2005, the NIH budget increase was only 2% (well below the 3.5% inflation increase associated with scientific research). Thus far this year, the House has approved only a 0.5% increase in the NIH budget for FY 2006.

So Universities are stepping up the search for private “venture capital investors” to fund their research. The problem? This is drying up as well. Why? Due to tight budgets as well as competition. Just about every town, city, county and University in every state has established some form of research park hoping to attract money and start-ups—especially in pharmaceuticals and biotech.

So how’s North Carolina faring in the competition game? Well, consider this. . .

On March 30, 2005, in an article entitled “Triangle will make pitch to California Businesses” The Chapel Hill News reported that a coalition of Triangle executives and politicians would be traveling to Calif. to try to convince venture capitalists in Silicon Valley to invest in N.C. local startups and to relocate Calif. businesses here. Why are they taking the show on the road? Because the amount of venture capital flowing into our area “slowed to a trickle last year.” The task of wooing out of state investors falls to N.C. Treasurer Richard Moore—“as overseer of state pensions he controls about $65 billion in assets.” “That’s enticing to venture capitalists, who rely on people such as Moore for the cash they need to invest in startups. Moore is allowed by law to invest about $3.25 billion of pension assets in private equity. Currently one billion has been invested.” Yep, this looks promising—we are so desperate for venture capital investment that we are using money from the State pension fund to try to lure investors to come to North Carolina. . .
JUST A FEW MORE FACTORS TO CONSIDER:
Many financial experts are cautioning that biotech will NOT be the great economic boom of the future. Why? Because they are pulling drugs off the market due to health risks just about as fast as they are putting them on the market. And because the lawsuits stemming from people who die or suffer debilitating health problems from dangerous drugs is also going to be a factor. And because biotech’s push into genetically modified crops and trees is poised to become a health and environmental disaster.
Also people are angry about the high costs of drugs. In the past private biotech and pharmaceutical firms claimed they had to charge high prices for new drugs and medicine because of the high cost of research and development. But increasingly this research and development is being conducted by universities entering into public/private deals with private companies—which means the research and development is being funded more with citizens’ federal and state tax dollars----BUT THE PRICE OF THE DRUGS HASN’T DROPPED. Since citizens are now funding the research and development they expect cheaper drugs.
WE CAN’T AFFORD THE CONTINUAL COSTS OF REPAIR AND UPKEEP FOR THE BUILDINGS UNC ALREADY HAS—MUCH LESS THOSE PROPOSED AT CAROLINA NORTH
The cost will be prohibitive to all state taxpayers. The taxpayers of North Carolina will simply not be able to afford the ongoing maintenance and repair costs of a development of this size. In 2000 voters passed the largest bond package in history to grant money for UNC ($500 million) to engage in a 2.9 million square foot expansion plan and to repair crumbling buildings. After the bond passed UNC doubled its expansion plans and each and every year has requested and received millions more to repair and maintain buildings—and today UNC claims they still have a $269 million dollar backlog of repairs for which they lack funding. How in the world will taxpayers across the state be able to afford the continual tax increases that will be necessary to keep up with UNC’s ongoing costs of repairs for not only the main campus but a new development that will be close to the size of Hillsborough?
And UNC’s continual expansion and requests for money are hurting children across the state. North Carolina ranks 3rd in the nation in per capita funding for higher education (50-state study North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research) and 38th in the nation in per pupil spending for children in grades 1 through 12. (Figures from NEA 2000-2001).

Salaries for teachers in North Carolina are among the lowest in the nation. In our public schools N.C. ranks 48th in the nation for what we pay teachers with a bachelor’s degree and 49th in the nation for teachers with a master’s degree. (Figures from NEA 2000-2001). But the average salary for full-time faculty at North Carolina’s four-year public universities is the ninth highest in the nation. (N.C. center for public policy research).

North Carolina ranks 6th among all states in the amount of money spent funding public universities and community colleges with appropriations (taxpayers’ money) totaling $2.3 billion per year. North Carolina has the 10th highest percentage of public institutions for higher education in the country (Governance and Coordination of Public Higher Education in All 50 States by The N.C. Center for Public Policy Research). In spite of this, North Carolina has a low percentage of high school students who attend college immediately after high school and only a “small percentage of North Carolina residents have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, a very small proportion of adults in the state perform on national assessments of high-level literacy.” The National Center for Public Policy Research and Higher Education gave North Carolina a “D” for residents’ participation in higher education and a “D+” in benefits the state receives for its higher education programs. (Measuring Up 2000: The State-by-State Report Card for Higher Education by The National Center for Public Policy Research and Higher Education). Data from the N.C. Department of Commerce revealed that in the year 2000, N.C. ranked 46th in the nation for the number of high school graduates. N.C. ranked number 33 among the states for the number of college graduates for the year 2000.

A FEW MORE THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Locally our fire department has been under funded for years and is still under funded. And UNC does not contribute their fair share towards fire. This will only become worse as UNC keeps expanding. Oh, and UNC doesn’t pay the stormwater utility fee or any towards our County EMS service. The bigger UNC gets—the more all citizens will have to pay in taxes to cover UNC’s share.

[Laurin Easthom]
The preferred orientation should be off of highway-86/MLK (historic Airport Road) with a dedicated area for buses and commuters to pull off of this road and into the Carolina North development to not create backups. I oppose an entrance at Homestead Road because this would “develop” the northern and most environmentally sensitive portion of this land and create a traffic funnel onto Weaver Dairy. The proposed north/south road is another highway in the making, and does not need to funnel traffic through dense neighborhoods via Homestead.


[Ed Harrison]
I am willing to discuss specifics, but I don’t plan to commit myself to anything specific, because it’s sort of early to make that determination, which should be decided after a rational and lengthy environmental and engineering analysis. Front and center in the environmental analysis should be the long-term impact on our neighborhoods.

We need to keep in mind that the same entrances would – and should be primarily used – by CH Transit, which some now in office (Kevin Foy and me, for example) believe should be the major, possibly the only, transit provider to CN. As I said above, BRT changing to BMT could move a significant number of trips to CN, and would be a less frequent and more “productive’’ mode of motor vehicle trip to the campus.

I believe that a large number of entrances would reduce the quantity of trips using each one. This is based on the theory of “dispersed use” which I learned years ago when planning hiking trails into nature preserves.

Having said that, every automobile entrance to CN adds trips where they do not currently occur. Again, if dispersed, the impact on individual roads and intersections could be less. However, the cumulative impact rippling back to I-40 could well be the same, no matter the dispersion. That argues for the rational and lengthy environmental and engineering analysis I mention above.

In terms of specific entrances, much of what could happen would depend on DOT and its role in controlling its roads (MLKJB, Homestead, Estes, Seawell School,for starters). Based on the experience in my immediate neighborhood – across the road from our street – every developer who applies for a driveway permit, or “break in access” – for the side of a state road, is confronted with a policy of DOT which has the strongest possible preference for new drives to line up with existing intersections. This permit process is enforced through the District component of the relevant DOT Division.

In the case of CN, this would suggest that new entrances likely to approved by DOT would include a continuation of Weaver Dairy Road Extension, the largest road perpendicular to the tract boundary. UNC’s concept plan includes a major re-alignment of Estes Drive Extension – something that should be prohibited without amendment of the area’s transportation plan (adopted on a route-by-route basis in January 2002) by the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Transportation Advisory Committee (DCHCTAC). I can’t support that amendment until I know what it does to the Estes intersection with MLKJB – and what I think I know is that it would push a problematic intersection way beyond safe capacity.

[Mark Kleinschmidt]
Along the existing primary automobile transit corridor, Martin Luther King Blvd. But it is vital that we encourage a transit oriented design for CN to ensure that the impact on MLK and Estes doesn’t overwhelm the capacity of the roads and the neighbors of CN

[Will Raymond]
Following up on what I've already said about utilizing the railroad corridor and reducing the automobile "footprint" on Carolina North, I believe we need to challenge UNC's design as far as the current entrances. Obviously, Weaver Dairy Extension will serve as a main conduit into Carolina North (as it's currently designed). Flows into WDR Extension will obviously come from I40 and WDR itself, which is quite troubling. The problem is that UNC is changing the design and so I can't currently speculate on the best solution to that problem but I will say that any decision on the northern entrance must account for traffic on those roads. One last comment on the entrancing to Carolina North. If the Carolina North worker demographics are like those of main campus, it seems like the focus for UNC should be on how to handle traffic from the Alamance and Chatham sides of Carolina North in a novel fashion instead of from Estes Dr. Extension and WDR Extension/Homestead.

[Bill Thorpe]
We need to make sure that the automobile entrances to Carolina North are located in places where they have the smallest impact possible on neighborhoods. This is imperative for the safety of our citizens, particularly our children. I do not want traffic running through Timberlyne, Silver Creek, Northwood, Parkside, Vineyard Square and other neighborhoods near the Horace Williams property into Carolina North.


3. Describe why you support or oppose an automobile connector road between Larkspur and Eubanks Road.

[Kevin Foy]
I am not going to answer this question directly because I have not yet made up my mind. However, as a general matter, we have to balance the concern people have for high volumes and speeds of traffic going through their neighborhood, on the one hand, with connections that make it easier for neighbors to know each other and easier for the town to provide services (bus, garbage collection), on the other hand.

[Kevin Wolff]
No answer. See answer to question 1.

[Jason Baker]
I oppose an automobile connector between Larkspur and Eubanks based on the information presented at this time. I generally support adding connectivity in our town, but I feel that the sort of connectivity we need to be encouraging in Chapel Hill would be more adequately suited to foot and bicycle travel, not a new road. There is no adequate justification for adding a connector here. Emergency vehicles would have access to a Greenways connection. Public transit would be served just as well by moving an existing bus stop a few hundred feet. There would be no added benefit in terms of reduced travel times for people in this neighborhood. The only cause a connector would serve is to offload traffic from main arteries through a residential neighborhood, which in my opinion is an awful purpose for constructing roads.

[Robin Cutson]
I oppose this connector road because you don’t put in connector roads in nice quiet neighborhoods with lots of children to try and relieve the traffic on main roads or to facilitate the movement of public transit buses. And this is the only reason for this connector road—it’s not for “neighborhood and people connectivity” because we all know that this could be accomplished with a pedestrian/bike path connector. It’s not to facilitate emergency vehicles because this could be accomplished with a limited emergency vehicle access. It’s not for the school buses because the schools have already said this isn’t a problem. The road was designed as a local road not a collector road so it isn’t even suited to the increase in traffic from a connector road. And, of course, the permit granted by the Town evidently forgot to adequately specify the signage about the future connector road so the people who bought homes in this neighborhood didn’t even know the connector road was planned. If Chapel Hill wants to drive families out of Chapel Hill then by all means put in the connector road----make everyone angry, place their children at risk, ruin their quality of life and send them looking for housing outside of Chapel Hill.
IF WE REALLY WANT TO SOLVE OUR TRAFFIC PROBLEMS , HERE’S A NOVEL IDEA----START REINING IN DEVELOPMENT BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE THE WATER TO ACCOMMODATE IT ANYWAY WITHOUT FURTHER IMPAIRMENT OF WATERWAYS: ESCALATING WATER AND SEWAGE COSTS: AND POSSIBLE WATER SHORTAGES. And guess what—the plan to ship all the garbage from our increased high density development is going to be a problem. Our landfill in Orange County is expected to be full by 2010 and the county commissioners have said no more landfills will be built in the county. And the plan is to ship our garbage to Alamance County. But I have spoken to several politically connected people in Alamance County and they DON’T WANT CHAPEL HILL’S GARBAGE. And they have stated they will vote out any elected official who agrees to it. So if we just keep on the “high density development path,” we are going to face astronomical costs for water and sewage and garbage disposal as we are forced to shop around and pay high prices for other areas to “support” our high density growth. And you know what else is really ironic—since Chapel Hill has a reputation of being elitist because certain elected officials and committee members have either blatantly insulted other areas (such as Cary) or have continually spouted off about Chapel Hill “values” as if neighboring Towns and Counties are somehow spiritually or morally lacking—then they don’t have warm fuzzy feelings about us anyway—so why should they gladly take our trash?

[Laurin Easthom]
I would oppose a connector road because this connection would not be necessary for public transit or school buses. It would serve only as a road that satisfies some vague philosophy of connectivity for automobile commuters (not people). Neighborhood roads should not be used to “relieve stress off the arterials.” According to Phil Post representing Chapel Watch Village, the Larkspur roads were not even designed for the amount of traffic that could occur between Carolina North and the Town operations center in Larkspur. People should connect with people on bikes and by walking, not by flying by each other in cars. This road would generate more traffic than the traffic consultant’s report suggests. I do not agree in placing traffic calming devices to appease the neighbors at taxpayer expense when a far better approach is not building the auto-road in the first place. Public transit can use Weaver Dairy Extension and can use Eubanks to Rogers Road and still satisfy the ¼ mile rule for serving almost all residents in Larkspur and Chapel Watch Village with public transit. I fully support connectivity of people by connecting bike-lanes and pedestrian trails, which the residents of Larkspur also favor.

[Ed Harrison]
I will say, first, that the progressive community in CH may be all over the map on this one. As an incumbent trying to stay on Council, I have to defer to the Town Attorney’s advice that I can’t state a “fixed opinion” on this issue, which is a detail in an active application for a Special Use Permit.

However, my past consideration of connector road issues has centered on the kind of connectivity which has mattered to me the longest: pedestrian, and particularly, bicycle connectivity. Until the ago of 26, those were the only transportation connectivities which mattered to me, because I didn’ t drive or have a car. Anyone using foot or pedal power is concerned with keeping connecting distances short, because your body is the accelerator pedal and the motor. I’ve spent many years advocating, and in some cases professionally planning, non-automobile connections in North Carolina locatities. So
I believe that the highest and best connectivity is for people – on foot, with strollers, on bicycles, on scooters, on skateboards – not motor vehicles. I will always consider the geographic context of the potential connector, as well as the history of the neighborhood in relation to it.

As the Larkspur neighborhood has made aware through the persistent research of Amy Chute, my two previous votes on connector road issues were part of a Council majority each time to deny “full vehicular access” connections recommended by the Town Manager. One was for the Larkspur case itself, denying a connection to the (engineering) sub-standard roads of Northwood, a lovely neighborhood whose roads were built to obsolete County standards many years ago. The contextual basis there was the inability of Northwood’s roads to physically sustain anything but traffic from the neighborhood itself. The other was in Wilson Assemblage case, again to deny “full vehicular access” connections recommended by the Town Manager, requiring instead a 12-foot wide pavement with emergency access bollards. In that case, the contextual basis was the very heavy traffic on Erwin Road which many of us saw as probable users of Erwin Village’s small, quiet main street.

Having said this, I view the primary benefit of having a road connection for FVA in this location as maximizing the “looping” potential for bus trips, both CH Transit and the CH-C School District. The loops involved would be larger than the scale of the Larkspur neighborhood. Larkspur’s Safety Community has presented an alternative routing for CHT using a very short street connector to Weaver Dairy Road Extension, which is awaiting bus service.

[Mark Kleinschmidt]
The question of whether such a connection should be made is currently the subject, at least in part, of a currently pending Special Use Permit. I, along with the rest of the Council, will make the decision after all of the evidence is in at the close of the public hearing on Chapel Watch Village development. That said, I generally support connector roads in our community. I believe that when there are multiple points of entry into our road network, congestion becomes less of a problem and all roads are safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. For the connection to actually accomplish this purpose though, the roads need to be built to appropriate standards – i.e. appropriate widths with sidewalks and bicycle facilities. At this time I have not formed a firm opinion about the necessity for the Larkspur – Eubanks connector. I am anxious to learn answers to the questions raised during the recent concept review.

[Will Raymond]
I support, in general, neighborhood connectivity, whether through emergency service/pedestrian cut-throughs or actual roads. I don't support connectivity for connectivity's sake. The residents of the Larkspur neighborhood have presented an excellent case for why a connector, in their very specific case, is a bad idea. The slogan for my campaign is "Tapping into Chapel Hill's talent, innovation and creativity." Our community is blessed with an abundance of expertise. Through my own advocacies, I know that just because you're a doctor, for instance, there's no reason you cannot make a more than competent analysis of a traffic decision. The Larkspurians got this decision right. One last comment. Late in the process (at least as it appears to me), the idea was floated that a bus should be routed through Larkspur. I think it makes much better sense to route a bus around to Rogers Rd. and loop around which will essentially provide two services, the long awaited service to the Rogers Rd. community and the new service to Chapel Watch/Larkspur in an efficient and sustainable manner.

[Bill Thorpe]
I oppose an automobile connector road between Larkspur and Eubanks roads. If this road was built it would result in cars traveling too fast through a neighborhood teeming with small children. It is a serious safety hazard. Neighborhood streets should not be used to alleviate traffic on major thoroughfares like MLK Boulevard.

Furthermore since almost 100% of Larkspur residents are opposed to this road, I think that as an elected official I would have some obligation to respect the wishes of my constituents in making decisions that affect their neighborhoods.
I generally believe in connectivity, but why do we need to focus on providing connections for high speeding cars? Let’s use this as an opportunity to push more bicycle and pedestrian traffic.


4. What is your opinion of council’s decision not to expand Weaver Dairy Road?

[Kevin Foy]
It’s the right decision, and it sets a good example.

[Kevin Wolff]
No answer. See answer to question 1.

[Jason Baker]
I support keeping Weaver Dairy Road its current width. I do not think that the growth I would expect Chapel Hill to recieve in the near future in this part of town to justify a widening.

[Robin Cutson]
Once again, sounds great—AS LONG AS WE SCALE BACK CAROLINA NORTH. Because even with bike paths and sidewalks and public transit people are still going to drive their cars—and if we just keep adding high density development then the traffic congestion will eventually force a widening of this road and other roads in the future.

[Laurin Easthom]
It was the right decision. It was a good example of how the Town can show it can be the best steward of our roads and neighborhoods when negotiating with NCDOT.

[Ed Harrison]
I was part of a growing majority of Council members, starting in early 2002, who voted to roll back the previous Council’s majority vote (split) to ask the state to four-lane WDR. I believe that we had three votes, and by the final one the whole Council voted to oppose the four-laning. By doing so, the Council stated to DOT and to our residents that it opposed roads so big that they divided neighborhoods.

As CARR’s philosophy states: Four-lane roads encourage speeding and imprudent driving and are often inappropriate for use as neighborhood connectors.


What I also did, as soon as I was elected, was to seek a technical basis for opposing a four-lane road. My Internet research on Levels of Service showed that a road with the intersections and likely traffic signals of WDR (as requested by Carol Woods and the WDR Safety Committee, to which I was Council liaison) would need about 2.1 lanes to carry the traffic projected by NCDOT for 2025.

I had already stated opposition to the four-laning of WDR, but the clear technical basis from my research locked me permanently into opposing it.

[Mark Kleinschmidt]
I believe it was the correct decision. I am very proud to have been part the Council work with the community and the DOT to prevent the 4-laning of WDR.

[Will Raymond]
Expanding Weaver Dairy Road would be a mistake.

[Bill Thorpe]
I completely agree with the Council’s decision not to widen Weaver Dairy Road to four lanes. To do so would have been an irresponsible move and if it is by some chance revisited during my time on the Council I will speak strongly against it.



5. What’s your philosophy in deciding where future regional transportation corridors should be located?

[Kevin Foy]
First, they should go where they are already planned (e.g., Meadowmont). Second, they should go on existing rights of way (e.g., MLK Jr. Blvd.). Third, they should not disrupt existing neighborhoods.

[Kevin Wolff]
No answer. See answer to question 1.

[Jason Baker]
Regional transportation corridors in the long term should not be all that different from our existing corridors. I don't believe it's right to uproot existing neighborhoods or to dramatically change the level of traffic (and the corresponding noise, safety, and pollution issues) that existing neighborhoods experience. I would not use eniment domain to claim property for new corridors, and do not feel there is any situation in Chapel Hill where it would be justified. One of the first things I want to do in office is to get a long term study with our regional transit partners in place and going, so that we are no longer sitting around with vague ideas of what we might want to do the in future, but instead have tangible sets of needs and goals for the next fifty years.

[Robin Cutson]
According to the 2005 data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics one of fastest growing job sectors in N.C. is government jobs. Combining local and state employees North Carolina has the highest rate of government employment in the Southeast. We have a bigger government workforce than New Jersey or Massachusetts. This government workforce includes elected officials, economic development corporations employees, arts commissions staff, public works employees, DOT employees, Parks and Rec. employees and transit workers. Can we afford more “regional transportation” in the form of light rail and more Triangle Transit buses and employees? Nope. And the more state and local employees we have the less we can afford to grant adequate pay raises, pensions, health benefits or avoid pay compression.

Oh, and locally we don’t have THE WATER to support the increased density of growth that would be required to make MORE public transit viable. According to Chapel Hill’s 2005 “Long Range Transit Plan Discussion Paper” public transit doesn’t really work until population density reaches 50 to 150 residents and jobs per every 2.5 acres. And this, of course, will NOT WORK BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE THE WATER OR ANYPLACE TO PUT OUR GARBAGE.

[Laurin Easthom]
Any future regional transportation corridors should be on or near existing major roads, and not unnecessarily transverse areas that are surrounded by neighborhoods. Just recently we saw the Town give an opinion on moving a corridor that was located near an elementary school. Having a corridor close to an established neighborhood is bad enough, but near a school is totally unacceptable. Land use planning needs to be done in with consideration of any established corridors. Why have a regional corridor through an area that would not support mass transit? Furthermore, we need to be realistic about what the technology of transit will be on these corridors.

[Ed Harrison]
My overall philosophy is to look at not only regional connectivity but also neighborhood impacts, including the safe use of roads crossing the corridor, of roads possibly in the corridor, and of the technology used for transportation.

My history with this goes back over a decade, as one of the Chapel Hill citizens on TTA’s regional Fixed-Guideway Transit Advisory Committee. In recent days, full media analysis of TTA’s funding struggles has shown what I’ve known for several years, that freight train corporations have repeatedly made it difficult or impossible for new transit operations to share existing rail corridors.

My thinking on this was greatly affected by research I did in 1999 on existing BRT systems within the US – having road-tested the BRT and BMT system in Ottawa, the largest of its type in North America. I picked Pittsburgh, as the largest BRT system funded in the nation. The chief planner expressed amazement that (1) a rail transit system was thinking that it could share tracks with a freight system and (2) that a regional transit system was being proposed as using rail in a corridor which had no train tracks.

The latter came up in our discussion of the US 15-501 transit alternative, intended to connect West Durham and the south side of the UNC main campus. The Pittsburgh planner’s firm belief was that rail could be proposed and implemented easily only on tracks already owned in full by the transit authority – in their case, abandoned city trolley lines.

My viewpoints on siting corridors have been heavily affected in the last two years by the experience of my neighbors and me with the alignment location for the 15-501 line and associated stations.

The location of this corridor has an impact on CH residents because it crosses, and proposes a transit station, Ephesus Church Road, a state road which gives access to a significant number of our residents to I-40 and points east of CH (RTP, Raleigh, the airport).

Durham County has opened a new elementary school on the current alignment, next to the proposed station site. It’s very popular in the immediate area because no elementary school serving Durham County residents (with most of them in Chapel Hill in the immediate area of the school) was any closer than 9 miles away. While popular, the school also represents significant short term impacts on local traffic. They are severe enough that the idea of a park-and-ride lot serving a transit station in almost the same location has now become far less desirable, even with the potential benefits of transit access to west Durham. (CHT provides significant local access to UNC already).

I’ve also been in conversation with people active in Neighbors for Responsible Growth (NRG), in particular Lou Taff of Homestead Village, on the appropriate location and “modal use” for the train track from CN north to Eubanks Road (park and ride lot area) and south to UNC Main Campus.

In that case, it’s not so much the corridor location that’s at issue but what sort of transit technology uses the corridor. NRG presented a position to Town Council on May 9 which supports the use of BRT in the corridor, for six reasons – the first being that “it allows for greater flexibility to meet the needs of future as well as existing ridership.” I agree fully with the NRG position, for the reasons they cite.

I also support only BRT technology in the above-mentioned corridor just east of CH, which connects into CH at the northeast end of Meadowmont.

Another corridor location question which has come to the Council in recent years was whether the UNC end of a connector to Carolina North would approach campus using Cameron Avenue. Most of the corridor at that end would be in the residential Cameron-McCauley Historic District. In 2004, only Bill Strom, Dorothy Verkerk and myself opposed using Cameron Avenue in the region’s Long Range Transit Plan – as it happens, three council members who spent much time growing up as transit users. In the evening’s final vote, I was the council member who voted against the whole plan. A year later, when we proposed Franklin Street as the corridor instead, the vote to oppose using Cameron was 9-0.

The basis for my opposition was the entirely residential (and historic) character of Cameron Avenue, which is the most heavily used bicycle route in Orange and Durham Counties (according to every Mobility Report Card). My support for Franklin Street was based on the Town’s attempt to provide a high level of service to current and future retail development there.

[Mark Kleinschmidt]
I believe the best solutions are to use the existing transportation corridors. As I said above, I am not in favor of thrusting inappropriate transit technologies into existing neighborhoods. At this time I am looking forward to learning more about bus rapid transit and the flexibility it offers. MLK Blvd., Highway 54, and 15-501 appear to be well suited for BRT and such a technology would allow buses to move on and off fixed-guideways as an enhancement to our existing transit system. Use of existing transit corridors like 15-501/Franklin, MLK, and Highway 54 would be more in accord our existing land use plan. I also believe that use of BRT would integrate well with the regional rail program with stations along 54, UNC, and ultimately along the rail corridor entering Chapel Hill from University Station.


[Will Raymond]
My philosophy is to locate those corridors in the most effective areas with the least possible environmental and neighborhood impacts.


[Bill Thorpe]
My philosophy in deciding where future regional transportation corridors should be located is to ensure that we make safety and minimal disruption to quality of life in our residential neighborhoods a top priority. I trust that Bill Strom in his role on the TTA Board will do a good job of advocating for the best interests of Chapel Hill as these are developed, and I will work closely with him to make sure this is the case for my constituents. A lot of hard decisions about how to get people from place to place as the triangle expands are going to have to be made in the next few years, and I intend to take a leading role in making sure they are good for Chapel Hill.


6. What’s your position on UNC’s plan to put 17,000 parking spaces
at Carolina North?



[Kevin Foy]
This is not a sustainable model for the future. Based on what I have seen of the development, that number can be drastically reduced. I hope the transit study will reveal ways that UNC can proceed with Carolina North without the attendant traffic.

[Kevin Wolff]
No answer. See answer to question 1.

[Jason Baker]
17,000 is an extremely high number of parking spaces to begin negotions at. Carolina North is an amazing opportunity for UNC to show the region that they can be a leader in innovative means of alternative transit, and I think that means beginning at zero parking spaces and working up.

Let's see what needs can be met with public transit, either in the form of buses, BRT, or light rail (after a full research study has taken place), communal rental vehicles, and a constructed network of bicycle and foot trails, and then see how much parking is actually necessary. I would like to see an eventual parking ratio much higher than the current campus; perhaps one space to five employees.

[Robin Cutson]
There have been other candidates who state Carolina North should have zero parking. Is this ridiculous? Absolutely. If Carolina North is going to contain housing then it has to have parking. People HAVE TO HAVE CARS AND THEY HAVE TO HAVE A PLACE TO PARK THEM. If they don’t have parking then parking will spill out onto the street and into nearby neighborhoods. THIS IS REALITY. They are going to drive their cars to visit friends and relatives in other towns and other states; to go to the beach; to go shopping (and no they are not going to lug home five bags full of groceries on a bus or a bike). Carolina North is not (I hope) being planned as a prison where we can control all aspects of the residents movements. And the people who work at the park are also going to use their cars because not all who work there will chose to live there—they may prefer the county or Durham or whatever. And there will be trucks making deliveries for the research labs—want them blocking the streets like they do downtown when deliveries are being made? Yep, that’ll work.

And do you really think the “incubator” pharmaceutical administrators and directors are going to bike or use public transit instead of driving their cars? Really?

The real solution? Lobby at the State level to REIN IN THE SCALE OF DEVELOPMENT. And there are two excellent reasons to do so—keep reading.

[Laurin Easthom]
This is an incredibly backward thinking approach to transit, to rely so much on the automobile. If Carolina North is designed truly to be a live/work campus, then those that live there would be less likely to consistently need their cars. If UNC has 1800 residences and plans for 17K parking places, then obviously we are looking at a projected large amount of commuters. There is absolutely no reason to compare Carolina North to Centennial Campus. UNC should do much better. UNC should strive to be the number one university not only from a research point of view, but from the very design of its campus. A more forward-thinking approach cuts the parking spaces down significantly. The ratio should be different at CN then on main campus. Main campus wasn’t designed to house faculty and staff, so realistically Carolina North should have even fewer parking spaces per employee. No undergrads should/will be housed on Carolina North.


[Ed Harrison]
In a word, unacceptable.

I concur with the long list of principles developed by our Horace Williams Citizens Committee (HWCC) for the development of CN. As was the case four years ago when I dealt with this question as a candidate , my primary position continues to be that any development on the HW tract has to deal with “the potentially enormous traffic impacts of build-out.” Now that we’ve seen the first concept for CN approved by the UNC-CH Board of Trustees – the suburban-style corporate research campus with 17,000 parking spaces and very few residential units – the threats of automobile and truck traffic to the many neighborhoods surrounding CN seem especially acute.

The most appealing alternative currently on the table is that presented in recent months by the Village Project, which proposes about four times as much employee housing on CN as do the Trustees. This, of course, could reduce home-to-work trips substantially. As you can tell from elsewhere in this questionnaire, I don’t concur with their support of light rail in the coal train corridor, for the reasons cited by Neighbors for Responsible Growth.

I will also add something which affects my position on CN and its parking: As Jay Brenman posted to CARR on December 13, 2005: “The first question we should ask is why are there so many cars, not where will they all go!”

[Mark Kleinschmidt]
I am very disappointed with UNC’s plan to put 17,000 parking spaces at Carolina North. It astounds me that the new campus would be initially conceived as an automobile centered development. I cannot imagine supporting a development plan for CN that would include 17,000 parking spaces. I am committed to working with the University to develop a new zoning district designed around transit use. This effort will be essential to ensure success of virtually every transit goal we have for our community.


[Will Raymond]
As I stated before, completely unacceptable. It was a smart "business move" for the current UNC administration to start with 17,000 and force the Town to negotiate down. I'm calling for our world-class university to do a world-class design representative of what we've come to expect from UNC. Start with a design challenge of zero cars and work your way up. I think we'll end up with a campus that will serve as a model of sensitive development, a monument worthy of UNC's reputation for innovation and a demonstration of wisely using $1.5 billion of NC taxpayer monies.

[Bill Thorpe]
I strongly disagree with UNC’s push to have 17,000 parking spaces at Carolina North. I’m sure this is the stance most candidates will take, but I want to emphasize that I showed in my previous time on Council a willingness to stand up to UNC on its development goals when I thought they were out of alignment with the quality of life in the neighborhoods affected.

We need to get beyond the reliance on single occupancy vehicles and work on making the Carolina North site as bicycle and pedestrian friendly as possible. We also need to work on possible mass transportation solutions to getting people to the site such as fixed bus guideways to the main campus. Finally, we should have a significant amount of affordable housing at Carolina North so that people live where they work.




7. What action should council take should NCDOT continue to drag out the improvements that have been approved for S. Columbia Street?


[Kevin Foy]
I hope that continued pressure on NCDOT from the town, the university, and the hospital will lead to action on South Columbia Street. We have something of a problem right now, though, since DOT is not funding much of anything in the Triangle.

[Kevin Wolff]
No answer. See answer to question 1.

[Jason Baker]
Unfortunately, there is very little the town can hold over the NCDOT to increase the speed of their actions, but as a council member, I would make this a priority. In addition to asking our town's transportation staff to increase their pressure, if it became necessary I would make daily phone calls to whatever link in the bureaucracy is holding up the project until action were taken.

[Robin Cutson]
I have spoken to several representatives in the General Assembly who have stated that trying to “exert pressure” on NCDOT to have something in their locality taken care of is almost impossible. So who does have clout? You have to follow the money—this means UNC and those in the General Assembly who cater to UNC. And we know that UNC officials had a different “wish list” for this road.

The real solution? Lobby at the State level to REIN IN THE SCALE OF DEVELOPMENT. And there are two excellent reasons to do so—keep reading.


[Laurin Easthom]
Council should place the improvements at the top of its transportation priority list. Additionally, Council’s representatives to the TAC should be forceful in highlighting the safety problems. When the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan is done, the Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Organization should also be informed of the gravity of the situation if something is not done.


[Ed Harrison]
At this point, NCDOT is dragging out the entire TIP for our part of the region, with an eleventh-hour notification on September 30 that they weren’t accepting our version of it. So the delay in our South Columbia Street project – all 400 yards of it, with a few turn lanes, some more pavement for a lot of bicycle commuters, and some sidewalk for a lot of pedestrian commuters – does not seem quite as “directed” at Chapel Hill as it has in the recent past. However, this project has been so important to the Town for so long that I support continued pressure to keep it on the schedule we want. Reiterating this position at the next timely opportunity, would be the next thing to do. I presented the letter for the town to DOT board member Doug Galyon that had signatures from Kevin Foy, Jim Moeser and Bill Roper (or, as I call him, “the reluctant Dr. Roper” for his unpositive statement about the project). I see no point to doing that again.

[Mark Kleinschmidt]
I think we should be more aggressive with NCDOT. We have demonstrated our success with WDR and I think we should build on it. Ultimately, we shouldn’t refrain from seeking legislative assistance to move this project along.

[Will Raymond]
Leverage over NC-DOT must come from our local legislative representatives and from a partnership with the current UNC administration.

[Bill Thorpe]
When I was on Town Council in the 70’s and 80’s we spent tons of time talking about fixing up S. Columbia and here we are in 2005 still talking about it! I think we need Council members who really understand how state government works and can put some pressure on the DOT. Personally I spent much of my career working in Raleigh for various branches of state government and have a good understanding of the inner workings of the bureaucracy. As a retired person who will be a full time Council member I will put a lot of pressure on folks at the DOT to get long promised improvements to S. Columbia and other projects done.


8. What kind of improvements are needed for Estes Drive Extension?

[Kevin Foy]
The Moving Ahead money is a good start. Estes can function just fine with sidewalks and bike lanes.

[Kevin Wolff]
No answer. See answer to question 1.

[Jason Baker]
This would depend largely on the plans for Carolina North, which from my point of view are far from finalized - the current plans simply are not acceptable. South Estes is the closest main road to my apartment, and as someone who commutes almost exclusively via bicycle I feel that the current lack of sidewalks and widened shoulders across the duration of Estes Drive are the biggest safety threat to the road. The roadside trail along N. Estes should be extended if the right-of-way permits, and otherwise I would recommend pedestrian/bicycle accomodations to be the primary consideration of any improvement money spent on this road.

[Robin Cutson]
Road is fine and has already had some improvements from Martin Luther King Jr. to Seawell School. But we need to continue the bike lanes to the end of Estes Dr. Extension and work with Carrboro to continue the bike lanes into Carrboro.

[Laurin Easthom]
Just recently the road had miniature “sidewalks” placed and bikelanes in its eastern portion. However, these are not full size sidewalks, and the western end of Estes Drive Extension needs the same treatment….sidewalks and bike-lanes to have a good connection to Carrboro. Estes Drive Extension does not need added lanes for automobiles. If Estes Drive Ext. is widened with more lanes, there would be pressure to widen the more eastern portion, which would be extremely detrimental to the homes along that particular section.

[Ed Harrison]
The optimum form of EDE itself is the section west of MLKJB, where funds from “Moving Ahead” were spent this past summer to recreate it as a facility with room for both a variety of motor vehicles and for bicycles, along with the occasional pedestrian. So the section west to Seawell School Road has appropriate improvements for our community needs, as far as the road itself is concerned. What it continues to lack is sidewalks, and that is so far a factor of the adjacent land use.

In March 2002, at the public workshop on corridor improvements, DOT brought forth a “three lane” cross-section for EDE. I would support two travel lanes and occasional turn lanes where warranted by projected traffic, but am not to the point of supporting a continuous turn lane. Again, bicycle and pedestrian facilities on the entire route are essential.

[Mark Kleinschmidt]
Sidewalks, and bicycle lanes primarily, but I would also support a third lane along the lines of WDR, if evidence existed to warrant it. Currently, I do not believe existing development would warrant a third lane.

[Will Raymond]
I, like many others, was disappointed that the widened shoulder (which really should be a bike lane) wasn't extended. As an Estes Rd. cyclist, I will work to get a decent lane created all the way to Carrboro.

[Bill Thorpe]
One improvement that Estes Drives Extension most certainly doesn’t need is a widening. The wider shoulders that have been built to Seawell School Road and provide room for bikers are a step in the right direction for decreasing a reliance on car traffic and an increase in cleaner, healthier bicycling. I would work with Carrboro and the DOT to get those improvements made all the way to downtown Carrboro. I think we should work to get sidewalks built on Estes Drive Extension particularly as Carolina North comes closer to fruition so that residents can walk safely along the road if they so choose. These are just a few things that leap out at me as possible improvements. I would be happy to work with CARR if elected on initiatives it would like to see implemented.








Candidates' contact information:

Mayoral candidates:
Kevin Foy kevinfoy@townofchapelhill.org
Kevin A. Wolff Wolfflawoffices@aol.com

Council candidates:
Jason Baker jason@jasonbaker.us http://www.jasonbaker.us
Robin Cutson rcutson@aol.com http://robincutson.com/
Laurin Easthom laurineasthom@hotmail.com http://laurineasthom.com
Ed Harrison ed.harrison@mindspring.com http://www.edharrison.org
Mark Kleinschmidt mark@cdpl.org http://kleinschmidt2005.blogspot.com
Will Raymond campaign@willraymond.org http://willraymond.org/
Bill Thorpe thorpeforcouncil@yahoo.com http://www.billthorpeforchapelhill.com


Additional comments from candidates:

[Robin Cutson]
Some of my answers are longer than 150 words. Sound bites and short answers are easy if you don’t view the big picture and don’t analyze too deeply. Of course, lack of depth may lend itself to short answers but it won’t actually solve any problems.

Is it an impossibility to convince anyone at the state level to rein in UNC? Nope. There are already rumblings about budget problems and UNC’s continual need for money. Representatives at the State level have to answer to their constituents for rising state income and sales taxes and cuts in funding for needed services. We need to work with representatives who are ready and willing to step up.

Oh, and local elected officials do have the authority to place a moratorium on development and growth that could be detrimental to infrastructure and citizens (such as waterways, water supplies and costs) as well as school capacity, fire protection and so on. Is it possible that representatives in the General Assembly could simply attempt to strip the Town of zoning authority again? DOUBTFUL! Why? Because they would have to explain to their constituents across the state why their taxes are up, their services cut and their K-12 schools under funded because they want to sink millions and millions more into UNC and even decided to strip a Town of their zoning authority to do so. Try selling this to residents in Warren County, Jackson County, Robeson County and so on and so on. . . .

[Ed Harrison]
All these questions were answered with this philosophy in mind, as expressed by CARR:
Roads should be responsive to the communities they serve and should not be dictated by developers and the pro-growth lobby. Four-lane roads encourage speeding and imprudent driving and are often inappropriate for use as neighborhood connectors.