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« His cousin the saint | Main | The recovery of 2010 »

Jun 09, 2008

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justcorbly

I haven't ventured far from home base, but it seems to me I'm seeing the same trend over here in the illustrious Triangle. I seldom hit the interstates, but my habit of pegging the cruise control at more or less the speed limit on rural roads isn't generating as many tailgaters as usual.

Curious if folks are making a conscious decision to slow down.

The most important statement in NYT piece is this: "Some are switching jobs for shorter commutes." We live in suburbs because we haven't been concerned about the cost of the gas to fuel our commutes. Now, we're concerned. Who knows how it might shake out, but long-term high fuel prices will change how and where Americans buy houses.

Kim

I don't even want to think about the gas mileage, even if we drive slowly, that we're going to get in a couple of weeks driving to NY while pulling the pop-up and having the bike rack. I really think we'll get to PA, have to take the bikes off the rack, and pedal the rest of the way to NY! :-o

At least, since we'll have our pop-up with us, we won't have to pay to stay at a hotel or anything. That's a plus.

Mad Dog

Ed,

I went to the mountains Friday evening and returned Sunday evening. I can't count the times I was blown off the road and tailgated in the passing lane. I guess they must have been listening to NASCAR because I couldn't tell any difference on I-40 or US 421. Looked like business as usual.

MD

Dave Ribar

Ed:

I made a quick one-night road trip up to Washington, DC for a meeting at the end of last week. My initial observations were similar to yours. On the leg between here and Durham, there were very few cars or trucks going over the speed limit. However, that didn't characterize the rest of the trip, especially along 85 between Durham and Petersburg, VA. I wasn't the only one doing the speed limit, but there were lots of speeders.

Fortunately, my hybrid made the 640 mile round trip on a single tank of gas.

Kim

On the plus side, I drive a bug that gets good mileage. We've been driving the bug most everywhere we go but we have to take the truck when go haul the pop-up. Besides, my husband doesn't fit very well in the bug. He's big. The bug is small.

Roger Greene

Justcorbly wrote, "The most important statement in NYT piece is this: "Some are switching jobs for shorter commutes." We live in suburbs because we haven't been concerned about the cost of the gas to fuel our commutes. Now, we're concerned. Who knows how it might shake out, but long-term high fuel prices will change how and where Americans buy houses."

Now that's a subject near and dear to my heart. Why is the city of Greensboro encouraging such high density development away from the commerce and job centers? Should we really be encouraging high density urban sprawl at a time such as this with rapidly increasing travel/commuting costs?

I too have been slowing down, particularly around town. It seems to help.

David Wharton

RG, Greensboro's comprehensive plan aims for a number of higher-density nodes ("activity centers") that are not at the city center, but have good access to transit. This makes sense: a majority of commuting these days is not the traditional suburb-to-city-center kind, but suburb-to-suburb. The suburbs and exurbs now ARE the job centers. For example, Kernersville now has more people commuting in for work than commuting out.

I think at least one of the Council's recent (and controversial) zoning decisions allowed dense residential development on Friendly Ave., in keeping with the recommendations of the comp plan, though the neighbors were outraged.

It's much harder than most people realize to regulate land use in a rational way, largely because almost everybody is irrational -- or at least inconsistent -- in their approach to the subject. I know lots of people who are for "green" development -- unless than means densifying their own suburban neighborhood.

keith

David,
And you can also thank that rezoning case as the straw that broke the camels back on bringing back Protest Petitions to Greensboro.

David Wharton

My point exactly, Keith.

Roger Greene

David I would agree the Friendly Road Inn property and access to good transit are part of the vision in the Comprehensive Plan, the process by which this was done was still indicative of why we have a problem within the Greensboro body politic. Further, I would offer that the same criteria of access to transit is not met on Horsepen Creek road and is a far greater example of incompatible type development overall as is mentioned in the plan.

keith

Roger the overlay plan for Roy Carroll's gated community on horsepen creek road since it was in a noise cone at 60 dnl was for low residential, so the overlay plan for that area was thrown out the door.

RBM

Anyone want to guess when it'll hit $5/gal ?

I read about this issue a lot. I still don't have a feel for gas prices. The gas supply seems to have it's own dynamics.

I've got 20 weeks of commuting 52 miles R/T to school, to go.

Then with an A.A.S. HVAC/R degree I'm looking to relocate. Central to that decision will be energy costs I incur by virtue of merely being alive on this planet.

David Wharton

Roger, my read on the Horsepen Creek area is that it started out as an attractive place for low-density suburban development, and that the demographics there have attracted a lot of strip commercial development and apartments, which in turn is causing transportation bottlenecks. Is that about right?

I agree that that's not the best way to manage growth, but I don't see a problem with density per se out there, except that it doesn't seem to be the kind of density that allows people easy access to work and services without using their cars.

The city council probably could have required the developers to do a lot toward that end if they had wanted to, but it's not something that Greensboro residents have been clamoring for. Maybe that will change.

keith

this was from october of 2007 on a piece from ed cone:

Sanders who lives on what he describes as the “narrow, heavily and speedily traveled Horse Pen Creek Road” knows the importance of the City Councils vote. "More people have died or been seriously injured on this stretch of road between New Garden and Battleground than any other road in Greensboro over the last 10 years," said Sanders. "What makes it more outrageous is the City Council approved the development of the Portrait Homes plan (on Horse Pen Creek Road) knowing full well of the problems on this street." (www.innovations.harvard.edu/news/65541.html)

David Wharton this is a country road from the beginning of my existence in this area over 38 years ago. Where is the transportation department who rated this road a F and gave Roy Carroll the go ahead. Let's see why he got the go ahead because all you have to do is look at Roy Carroll's Political Action Committee campaign contributions in 2007 here they are.

10/16/2007 DIANE BELLAMY-SMALL
GREENSBORO, NC
Operating Expense CONTRIBUTION Check $1000.00 $1000.00
10/16/2007 ROBBIE PERKINS
GREENSBORO, NC
Operating Expense CONTRIBUTION Check $1000.00 $1000.00
10/16/2007 SANDRA ANDERSON GROAT
GREENSBORO, NC
Operating Expense CONTRIBUTION Check $965.00 $965.00
10/16/2007 TRUDY WADE
GREENSBORO, NC
Operating Expense CONTRIBUTION Check $1000.00 $1000.00
10/16/2007 YVONNE JOHNSON
GREENSBORO, NC
Operating Expense CONTRIBUTIONS Check $1000.00 $1000.00
10/16/2007 ZACK METHENY
GREENSBORO, NC
Operating Expense CONTRIBUTION Check $1000.00 $1000.00

11/01/2007 GOLDIE WELLS
GREENSBORO, NC
Contribution to Candidate or Political Committee CONTRIBUTION NCGL1 Check $1000.00 $1000.00

When are ethics going to ever play a role in Guilford County politics?
This type of activities needs to be exposed for everyone to see where the campaign contributions are going.Roy Carroll could put a hog farm in Old Irving Park and it would get the go ahead from Greensboro City Council.

keith

sorry for the tangent , the drive through gretna is a peaceful drive up 29 north to Falwell Country

David Wharton

Keith, lots of areas control growth like this through impact fees. Here that might have meant that the developers would have been responsible for paying for necessary transportation upgrades ... and maybe wouldn't have done their projects because of that.

TREBIC strongly opposes impact fees.

keith

david,
Impact fees in Guilford County are as likely as me becoming Marlene Sanfords secretary.

Jon Lowder

In San Diego on business this week. Gas prices closer to $5 than $4. Glad I don't have to drive here.

Roger Greene

"Roger, my read on the Horsepen Creek area is that it started out as an attractive place for low-density suburban development, and that the demographics there have attracted a lot of strip commercial development and apartments, which in turn is causing transportation bottlenecks. Is that about right?

I agree that that's not the best way to manage growth, but I don't see a problem with density per se out there, except that it doesn't seem to be the kind of density that allows people easy access to work and services without using their cars."

David, I would have to point to your first sentence as the very definition of urban sprawl. Adding higher density housing does nothing but exacerbate it. Some of the projects there weren't even required to add turn lanes into their communities, much less pay impact fees. The latest Roy Carroll project does have turn lanes added in of his own volition if I remember correctly from accounts of his zoning hearing.

I just don't think you offer a rationale for the city ever to say no to incongruous projects. They're certainly not going to honor the intent of the comprehensive plan if it conflicts even slightly from the wishes of their campaign contributors.

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