Dependable Erection

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday afternoon whingefest

I was saying to Mrs. D the other day that i hadn't indulged myself in a really good whine about the incomprehensibility of some of our local government's actions in quite some time.

So here goes.

I love the landscaping at the Guess Rd. and Hillandale Rd. interchanges of the widened I-85.

There's that lovely brickwork at the ped crossings.

The plantings, daylillies and whatever that fuzzy, red topped grass is called, are also quite attractive, and functional, keeping cars off the median.

In fact, it's so nice, you'd think that the gateway to downtown would be landscaped just as attractively.

Boy, would you be wrong.

According to folks at the NCDOT and the city's Transportation Dep't., the decision to upgrade the landscaping at Guess and Hillandale from the DOT's standard poured concrete was made after members of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) saw just how ugly the interchanges at Roxboro and Avondale turned out. So they spent the extra money, which comes from local government coffers, and not out of the state's highway budget, on the pretty landscaping.


Guess Rd is the gateway to empty service stations and used car lots.

Roxboro St. is the downtown Durham exit from I-85. It's the exit you take if you're going to a Bulls game, or to the new theater, and you're not coming into town on 147. And Roxboro and Avondale both cross the Ellerbe Creek.

You can also get to the largest beaver pond east of the NC mountains right off of Avondale Dr.

On the other hand, there's a hundred thousand square feet of retail space that's sat empty where the K-Mart used to be, and some really depressed property values and empty houses along the stretch of Avondale just south of I-85, which basically functions as the gateway to North East Central Durham.

So i can't figure out why our elected officials wouldn't want to spring for the upgrades to the landscaping for Roxboro and Avondale as well. Is this how we want to welcome visitors to our city:

Wouldn't this be smarter:

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  • At first, I thought you were being facetious about the brickwork and plantings... until you showed the pic of the Roxboro exit. For some reason, I thought that was temporary until I realized that pouring concrete is not considered a temporary fix. Eh.

    For hardscape, yes, let's go for the brickwork. I like the plantings too! That makes a HUGE difference. So why not make a similar decision there at Roxboro?

    By the way, do you know how the plantings are irrigated? It looks like what's there are low maintenance foliage. Not requiring lots of water, but how do they presently stay fresh in appearance? This I ask not to make this a water conservation issue.

    By Anonymous D.E.Visitor, at 10:52 PM  

  • I couldn't agree more on this. I don't understand how the entire landscaping budget was spent on the Guess Rd and Hillandale interchanges and the median of I-85.

    After all. take a look at what was done at the Cole Mill Road interchange when it was completed 10 years ago - nice trees and shrubs. Of course, it is nothing compared to Guess Rd, which even has sidewalks on BOTH sides of the road.

    One note - the "brickwork" in your photo isn't brick. It is stamped concrete with pink dye in it. Looks pretty cool though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:25 AM  

  • I'm pretty sure that's real brick, or at least pavers. I'll go back tomorrow and see if i can dig one out.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 1:47 AM  

  • The fuzzy grass is Muhlenbergia capillaris. It is native from Massachusetts to Texas and requires very little water.

    By Blogger MK, at 10:08 AM  

  • Thanks. Maybe they can plant some on Roxboro and Avondale.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 10:19 AM  

  • Low-maintenance landscaping that requires little water? My God, they did something right. In Durham. What's the world coming to?

    And if that really is stamped & dyed concrete, it might be better than using actual brick pavers. Because, as Barry (perhaps unintentionally) pointed out, it's possible to dig up pavers, or otherwise have them come loose. Not only would that require repair, but a loose brick in the road could be a traffic hazard. Concrete designed to look like brick pavers, on the other hand, is less likely to come loose, so is safer and needs less maintenance. Besides, it looks just as good from a few feet away.

    By Anonymous David McMullen, at 10:44 AM  

  • They're stamped concrete. I have one photo which appears to show several different widths of pavers, which i assumed would not be stamped, but i was wrong.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 12:03 PM  

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