Dependable Erection

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Curb cuts to nowhere - part 2

Erwin Rd and Dobbins Drive, Chapel Hill, NC. This is where NCDOT just spent a whole lot of money redesigning the Erwin Rd. - 15/501 intersection. So if you want to make a left from northbound 15/510 onto Erwin to go into Durham, you have to drive a couple of hundred yards up the road and do that u-turn thing now. But at least someone got a nice new concrete wall out of that deal. Anyway, just up the road, maybe 30-40 yards or so, a little side street called Dobbins crosses Erwin. There's a sidewalk on the west side of Erwin in front of the Marriot Suites. There's a couple of curb cuts over there, but, alas, nothing resembling a cross walk either across Dobbins or Erwin. But on the east side of Erwin, there's this beautiful brick crosswalk that goes, well, nowhere. Except into a foot deep puddle.

Proving, i guess, that NCDOT still doesn't understand the concept of pedestrian connectivity.

Meanwhile, a few blocks up 15/501, at the Scarlett Dr. intersection, we've got some more curbcuts, but no crosswalks or pedestrian signals across a very busy intersection. There's a Lowe's hardware there, and Borders Books, and fast food and the typical highway sideshow. I guess there's no need for a crosswalk or pedestrian signals because no one ever actually walks across the street there.

Oh, sorry.

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  • I don't understand that half-loop at 15-501 and Old Erwin either, but some who've driven the intersection more than I say it's better than what was there before. I say put another mixmaster there, or -- my favorite idea -- a mile-wide traffic circle. :)

    You know, when the 15-501 widening project goes through, it's going to stop at the Orange County line, isn't it? I'm sure if Chapel Hill had its way, they'd crank down 15-501 and Franklin St. to a footpath.

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 2:20 PM  

  • The brick crosswalk is a thing that makes me go "hmmm.."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:49 PM  

  • As much as I hate Chapel Hill for being unaffordable, I envy their transportation policies. What's up with that? Derm is supposed to be more liberal.

    When I moved back here after 15 years I was particularly amused to see all of the big box stores crowded on the Chapel Hill line. This area is an interesting mix of two cultures colliding.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 4:39 AM  

  • Heh. A quarter-mile long, very narrow traffic circle is essentially what that thing is. It's a traffic circle that people going along one axis (15-501) don't really notice they're going through. But for the most part, all of the navigation routes are the same as they would be for a circle.

    Anyway, David, the reason Chapel Hill can have more better transportation policies is because they have a lot fewer state owned roads. Well, other reasons too, but many times Durham city has wanted to do the right thing, but NC-DOT has gotten in the way. (See Alston Ave.)

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 3:09 PM  

  • I think the 180 degree, signalized u-turn that people who want to make a left from 15/501 onto Erwin have to navigate negates the traffic circle functionality. And then Chapel Hill bound 15/501 traffic has to stop while the u-turns are being made.

    so, no, i don't think it's a traffic circle. I'm not necessarily complaining about what it is, but there's an awful lot of concrete that didn't used to be there.

    as far as Durham being more liberal than Chapel hill? In what universe? Diversity does not equal liberality.

    And yeah, big box stores should always go on the county line, if you're going to have them at all. I'm sure you know the reason for that.

    By Blogger Barry, at 4:51 PM  

  • with regards to Chapel Hill having fewer state owned roads, this is one of the reasons I advocated for the transfer of state roads to the cities and counties (like they do in SC). While this raises the "fairness" issue of poorer counties having poorer roads, I think the good outweighs the bad. Especially when you consider that good roads often lead to more gentrification, urban sprawl, and displacement of the lower middle class.

    With regards to Durham being more liberal, we went for Dukakis and Mondale while Orange turned red. They're both liberal, but Chapel Hill is more "SUV liberal" if you catch my drift. I prefer the more crunchy chickens-in-the-yard liberal.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 5:27 PM  

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