ConsultRaleigh: putting our endless critiques to good use?

In the Dorothea Dix Park thread, @mike brought up an interesting idea:

I though this was a really interesting idea that doesn’t belong in any existing thread -not only concerning the NIMBY legacy on the Dix Edge study, but in general.

If you think about it, something like this would be a first-in-the-world civic experiment that makes city planning/development more democratic and cut down the cost of (or at least speed up) city-funded capital projects.

Can we actually do this??


It is pretty cool how this community comes from many different neighborhoods and has such a wide range of professionals in the real estate, development, design, construction industry so with that comes some pretty good insight into the various projects out there.

No doubt we could pull together planning and development ideas for the city, and maybe they would be more realistic, but whew, that would be a lot of work to try to recreate what the professional groups generate.

My comment was tongue-in-cheek, but interesting thought experiment.


Honestly, for something like this to take off, I don’t think we’d even have to entirely recreate what professional contractors and consultants do. The more realistic place to begin is probably to provide direct community input to feasibility studies.

Whenever you’re planning a project, every project manager for some development thing has to:

  • look at what’s already there and what’s about to happen (existing conditions)

  • pick out who would care if you change the present-day picture (identify stakeholders)

  • figure out lofty, vague ideas about what people want -and translate them into things that can('t) be done (scoping)

Yeah there are lots of technical or resource-intensive things like detailed design/engineering, traffic simulations, or environmental analyses -but there’s just as many steps (especially earlier in the process!) where you don’t need as much technical skills to effectively support or rule out development ideas.

A city or community advisory council for planning and early project development would pull off something like this -without having to spend additional time/money on third-party consultants!- and possibly prevent redundant initiatives (see Dix Park vs Lake Wheeler vs DoSo). I don’t know about y’all, but I would be down to (remotely) poke my head in to provide oversight or input for things like this?

Besides, I think the best ideas start off as accidents and half-assed jokes. …so why not this, too? :stuck_out_tongue:


Could we, maybe, see what we could do with this project?

It’s basically asking for a very-detailed brainstorming session on what a “better” bus network could look like (one that could connect BRTs/commuter rail to the rest of the Triangle). If you look at the required deliverables and acceptability criteria, it sounds a lot like what we already do on this forum.


I’ll read over this more in detail soon but I agree this is a very worthwhile project and worth our effort. There is a lot of potential here if we get it right, and also a lot of pitfalls that could turn it into an expensive boondoggle that gets no results.

I have about a thousand thoughts and ideas that I’d like to submit for this. I’ll try to get something down at some point today.

I’d love to see a somewhat technical, grassroots transit advocacy organization in our region that would be our equivalent of TransitMatters from Boston.