With all the Developments going on Downtown and in other parts of the City one thing that has me very concerned, is the infrastructure and how will the city handle the ongoing process of development and future development projects that continue to grow. Curious to know from your perspective and any thoughts on the matter.
Get rid of the appearance commission or changes it to the design. Yes zone every building downtown to 60 stories but require a fire suppression system since fire codes can’t reach that high. Relook at light rail. Add a library, make the chamber of commerce work with developers to attract fancy HQs.
By infrastructure do you mean mass transit? It’s always … we don’t have enough density to warrant mass transit and then …we can’t have mass transit until we have density. But I do think the city is trying to work on mass transit as well as increasing pedestrian and bike usage. In terms of water and sewer the city is replacing the older pipes and putting in pipes that handle more water and sewer. I also wonder if we think Atlanta or Washington or any city ever had the infrastructure before they had the population?
I recall seeing a picture of an underground metro station in the middle of nowhere in New York in the late 19th or early 20th century. Literally in the middle of a field, barely anything around. Obviously that place now is a thriving metropolis. Transit can definitely preclude density, and I think, often times, it must.
I think this is one of those situations where if you build it, they will come (developers, residents, retail, commercial).
By Infrastructure, I think the biggest concern would be water, sewer, electric and communications (phone/internet). Lots the water and sewer systems especially, I’m guessing, in DTR is 1960’s ± 20 years.
My biggest thoughts on this is that we need to allow more dense housing to be closer to the job centers. Downtown has a lot of areas zoned R10, but it should be higher. I found a link which helps “visualize” housing density (Link). According to what it shows, you can still have 36DU/Acre and still have single family homes. 36 DU is more than 3 times the current 10DU/Acre development. With the higher density comes the higher population needed for public transit. Even with public transit, I don’t think people would need it much at that higher density because they would be living closer to their jobs, stores, parks, health care, etc. The North Hills area needs to get rid of it’s R-4 surrounding zoning.
Now in my ever changing ways (from car guy to bus passenger/promoter), I’ve now grown to become more of a fan of biking/cycling. I would like for biking to be taken into consideration with a lot of new developments. I believe that once it is taken into consideration that people would bike to places if they felt safe, then a lot more people would do it. Going back to the higher housing density, biking infrastructure would give people access to a higher amount of amenities/shops already included with the density noted above (for variety). While I had no problems using the bus, I find that the advantage of a bike is that you choose your schedule and are not restricted to routes or now driver shortages. There are a lot of instances where biking can be just as fast as public transit. I did stumble across this video (Youtube Link) which was to see if it was faster to get to the beach via ebike or subway. It was pretty close. I also calculated travel times since Youtube can be scripted; both are pretty close. The main point I want to show with this is that we should be looking at biking infrastructure with a high priority as well as public transit. I wouldn’t do one or the other, but just state that both are important.
Some final thoughts.
We need to allow businesses to be on smaller lower-speed roads. With a lot of the shops being on high speed roads (Creedmoor, Glenwood, Capital Blvd, Falls of Neuse) and with cars pushing 45, this makes it really unsafe for anyone outside of a car. I would like to see more smaller shop areas like we see on Oberlin/Fairview and Medlin/Dixie Trail.
I would also like to see some car infrastructure that promotes carpooling. We do not have HOV lanes here, but I think this would be good for incentivize people to carpool.
I’m not against cars or car ownership for many reasons, but do think we have hit a limit on how much land we should allocate to cars within a city. Since we have hit this limit, we should look at other forms of transit.
A fire suppression system is needed in building that want to go to 60-70 stories. I think that would be great for Raleigh.
We get our density based on the infrastructure that we provide. If everything is car first, or car only, then guess what happens?
Raleigh Water (Public Utilities) has a oversized main reimbursement program for the whole City where large mains are required to serve upstream (sewer) or extending large water to serve future growth and meet fire flow. They reimburse for installing 12" or larger to serve “other” than your development. There is also a urban renewal program that reimburses up to 100% when capacity and age of the infrastructure is involved which impacts most projects downtown.