Monday, March 30, 2009

McCrory's next project?

I hate to interrupt the great comment thread going on at "Developers bend city official's ear" but here goes:

Hizzoner Pat McCrory stopped by the paper today to talk about what he plans to do with his remaining eight months in office. Headlines: Economic development [recruit more companies to bring more jobs], city spending [try to cut what needs to be cut in the city budget], public safety [he's against crime and supports the police chief]. Motherhood and apple pie were probably on the list too.

But near the end of the conversation he talked about having recently gone to Atlanta for an event sponsored by Georgia Tech, to look at mega-regions. There's a lot of theorizing going on among people who study city and metro region growth that county and state lines are all but irrelevant if you look at how economies work. It's essentially the "Citistates" theory of folks such as Neal Peirce and Curtis Johnson. Now folks are talking about mega-regions. One mega-region, dubbed "CharLanta," is the urbanized crescent running from Atlanta through Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., Charlotte, the N.C. Triad and on to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle area.

McCrory said he and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin agreed to try to get a project going, possibly with Georgia Tech and UNC Charlotte, to look at "the bigger picture vision thing."

Now I've not always agreed with McCrory, but in transportation, he's usually on target or pretty darn close, in terms of what's needed. And he's right about the need to look long-term and big picture.

One major need in the CharLanta corridor: Better passenger rail service. A significant attribute that sets apart the DC-to-Boston corridor is its clearly superior rail service. The whole Southeast region ought to get together and make the world's best pitch, to anyone in D.C. who will listen, that it's our turn for some of those rail dollars. After all, North Carolina got shafted in the federal transit-stimulus-divvying formula.

I don't know how McCrory plans to spend his time post-mayorship, but working to put a mega-region coalition together might well be a project in need of a champion.


Anonymous said...

Too bad McCory didn't win. Instead we got the same old BS in Raleigh.

David McKnight said...

Hey, this is indeed an interesting idea--connecting the urban corridors of Atlanta and Charlotte. But our friends in South Carolina may wish to weigh in on such projects. From the Palmetto point of view, this could all become:

The Great State of Greenville-Spartanburg!

Charlotteans could finally get a chance to be fully included in South Carolina Culture. Perhaps the great Southeast cities of Atlanta and Charlotte will gain new names in the next century:

GreenSpar South and GreenSpar North.

Anonymous said...

Bring on the rail corridor. I'd love to see the Atlanta-Upstate-Charlotte-Triad-Triangle become the next great megaopolis like our friends up north.

Anonymous said...

Atlanta is already spilling into Alabama, Tennessee,and parts of South Carolina. It is only a matter of time. As for the Rail Corridor. We need more than the usual road from and to nowhgere that seem top crop up east of Charlotte.

Just look at I-40 through North Carolina. My son at the age for 4 wanted to know why the road took such a hug detour, when at worst the road should now make up the northern section of I-485.

At this point I think the best thing for Charlotte, and the rest of Western NC, would be to break off into our 0own state. Just make Marion, or another central location the Capital, and move on.

Anonymous said...

If the DC-Boston corridor is the model, what are the jobs that people have to commute back and forth between Atlanta and Charlotte? Any numbers on how many make that trip right now?

Anonymous said...

People on this blog must be smoking some good grass. Let's just build trains and more trains with more and more tax money. What a great idea!!!

Anonymous said...

How are we going to pay for all this rail? The federal gov't is broke and so is the state of NC.

consultant said...

I'm all for building that train, but you folks in Charlotte need to be afraid, very afraid of Atlanta developers.

If they have easier access to your area, they will turn Charlotte into a parking lot.

But trains. I like trains. Let's build them. But you might want to come up with some plan to limit the number of Atlanta developers that can come to your town.

Jumper said...

At this point I'd just ask for Amtrak to have a navigable website. I can't even find schedules and fares on there easily. And I give up on the big automakers helping. At this point, I just want a street-legal golf cart.

I will point out that semis on the interstates do more to make people want a big passenger vehicle than any other factor. They feel safer with all that heavy steel around them. It's not an easy problem to solve. If it were, carbon-fiber 80 mpg passenger cars would be a lot more viable.

So yes, they had better make some plans and be darned smart about them, or they will fail.

Anonymous said...

Government making smart plans. Yeah, and pigs fly.

Adam Terando said...

It might be hard to believe, but this idea has come up before. And actually it's been in the works for 17 years now.

We'll get some stimulus money in the next 6 months to help make it reality. Elections do have consequences!