Monday, May 31, 2010

Vegetable gardens in Southern Village

I wonder if the time has not arrived when we should be looking at places in Southern Village where we could have a well-organized community garden of some sort - maybe with a part-time manager to help keep an eye on things there? Maybe there is a right of way for OWASA that would lend itself to this? Or even in or adjacent to one or more of our parks? We have plenty of land as someone noted a while ago. Putting in an irrigation connection would make very good sense and so we ought to look for spots that either have water lines in them or nearby and that have the necessary sun, etc, no?

Bus advertising

It sure seems to me that businesses in Southern Village are missing the boat in not regularly advertising on the Chapel Hill Transit lines that serve Southern Village. Imagine if the weekly movie schedule appeared up there, every week. Or imagine an ad for a special deal or event at one of the eating establishments......

I also saw no mention in last week's Carrboro Citizen of the outdoor movies in Southern Village last weekend.

"Blue Sky Film Festival"

Sunday, May 30, 2010

" | Meet the Eco- Chicos"

What's the Southern Village version of this?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"In the Garden - Conquering the Strip Between Sidewalk and Street" -

This should be great inspiration to others in Southern Village!

"How to Improve the Stop Sign?" - Freakonomics Blog -

As I walk and drive around Southern Village, it is clear to me that the current sign is not doing its job!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Greener than grass" - USA WEEKEND Magazine |

Imagine the change in Southern Village if every homeowner followed this sage advice?

Friday, May 21, 2010

"The Herald-Sun : New Orange budget holds line on taxes"

Farmers' Market

I wonder if there is a way to make this work? Certainly, it looks unsustainable the way it is now with only 2 or 3 vendors......

East 54

Note the dining/shopping and news/events links from this home page. During the day, of course, you can get there on the V bus!

"Chapel Hill Orange County Visitors Bureau Calendar"

This appears to be an excellent "calendar" resource!

"Times Square Plazas Slow Many Bus Trips" -

We may want to consider a pedestrian plaza out on 15-501 as part of the Obey Creek development?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"A Data Center Power Supply That Moos" -

Why couldn't Obey Creek be designed to do the same?

Pazzo! and Letters to Juliet

It amazes me to see lack of creativity when it is so simple. Right now, the Lumina is showing Letters to Juliet, set almost entirely in Italy, especially in Tuscany. Across the street is Pazzo! a nominally Italian restaurant. Has anyone seen either the Lumina or Pazzo! connecting those dots? I have not. What a missed opportunity for both.


I watched the Obey Creek discussion last night. The supplemental materials noted in this agenda do not appear to have been posted yet.

The concept advanced by Roger PERRY on behalf of an investment firm from Maryland, he said, includes ideas such as a Target or Belk store, and high rises on 15-501 opposite the Southern Community Park rising 8 stories above street level.

There is much to be debated and everyone in Southern Village has a stake in this. Consider, for example, the points made in this editorial in the NY Times today. One has to ask if this will make the are more visually appealing to walkers, runners, bikers and drivers. What is the plan to deal with the less than appealing homes on the Southern Village side of 15-501? I urged PERRY's son a year ago to incorporate that in their project with much better and equally affordable housing replacing what is there now.

PERRY predicted that if they go forward with the concept - which includes a 150 room hotel - it will take 15-20 years from the start of the project before it is completed. This is because it will take that long for Chapel Hill to "absorb" the facilities as businesses and residences.

Today, something less than half of the cars that now pass East 54 (50,000 v. 21,000 if I noted that correctly) pass by us each day on 15-501.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Chapel Hill police praise 'Good Samaritans' in attempted kidnapping" - Orange County -

"wiki2d - Contribuons au développement durable en région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA)"

Lots of good ideas here for Southern Village, too. Note that the local newspaper supports this; I wonder if one of our local newspapers would not want to support the "green" stuff that is on the Homeowners' Association website?

Greenways Inc

This is Pittsboro's pedestrian plan. We sure need to see one that connects pedestrians in Southern Village not just within Southern Village but between Southern Village and many places beyond like Carrboro, Carrboro High School, the North Carolina Botanical Gardens, UNC, downtown Chape Hill, CVS, Lowes, Harris-Teeter, etc (on 15-501).

Sustainability in Greensboro

There are lots of interesting aspects of this report, to be presented today in Greensboro. Why don't we have a community garden in Southern Village?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Obesity and young kids

This from February. I wonder if the Town of Chapel Hill has a policy with respect to combating obesity and overweight people of all ages in the Town?

"Texting while driving ban results in few tickets" -

This is surely not the test of whether the law is effective. It's effective if people stop texting and drive more safely so fewer people are injured or killed.

"Mayor lays out case for Smith Level Road plan" - The Carrboro Citizen

"An opportunity to learn more about your homeowners association" - The Carrboro Citizen

I am not sure when or how we'll be able to access what he describes - perhaps later on the Town of Carrboro site.

Cell phones

I sent this to the Mayor and Council Members last night:

"Dear Mayor and Council Members,
Before your meeting on 22 February 2010, I asked each of you whether you personally use a cell phone when driving in Chapel Hill. Only two of you said that you do not (RICH and one because he does not own a cell phone (HARRISON)), two or three others (including GREENE and BELL) said you did use a cell phone while driving and the rest remained silent. (I hope that the others (5, including the Mayor) will share your personal practices with us voters. By silence, I can only assume that you use your cell phone while driving, a reckless and dangerous judgment call on your part.)
Although your staff is too busy to write minutes of your meetings (I was just informed) – I reviewed the relevant portion of the meeting’s video.
Several things strike me. One, there was no sense of urgency whatsoever – apparent from the lethargic discussion and as voiced directly by PEASE – although two Council Members (EASTHOM and WARD) seemed to be urging effective use of the weeks following your meeting on this issue – especially in meeting with the highway safety research center and with UNC Police. Second, and most troubling, I was struck by comments from several Council Members that they would obey any law – [that was really encouraging!] – but that it would take such a law in order for them to do the unquestionably right thing without a law – and stop using their cell phones when driving a vehicle anywhere.
Although I have not seen a report from the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee that was due 15 April (according to statements made during your 22 February meeting), what I just found, however, is the presentation made to that Committee on 29 April. It leaves little room for discussion or dispute as to the virtue of not using an electronic device while driving a motor vehicle. I commend the presentation to you.
It is not clear from the minutes of the meeting on 29 April what next steps that Committee intends to take. I see no justification of any kind for delay on the part of the Town Council because of anything that might or might not happen at the state level, especially with respect to the first three points I advance below.
I am forced to conclude at this time - by your inaction - that you are condoning the widespread use of cell phones by people in Chapel Hill while they are driving vehicles.
I believe that there should be a ban on the use of any electronic device by any driver while driving a motor vehicle anywhere. Regulatory creativity can take care of any exceptions needed for fire and police, but it’s hard to imagine any other exceptions.
You can consider this a petition, a request or a demand – as you like – but I think the Council should immediately act on three fronts and schedule rapid action on a fourth. Here they are:
1) Each Council Member should state publicly that he or she will refrain from all use of electronic devices while driving a motor vehicle. Period.

2) The Council should immediately adopt a prohibition on the use of any electronic device by the driver of any vehicle on the roads of Chapel Hill that is either owned by the Town or being used in any way for Town business, including contractor vehicles.

3) The Council should adopt a resolution clearly stating that it is the policy of the Town of Chapel Hill that no one should use any electronic device while driving any vehicle in Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill Police should be asked by the Council to inquire with each traffic stop whether the driver had been using a cell phone while driving that vehicle, regardless of the potential infraction (and that data should be collected and published monthly); this action should be widely and repeatedly publicized.
The fourth is to work expeditiously to adopt a local ordinance expanding point 2, above, to all drivers in Chapel Hill, and coordinate those efforts in such a way to enhance the likelihood that a statewide ban may soon follow. The Council should not delay implementing at least a Town prohibition, even if that becomes the subject of litigation, or in some other way is affected by state action. The Town Council has the choice here to act or not to act, and if the Council fails to act, it is putting the lives of residents at risk, plain and simple. There is no substantial cost, and zero risk, posed by any of the actions I have outlined.
I expect a response to this e-mail, but more important, I expect action."

Morgan Creek

If you look at this document - item 7 - you may see as I do that there is no plan to provide a means to cross Morgan Creek other than the bridge over the creek that now carries traffic north on South Columbia. I suppose that's better than nothing, but it is not clear how one will access the new Morgan Creek trail from the north side of the bridge.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Proposed Chapel Hill Town budget

This was presented last night at the Town Council meeting.

On 12 May, I sent an e-mail to the Town Manager with these two questions:

"First, you include a slide in your presentation that compares tax rates in Chapel Hill with others in NC. It appears to me that you have picked other places that have both county and town or city taxes, and I can understand on one level why you may have done that. But I think that is unfair and at least incomplete. For purposes of allowing all of us to see tax comparisons, I believe you should include bars for tax rates in ALL counties adjoining Orange. In the end, for us taxpayers, the total rate we pay is what really matters financially, and it allows us to make the necessary comparisons and analyses of taxes paid/value received. When you have added those bars to your chart, I would appreciate your e-mailing a copy to me.

Second, we live in Southern Village and so the Southern Community Park is of special interest. I would like to know the fully allocated projected cost of operating the park for your budget year. And I would also like to know how the success or failure of the park is being measured. I walk through the park regularly and find that the number of people using the facilities there to be pitifully small, with the sole exception of the play area for children, followed by the picnic area and shelter (which I would estimate occupy about less than 1% of the park’s land), and occasional intense use of the playing fields on less than one day/week by unidentified (to the public) teams."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dogwood Acres pond

When I walked through Dogwood Acres yesterday, I was reminded of what a large - so it seems - pond feeds the little stream that flows thorugh the middle of Souhern Village. This is the one that winds up going under the two bridges at the bottom of the hills, and ultimately out to Culbreth Road.
The second thing I observeed was that while there is very little water flowing in any of the stream beds, the pond appeared to be full. Our small ponds in Southern Village - at least the bigger one - seems to be way down on its banks because of no rain. (I don't understand why the other continues to look pretty full.)
Finally, I wondered who inspects the land under the road to see if there are any potential problems? As I recall, this is not a Town responsibility to look after the pond, but if not they Town, then who?
If that "dam" ever broke, we'd seee a large amount of water cascading through Southern Village, perhaps takinga  tree or many with it --- at the very least!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

No houses for sale in Dogwood Acres?

I understand that there are 60 units for sale in Southern Village today.
When I walked through a section of Dogwood Acres today, I was surprised to see only one "for sale" sign.
No doubt I could suggest an explanation having something to do with the higher mobility/transiency among Southern Village residents, but is that the primary reason?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Grass at the park?

The grass at the Community Park sure looks in bad shape. Have they turned off the sprinkler?

As I looked at that, after voting at Scroggs on Tuesday, I wondered also about the placement of the bleachers for those fields. How can anyone see the game well when positioned in the end zone? Why are there no bleachers at mid field? OSHA rule or something like that?

"Smoothies With Substance (and Style)" - Well Blog -

Southern Village Directory

Somewhere on the site is a directory of people who have decided to list themselves as living in Southern Village. I never use it.

What I do look at on occasion is a printed directory of Southern Village residents from 2004, the last printed version.

Two things come to mind.

One, I sure think we should make an effort to print another directory of everyone living here except those who prefer to remain anonymous.

And, second, I think part of that effort ought to include a strong request to collect every e-mail so that maybe 3 or 4 times a year, a short e-mail could be sent to all of us with some interesting news of our community and include some of the most important links at the end. A group of 3 people could be picked to decide on what ought to be in these e-mails to insure that they are interesting, informative, short and compelling...and of course, respectful of everyone in the community and environs.

I wonder if we did the work to collect all of the names if the merchants or a sponsor or two would be willing to cover any costs in printing or setting up all of the addresses with some kind of recognition included in the directory and in the occasional short e-mails?


"Legarde, Kelly (W F, 41) VICTIM of Larceny- All Other (C), at 414 Copperline Dr,Chapel Hill, NC, between 21:00, 05/03/2010 and 07:00, 05/04/2010. Reported:05/06/2010."

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Walking to the NC Botanical Gardense

This is how Google Maps tells me I should walk to get to the NC Botanical Gardens out on 54. I bet you could do this in one hour quite easily, but isn't it a shame that the route for people is no where near as direct and easy as is the route for cars. Didn't "we" come first?

" | Deer win Round 1"