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Category: Authors

Dix Park: A Sustainable Living Model

    The design for Dix Park by MVVA is admirable in many ways, but I believe that it misses some very important aspects as we move further into the 21st Century. The park would serve Raleigh and all of North Carolina better if it became a model for sustainable living.      As a global culture, we have major challenges facing us. The global population is roughly 7.7 billion people and the estimates for the carrying capacity of the Earth is 10 billion people, with this number based primarily on the amount of arable land available for growing the needed food. One aspect of a park for the future is that it would have as a foundation a pallet of food producing plants. Yet the MVVA design is promoting the old saw of ‘a collection of native plants from all across the state,’ or where they are more specific, a botanical garden for shade loving plants.      We have two excellent public gardens, the UNC Botanic Garden which promotes native plants from across the state, and the JC Raulston Arboretum, which features ornamental plants that are suited for our area, including shade loving plants. What we need is a garden thatRead More

The Hub Projecting into the Great Field/Meadow

Description of the Hub from the Master Plan The Hub is composed of pavement bays organized around a central access point. The bays provide an event space that can be used year-round without damaging or impacting more fragile landscapes and are proposed to be surrounded by a cathedral- like space of tall pine trees. This proposed pine forest, potentially to be long leaf pine, builds from the existing loblolly stand nearby, while offering a contrast to the oak-dominant plantings found throughout the park. Covered outdoor pavilions, paths, and picnic tables are scattered in the pine forest. The star-like layout of the bays means that they help orient visitors to five different parts of the park. In this way, the Hub will transform what is today an unremarkable area with limited views into an activity center that remains useful and beautiful even when empty. On most days, the Hub is a primary meeting point for tours and group fitness activities. It is an accessible drop-off point for visitors arriving via car, public transit, or school bus, with carefully laid-out parking nestled within a restored pine forest. It accommodates large groups and vehicular access for setting up special events like festivals andRead More

Bob Geary, City Council Statement 1/8/2019

I’d like to take us back to a time 15 years ago, to when Raleigh was just starting to show up on all the Top 10 lists. The best places to live. The best places to play, and to BE. We were going to reopen Fayetteville Street—remember that? We were nothing if not optimistic. And so we imagined that the 306-acre Dix Hospital site, when vacated by the state, could become a great destination park for our city and the region. That was the shared vision of Dix 306, the Friends of Dorothea Dix Park, and the Dix Visionaries. But then a debate ensued about whether we could afford it. You’ll recall that ULI, an arm of the development industry, advised that the middle of Dix should become, “highest and best,” a mixed-use center. Think North Hills. To a group like ULI, not to develop Dix was to waste it. So thousands of us pushed back with our Dix306 signs and our determination that this prized, historic landscape not be lost to a welter of the usual shopping-mall stuff. Yes, we said, Raleigh can afford a great park. And not just afford it. We said that by having it—by creatingRead More

Wellness, the Legacy of Dorothea Dix

These are excerpts from the Executive Summary of the Dorothea Dix Legacy Report. The full Legacy Report is here. Legacy: Something received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past Wellness: “A state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” The World Health Organization Adopt a Theme of Wellness: [The Legacy Committee recommends adopting] a theme of wellness as the guiding theme for the park. What will make this park a unique destination site is a theme that honors or commemorates the past and connects it to a vision for the future. The theme of wellness will unite this place’s historical legacy, its cumulative meaning, and its destination value. [We should] adopt a broad definition of legacy in honoring or remembering all that has occurred on this land –the Native Americans that lived here, the Hunter plantation, slavery, Dorothea Dix and her crusade to establish an asylum here, construction of the hospital with slave labor, the hospital during the Civil War, a psychiatric hospital for 156 years, the patients and staff, the buildings and cemeteries, closure of the hospital, and the hospital’s legacy in mental health reform and the connectionRead More

Transit-X Microtransit Podway

Transit-X is proposing an aerial monorail network of pods that can transport people around Raleigh as well as into Dix Park. They have two proposals: The first pilot proposal is an 18 mile network with 860 pods. 25% of Raleigh residents would be within a 5 minute walk to a station. The cost is about $110 million. The second is the full proposal with 226 mile network with 13,888 pods where 95% of the population is within a 5 minute walk to a station. This one costs $1,439,225,205. Two people, 4 kilometer $1.90 fare. Both of them are expected to be financed privately. Fares would need to be about $0.50 per kilometer for 2 people in a pod. High capacity • High speed • Nonstop • 24/7 Solar powered • Zero Wait • Door-to-door • Resilient Transit X proposes to build and operate a green, privately-financed microtransit podway to carry passengers and freight for Raleigh, NC that makes the Transit X service convenient to 95% of the population. Transit X efficiently services both suburbs and cities and provides for a higher quality of life. Major benefits • Reduce congestion • Provide parking relief • Reduce pollution • Improve safety SeeRead More

Building Removal and Renovation Plans in the Draft MVVA Master Plan

How much should it cost to maintain Dorothea Dix Park? Let’s look at Raleigh Park System for guidance: Raleigh Parks total 10,000 acres 200 Parks $50 Million to operate and maintain the buildings and land. Approximately $5000 per acre Dix Park 308 acres Should be about $1,6 Million to maintain just a few buildings and the land. Dix park represents 3% of the area of the Raleigh park system Dix doesn’t need as many buildings as the plan calls for. They are both expensive to restore and maintain. Here is a breakdown of the plans from the Master Plan. Total existing buildings85 buildingsTotal existing floor area1,171,818 sq ft26.9 acresTotal existing footprint679,790 sq ft15.6 acresBuildings to be removed5364% of buildingsFloor area to be removed478,328 sq ft41% of existing floor area10.98 acresFootprint to be removed331,521 sq ft49% of existing footprint7.61 acresBuildings preserved3237% of existing buildingsFloor area preserved693,490 sq ft59% of existing floor area15.92 acresFootprint preserved348,269 sq ft51% of existing footprint7.99 acresBuildings and surrounding lawns preserved1,602,178 sq ft12% of 308 acres36.78 acres

Raleigh Aerial Cableway Along Dawson or McDowell Streets to the Dorothea Dix Hilltop

A Preliminary Proposal from Eco-Transit: Eco-Transit(ECO) provides specialized planning, engineering and feasibility study services to clients for Aerial Cableway Transit (ACT) gondola and tramway projects. Eco-Transit 7830 W Alameda Ave Suite 103, Denver, CO 80226 Aerial cableway people movers work well in urban settings as the vehicles operate in an exclusive aerial right of way separated from roadways, traffic congestion, sidewalks and pedestrians; this feature makes these urban gondolas one of the safest forms of public transit. Cableways also offer continuous passenger boarding with vehicle headways under 30 seconds; this provides a “walk up and board” transit service. Cabins are ADA friendly and are designed to easily transport wheelchairs, walkers, strollers and bicycles. Two possible routes as examples The gondolas hold 10 people and can transport 1,500 people per hour. The cost estimate for this single path is between $17 – $25 million. The most expensive parts are the stations particularly if there are amenities included in the stations. Next is the cost of turns greater than 10 degrees. It is efficient to combine turns with stations. Staying over public right of way greatly facilitates the permitting. During low use times only one person is needed at a station andRead More

Draft Master Plan Development Areas

The following illustration show the Private Development plans put forth in the Dec. 2018 Draft Master Plan. These recommendations were changed to “Future Study” in the January update. Thus, while these development plans aren’t enumerated in the final plan they are “being studied” and we must continue to watch for and oppose these private development plans. It is particularly important to prevent private development along the approximately 800 ft deep strip of property along Lake Wheeler Road, because this is the Gateway to Raleigh’s Downtown. The words have changed from the Dec. Draft Master Plan, but the desire to develop has not. Note that the phases have been renamed to numbers and the 4’6 acre parcel shown in Phase C is now slated as a Temporary Parking in Phase Now This next illustration shows all the areas planned for development. This includes parking, buildings and areas being studied for Private Development.

Ridge Building Plan

This post contains pictures of the Ridge plan with the buildings annotated with sq foot footprints as well as total estimated sq ft. In addition it shows the original AJ Davis building and what is left of the original building and its sq ft. It also asks you to consider the integrity of the 100,000 sq ft AJ Davis building and if the additional 100,000 sq ft McBride wings should be kept. Do we really need 200,000 sq ft in this building.