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1. Charlotte paper recognizes a turkey
It's about time that members of editorial boards recognized
the scam of consultant reports paid for by cities. The Charlotte
Observer editorial page noticed that, once again, the city was being asked
to spend money on a project based on a "too good to be true"
consultant report - between $7 and $11 million on a baseball stadium for the
Charlotte Knights. The paper, and
probably everyone else in town, could not help but notice that the consultant, UNC
economist John Connaughton, was the same one who promised huge economic
benefits from the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the U.S. National Whitewater Center,
both of which have been on taxpayer subsidy life support.
When the roundabouts
were proposed for Hillsborough Street, we said that the street was ill suited
for the merry-go-rounds.
according to the N&O, DOT
recognizes that 100 crashes on the two-lane roundabout at Hillsborough and the
NC State Bell Tower are too many and calls for redesigning the roundabout. While it appears that most of these accidents
are relatively minor, the roundabouts and other "traffic calming"
techniques slow emergency vehicles, increasing response times for fire trucks
and ambulances. Jenna Robinson's
November 2006 John Locke Foundation study found:
"Studies performed by seven American cities and
assembled by the Institute of Transportation Engineers show that speed humps, speed
tables, and traffic circles (roundabouts)
have negative effects on emergency response times.... (emphasis added)
"The construction of roundabouts on Hillsborough
Street near the campus of North Carolina State University and the conversion of
downtown streets from one-way to two-way near the state capitol will aggravate
the city's traffic congestion problem and slow emergency vehicles, posing a
threat to human life."
For details, see her report:
Streets, Dangerous Roads: Traffic Calming Endangers the Lives of Those in Need
of Emergency Services" by Jenna Robinson, Nov. 2006
3. Yet another Train Wreck: Charlotte's
rail red line
A new study
of the proposed Charlotte rail red line that runs north from Charlotte to
Iredell County argues that it is "an expensive, risky project that is
likely to produce few benefits for anyone other than the contractors who build
For this reason and many others outlined in the report, the
Iredell County Commissioners voted
5 to 0 to oppose the red line proposal.
This reinforces our initial 2008 evaluation of the LYNX
line. This line was originally forecast to cost $227 million but finally cost
$561 million, about 130 percent over budget.
For this price tag, taxpayers got many failures:
- "Impacts on congestion are too small to be seen in
street traffic, but are computed to be about 1/2 minute in travel-time savings
for corridor drivers remaining on the street system.
- "LYNX's impact on air quality is about 0.05-0.09
percent of regional emissions, too small to be observable."
For more details see:
LYNX Line: A Preliminary Assessment" by Dr. David Hartgen.
many elected, civic and bureaucratic leaders in Wake County have not learned
anything from the Charlotte train wreck.
They are forging ahead with their own train wreck that is "all cost
and no benefit."
Hartgen provides this
analysis of the Wake County Transit Plan. His conclusion is that the rail
and bus proposal in the Wake County Transit Plan: "is not
technically or financially feasible and is unreliable as the basis for
decisions regarding transit investment in Wake County."
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