Published: Jan 22, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 21, 2013 04:57 PM
Roses to UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp for bending DOT’s ear and saving the towns and taxpayers a bundle.
It’s only luck that’s kept traffic on the South Columbia Street entrance to campus and UNC Hospitals from killing a patient headed to the ER. The road, long inadequate for a major transportation artery, is scheduled to be widened for a center turn lane, bicycle lanes and sidewalks beginning this April.
Originally the work was supposed to take six months and cost up to $2 million if Chapel Hill Transit maintained current levels of service.
As we reported last week, Thorp wrote Transportation Secretary Eugene Conti Jr. last month to ask if that work schedule could be shortened. The cash-strapped university is a partner in the fare-free bus system.
And just like that, the six-month project has become a three-month project.
The extra costs would have been a major challenge given that the Columbia Street widening had been on the books for years, repeatedly delayed, and the local transit partners had not planned for it this year.
Now they anticipate needing to find only $350,000 to $500,000 this fiscal year and being able to build in the remaining cost next fiscal year. Hardly chump change, but a big savings over what would have been a big traffic headache and even bigger bill this spring and summer.
Roses to Coach Roy Williams and the UNC men’s basketball team for holding their annual clinic for Special Olympics athletes from across the state.
The clinic’s PR benefits are not lost on us, coming on the, uh, heels of a many-months battering of the university’s athletic image. The thing is, this clinic has been going on for a decade, far longer than the scandal (though not of the misdeeds that led to it).
One hundred Special Olympians with intellectual disabilities took to the Dean Dome floor for the two-hour clinic. For many, it may have been a highlight of their athletic careers. And it’s not just the special athletes who benefit, as Colleen Lanigan, Orange County’s Special Olympics director, told us. It’s their families, the coaches and even Williams and his players, who get a chance to remember and experience the sheer joy of the game.
And while we’re at it, thanks, too, to photographer Melissa Lauren Key for a super shot of Jarnell Parker of Wayne County going for the dunk on last Wednesday’s front page.
Whatever you think about those big posters at East 54, Chapel Hill is a basketball town. Sometimes, win or lose, that’s something we can all celebrate.
Raspberries to Aspen Square Management, the new owners of Collins Crossing (formerly Abbey Court) for strong arming a $5,000 special assessment some units owners will have difficulty paying.
To be fair, Aspen has agreed to make much-needed repairs at the low-rent apartment complex on Jones Ferry Road in Carrboro. The need could be delayed no longer after a 10-year-old boy fell through a stairwell tread in November.
But Aspen owns a majority of the units, controlling the board and imposing its will. The special assessment will almost surely force more many individual owners to sell. And while that may be all right, it should be their choice, especially since they likely had little control over repairs under previous management.
We hope Aspen considers the reasonable requests of unit owners, which include local affordable housing groups, and allows the fee to be paid in installments.
You’re going to be hearing a lot about affordable rental housing this year. Let’s see if we can keep one of the affordable complexes left affordable a little longer.
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