Roses and Raspberries, Sept. 25

September 25, 2013 

Raspberries to planners who have made traffic more hazardous at the western end of the Weaver Dairy Road.

We withheld judgment when traffic barrels lined the median fronting the Timberlyne shopping center. The sight lines were problematic, but the job wasn’t done, and when the barrels came down, it did become somewhat easier to see oncoming traffic.

But as a recent commentary on radio station WCHL ( bit.ly/16mCnZ7) noted last week, the new exit from the shopping center onto Weaver Dairy is an accident waiting to happen. Drivers leaving Food Lion, the movie theater or any of the stores and restaurants in the busy strip, have to inch out and hope no driver from the east is speeding. The road rises and you can’t see who might coming until it’s almost too late.

(And speaking of speeding, what’s happened to enforcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard? In years past we would see police regularly stopping drivers, but this fall it seems if you’re not doing 50 in the 35 mph zone, you’ve got a line of cars on your tail.)

The town is talking about major redevelopment along MLK and the Estes Drive area, the unfortunately named Central West. Let’s take a breather here and realize if we can’t make the roads safe with the development we have, it’s not time to increase the traffic on them.

Roses to The Arc of Orange County and to Meadowmont developer Roger Perry for making a place at the table for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As staff writer Jonathan Alexander reported Sunday, The Arc (long ago called The Associated for Retarded Citizens) broke ground last week on the site of a future apartment building for people with disabilities who can live independently.

The project will have six units and those who live there will pay 30 percent of their income, adding diversity of multiple kinds to the community on the eastern entrance to town.

Perry, who also built Chapel Hill’s East 54 and Durham’s Woodcroft communities, donated the land. “This is a whole new group of folks who will be part of Meadowmont and make it a better place because they’re here,” he said.

In a town that talks a great deal about affordable housing, it still takes individuals to make it happen. Congratulations to the Arc for a project that is truly groundbreaking.

Roses to Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton for asking the Carrboro Board of Aldermen to pull an item from the agenda that would have given $2,500 to his employer to help pay for a roast in his honor at the Century Center.

The mayor deserves a celebration, after 10 years on the board including eight as mayor. But we’re confident private money can be found to pay for one. The fact that the money was going to roast organizer Empowerment, an affordable housing program where Chilton works, made this particularly troublesome.

The aldermen postponed a vote but most who spoke seemed inclined to support the allocation. If at this writing, they did not already approve the funds, we would ask them to reconsider. Politics too often is seen as an insider’s game. This proposal only adds to that perception, no matter how well intentioned. Chilton knew it, and that is why he left the room for the discussion.

If the mayor is uncomfortable about it, so are we, and so one can bet are Carrboro taxpayers. If they appreciate the job their mayor has done they’ll be happy to kick in a few bucks to say thank you.

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