Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

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Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Dave @ Building Bull City
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

SeriousPetes
FYI, the article isn't set to public yet, it brings up "page not found."
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

SeriousPetes
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
I can see the article now!

Dave @ Building Bull City wrote
In other words, it needs small commercial space. It needs housing of all types (affordable, market rate, etc). It needs civic spaces and it needs public amenities. There needs to be a purpose for people to be there.
This concerns me as well. Word is there was a community feedback event hosted by a restauranteur that purchased the land at the Washington Street intersection with the trail. The plan was to build a restaurant/bar when and if the trail is ever completed. It sounds like the feedback was very negative, people angry that a restaurant would be creeping into the core of OND.

If that's the feedback for a restaurant, I can't imagine OND residents would be thrilled about affordable housing in any form or even market rate medium density housing. I personally live in TP close to the border with OND and I'd be thrilled for an option that's under a mile from my house and extremely walkable. Of course they should be diligent about being a good neighbor, but part of being a good neighbor is providing a neighborhood option for lowkey drinking with minimal parking so locals have a place to safely enjoy a drink with the community and have a safe walk home.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Durham_Transplant
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
Thanks for posting Dave. I agree with many of your concerns. This has the potential to be a really transformative project and create mini destinations within the various downtown neighborhoods. The master plan paints an impressive vision of what the trail *could* be but it’s hard to tell what the actual result will be until we see a formal plan. And definitely a bit confused as to why these community engagement questions seem so preliminary in nature when this process has been underway for quite a long time.

Ultimately we may be able to make incremental improvements in the future but the foundation of the trail will be what we live with for several decades presumably. Important to get it right. I think I said previously something along the lines of it would be a real shame to spend $30MM for a glorified version of the Ellerbe Creek trail.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Durham_Transplant
In reply to this post by SeriousPetes
That’s a really frustrating and shortsighted view from the residents if true. Something like the Common Market that’s opening a location over on Green St would be amazing there. All day hangout for people to pop in for some food or a drink before or after heading down the trail for a nice walk or bike ride.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

SeriousPetes
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Durham_Transplant
Thanks for sharing. I have a really hard time taking this stuff seriously when people say things like “they’ve been through a lot”. No, they absolutely have not been through a lot. Unless being residents of a highly affluent neighborhood in an extremely desirable location counts.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

SeriousPetes
I chuckled at that too 😄
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

elevatoroperator
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
eh, I think the post puts too much focus on a few questions from an online survey. The community engagement is being done by different consultants than the design/development team and there's been much more thoughtful discussion in person. From what I've seen of the plans, the rail trail very much does have the same mindset as the author of this post in terms of its impact and potential for transformation. It does aspire to be a destination and not just a glorified greenway. In any case, there's a community engagement session tonight at the Armory, 6pm. Hope to see y'all there.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Dave @ Building Bull City
Administrator
Definitely good to hear that the design team has similar goals in mind. I have my doubts that it won't be watered down, especially given the twitter thread posted above, but fingers crossed.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

elevatoroperator
This post was updated on .
I think some skepticism is valid with this being delayed for so many years. But my perception is that any watering down of the design (scope has already been reduced compared to original aspirations) will be because of budget constraints/cost escalation, rather than public opposition or unambitious aims. The core goals are still the same. Achieving them with limited funds is challenging.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

SeriousPetes
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by elevatoroperator
I went to the community event, there were no open floor community feedback sessions and they also made it clear that the in person community feedback events are a bad representation of the demographics of the impacted community. Even calling out the fact that all of the community participants at today's event are white.

This is actually really good to hear. It signals to me that they understand the vocal minority is a real thing and community feedback should come in forms other than angry people yelling.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

elevatoroperator
Yes, I appreciated that comment too. It was made in the context of explaining why the months-long community engagement effort by the city was so important in the first place -- these kinds of public meetings are attended by and large by affluent white residents, and targeted outreach to other populations need to be done intentionally.

This meeting was just a general kick-off of sorts; the wider open floor conversations are intended to happen during the next two workshops focused around amenities and connections.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Durham_Transplant
In reply to this post by SeriousPetes
A few quick comments:

First, I very much appreciate that they posted the presentation materials to the durhamrailtrail.com site.

Second, the timeline that is laid out in the first presentation suggests that construction won’t get underway until early 2024 and will take 18 months to complete. Just a bummer that we are still 3 years away from something we will actually be able to use.

Finally, the presentation materials for the first meeting state that the total budget is $16.3MM and $11.1MM is going to be the baseline cost for the “transportation” piece or basically the trail itself. That doesn’t leave a ton of room for amenities/landscaping/art/etc at this stage. Would love to know how/if they plan to raise or allocate additional funds in the future to expand on the base plan.

Will also try and get out to one of these meetings and hear about the plans firsthand.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Durham_Transplant
As a point of reference, I believe a total cost of $30MM was referenced previously to build the trail as envisioned in the master plan.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Dave @ Building Bull City
Administrator
Thanks for posting this and if you do end up attending an in-person event, it would be awesome if you would post a recap here.

Looks like the "urban area" of the trail aligns with the portion that is in the design district. I am curious if by "private development connections" they mean off-ramps to get to current commercial areas or if they mean allowing commercial areas actually on the trail.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

bulletfedora
In reply to this post by Durham_Transplant
Was there any discussion of having a bond offering to fully fund the trail as originally envisioned?
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Durham_Transplant
I’m not sure if that’s been discussed or not. I’m not a municipal finance expert but from what I’ve seen I think the amount in question would be fairly small for a bond offering on its own. City of Raleigh is undertaking a big fundraising drive for its Dix Park project that includes a mix of general public donations, large gifts from individuals/corporations and a large bond offering to be voted on later this year that would cover a number of projects across the system. Bank of America and Truist alone have committed $3MM in donations to that effort. Would think you could come up with a few million for this project across some corporate and individual benefactors.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

Dave @ Building Bull City
Administrator
Google provides funding and their new office goes right on the trail. Love it.
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Re: Is the Durham Rail Trail Doomed to Mediocrity?

bulletfedora
Completely agree