All posts in category Downtown Chapel Hill

Sitting on the Historic District Commission

In an interview aired on National Public Radio recently, Magazine Editor Hall-of-Famer Tina Brown described her desk-on-a-treadmill, noting, “Sitting is the new smoking.” That shot a little dart of fear in my heart, because my role as a Town Council member requires me to sit a lot. Council meetings, work sessions, committees, task forces and […]

Economics of affordability

A council member told of going to dinner at a new restaurant in town and having to wait a half-hour for a table. Initially, he took that as a good sign of how well the new business was faring. But once he was seated, he noticed that several tables had been removed since the last […]

What’s driving driverless cars?

As we plan for autonomous vehicles, bear in mind that the car, not the driver, causes the demand for infrastructure. At our Sept. 18 council work session, town planning director Ben Hitchings presented some futuristic ideas of the day when everyone owns, or at least uses, a driverless car. Our starry-eyed discussion focused only on […]

Pioneering the Innovation District

Credit the JOBS Act for two recent Carolina grads stepping off a clear path to success and choosing to pioneer Chapel Hill’s fledgling Innovation District. Then-President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups legislation in 2012 to remove some obstacles to success for entrepreneurs. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s new regulations were finally enacted in […]

Commerce Buzz

Slow-news days have settled upon Chapel Hill, a lull before the storm of students arrives for the new academic year. But the retail world apparently didn’t get the memo. Businesses are opening and closing around town. Here’s what’s been happening: An “urban” Target opened in Carolina Square in late July. Its 21,000 square feet of […]

If we build it, they will park

We walked to our downtown E. Franklin Street church Easter morning to avoid a lengthy search for parking. The Morehead lot fills up quickly, as does Lot 2 on the corner of E. Rosemary and Columbia streets on a typical Sunday morning. Sometimes the Wallace Deck has no room, either. Bub O’Malley’s gravel lot used […]

Parking — It’s not just for cars anymore

Chapel Hill’s parking problem extends beyond where to put your car when you go downtown. A truly vibrant downtown needs spots for pedestrians to park their bodies when they are fatigued or simply want to people watch or absorb the ambience. Last Tuesday, University of Kentucky Professor Ned Crankshaw came to town and shared some […]

Don’t let Google be lonely

Google unveiled its new sign last week. The tasteful, illuminated logo on the Church Street side of 200 W. Franklin St. perhaps quelled fears that the town’s new sign ordinance would result in a wave of garishness overpowering our downtown’s charm. Chapel Hill has been Google’s home for the past decade, but few people knew […]

Launched

You might expect a low turnout for an event scheduled at the end of a hot day, toward the end of a week of hundred-degree days, in a warehouse venue with only a hint of air-conditioning. But as Thomas Edison said, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Last Thursday, the anteroom of TOPO Distillery […]

Loafability

How often do we hear the community — the people who live here or have businesses here or otherwise spend money here — tout the virtues of walkability? Some of us on council are pushing for creating a more walkable town by advocating for shorter block size (300 feet, tops) for new developments, more sidewalks […]