Friday, April 11, 2008

We don't want no stinkin' Chapel Hill

Order up! We’d like one re-do on University City, please. Make it over easy with a college-town feel. Not in the image of some clique, mind you, such as (dare we say it?) Chapel Hill or Madison, Wis.

Instead, let’s break away and be distinctive. How about a place that’s not afraid to be both urban and suburban, a place with new history that’s walkable, safe and hip?

That’s the central vision offered by readers of this blog for making the area around UNC Charlotte feel and function more like a university community. Currently, it’s sterile and congested. You’d hardly know the fourth largest campus in the state is there.

What would change that? Readers recommended the following:

  • Sidewalks and bike lanes

  • A light rail line through campus.

  • Redo John Kirk Road with stores and nightlife.

  • Bulldoze apartments and replace them with neighborhoods.

  • A campus radio station (hey, that would be cool.)

This post sums it up:

“I think it is simple, stop building developments with giant parking lots around them so no one wants to ride or walk and build wide highways around the university. Get the light rail line through the campus and build some Southend type development around it. Also, fix the roads that surround the university with landscaped medians, bike lanes and wide sidewalks. Create pedestrian refuges and bulbouts (sic) to slow down traffic rather than trying to get traffic out to Cabarrus County as fast as possible."

(To read other thoughts on what makes a college town a college town, check out Get Schooled).

Here’s the question: What will it take to get additions such as sidewalks and bicycle lanes done? Should the university or the city take the lead?


Anonymous said...

I'm a Carolina alum and I adore Chapel Hill. I'm also a Charlotte native who wants the best for UNCC, including a personality and reputation of its own. (This is all good for Charlotte, the city.)

UNCC should study what similarly-situated universities have done. Though many are older, the list might include Richmond, Louisville, UAB, USF.

I'd support a tax to better fund UNCC but I know the state funding mechanism isn't set up for that.

And yes, UNCC could use a WXYC :)

University of Charlotte said...

Great Article! It is time for the city, county, business community, and the University to partner together to assure this gets done pronto.

Anonymous said...

UNCC's student radio station was stolen by WFAE, and the administrators loved it. This is why, as a UNCC alumnus, I listen to WFAE and donate nothing to its drives. It was founded on my student fees. I owe them nothing. Maybe UNCC could have a better college feel if it were to leave UNC-CH system. We are the fourth largest school in the state system of 16 and yet 13th in appropriations. I hate Chapel Hill. Glad they lost so bad to Kansas.

Timmay said...

What's holding Charlotte back is the unfair funding practices by the NC Board of Governors. There are countless examples of how Charlotte gets shortchanged. Coming from a student; if UNC Charlotte is going to become a great research university that's able to serve the community the way it should, then we're going to need the help of the Charlotte community.

Anonymous said...

To start, I think the University needs to put some pressure on the city.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad they are re-doing the main entrance. Now we will have a new, beautiful, grand entrance to our school. Does anyone know when it will be finished? They have done a lot of work so far.

Oh, and bring back the radio station!

Anonymous said...

I live in the high rises and nothing about the new entrance is grand or beautiful, especially the construction noises that start at 7 am daily since November or the number of times I've had to have my car realigned because apparently everyone at UNCC has an off roading capable car and can handle the uneven gravel roads and 3 inch drops and pick ups where they've laid the brick. The new things that are being erected also resemble a prison look out post (which I guess is appropriate for all the crime on and around campus). Step it up city and state.