Steve Barsby: Guiding growth

June 1, 2013 

Guiding growth

I understand the concerns of the recent letter writer who likes Cary just as it is. I liked my town of 1,400 in Oregon during the 1950s, too, and I’ve liked every place I’ve lived since. None of those places, though, is the same as when I lived in them.

Cary is changing, too. The question is, do we let change happen willy-nilly, or do we guide it?

New Urbanism is not a rubber mold one-size-fits-all. It simply recognizes how city centers that are inviting and accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists are nicer places to live. Commercial and residential property values reflect that, as hundreds of towns and cities in the U.S. have discovered.

I live in central Cary. Since January 2012, my Garmin has logged over 1,100 miles of walking, most within two miles of Chatham and Academy streets. I can say with some authority that Cary is not inviting to pedestrians. Sidewalks often are non-existent or end suddenly. Fast-moving traffic is too close and too often won’t yield to pedestrians.

Try walking east on Chapel Hill Road from North Academy, crossing Harrison between Chapel Hill Road and Maynard, crossing Walnut between South Kildaire Farm Road and Cary High School, or even walking from City Hall to the Chamber of Commerce.

We’re fortunate to have a forward-looking Town Council, an economic development director and organizations working to revitalize Cary “downtown.” Not every idea works, but they are trying and often succeeding.

Steve Barsby

Cary

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