Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How many loops in Raleigh?

In the (urban) loop
Last month U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., wrote Gov. Mike Easley and N.C. Secretary of Transportation Lyndo Tippett to complain about delays in the completion of I-485 around Charlotte.
One of her Nov. 15 assertions puzzled staff at the N.C. Department of Transporation:
“And how many loops does Raleigh have now?” she asked. “Three?
“Why does Raleigh get three loops before Charlotte gets one? Last I looked, Charlotte was the largest city in the state. There seems to be no recognition of that fact in Raleigh,” she wrote.
She may have a good point about a lack of recognition of Charlotte in Raleigh, but I’ll be daggone if I can figure out where Raleigh has three urban loops. We’ve lived in the Cap City since 1977 and can count only a couple: I-440, which incorporated the existing U.S. 1 and U.S. 64 routes for much of the southwestern and northwestern arcs of that loop years ago. The other is I-540, very roughly half of which has been completed.
I asked Ernie Seneca, spokesman at DOT, about the three beltlines. “We’ve got 1.5,” he said.
I asked Andy Polk, Rep. Myrick's communications assistant. Here's what he sent via e-mail: "The three loops Rep. Myrick refers to is if you count Route 1, and the 440 and 540 outer belts. 440 and 540 are the most obvious ones..."
Evidently the belief in Myrick's office is that U.S. 1 is a loop. Take a look at a map of Raleigh's roads. You be the judge. Here's a link.
Tippett didn’t mention the three-loop assertion in Myrick’s letter when he wrote her back Nov. 21 (reprinted on Wednesday’s Observer editorial page. Here’s a link.)
Charlotte, he said, had gotten nearly $1 billion for urban loop funding, more than any other N.C. city, but he allowed that much more needs to be done. He added, “And there is no funding in the plan at all for the completion of the I-540 Outer Loop in the Raleigh area.”

36 comments:

eye_dee_ten_tea said...

If you want "slap in the face" truth, take a trip from Charlotte to Raleigh and watch how the roads and conditions improve with each mile closer you get.

Then come back and tell me how good we've got it here.

Anonymous said...

... proving how truly "loopy" Sue Myrick is!

steve said...

Raleigh is half the size of Charlotte, but has 50 miles of outerbelts completed compared to Charlotte's 59. The newest section of 540, which is to be a toll road is 12 miles in length and will be started and completed by 2011. In 2011, Charlotte will continue to be BY FAR the largest city in the state, but will have less outerbelt mileage than Raleigh. That to me is a big problem.

Anonymous said...

If Raleigh gets that mythical third beltway, it'll probably have to be numbered as I-685 or I-885. When the second belt gets finished, the number I-540 will be retired in favor of I-640. Which means that when I-840 is finished around Greensboro, there'll be no more 40-related circumferentials to assign in North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

Wake county's population is projected to pass Mecklenburg's in 2016, so I wouldn't say that Charlotte will be by far the biggest city in the upcoming years. Not to mention Durham and Chapel Hill. So these two metros will be roughly the same size. Charlotte just has more tall buildings downtown.

Anonymous said...

Wake County may end up with more population. We'll have to wait and see. But, there is more than shear population that needs to be considered.

Wake County is 857 Sq. Miles with a density of 754/sq. mi.

Mecklenburg County is 546 sq. mi, with a density of 1,321/sq. mi.

Charlotte is roughly twice the size of Raleigh and the metro sizes are 2.1+ million for Charlotte and 1.5+ million for Raleigh.

So, yes the Charlotte region is larger and will be for the foreseeable future. In fact, the growth in Charlotte is picking up which may even negate the idea that the larger county of Wake will surpass Meck. It's just that it will be more rural.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but I bet 440 isn't dark

And no way will Wake county surpass Mecklenburg. "Projections" are one man's opinion.

Anonymous said...

Sue Myrick is a sparkplug! Even if she exaggerated, I like that she's sticking up for her constitutents in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

At least someone is looking out for us, this rag of a paper won't. But hey, we got a $500,000,000 dollar train so people can bar hop. Genius.

Anonymous said...

7:04 has it right and maybe 12:19 should stop lumping Durham and Chapel Hill with Raleigh when comparing Raleigh to Charlotte. Otherwise, Charlotte gets to count Gaston, Union, Cabarrus, "not to mention" York and Lancaster counties.

Here are the facts:

1)Charlotte has more people than Raleigh and will for the foreseeable future. Charlotte's population is about 700,000 and Raleigh's population is about 400,000. Further, Charlotte is becoming more dense at a much faster rate than is Raleigh. Further, both cities are hemmed in by other municipalities in their respective counties; likely this will one day soon lead to no more annexation by either city. Note that there are twice as many such municipalities in Wake as in Mecklenburg. So Charlotte's building up, rather than out, bodes well for the long term in population rankings.

2) Charlotte's metro population is larger and is likely to continue to be larger for some time. However, a case could be made that Raleigh metro will pass Charlotte metro one day. It all depends on job creation.

3) No sentient observer can look at highway construction in both areas and conclude that Charlotte is being treated fairly. Raleigh and its surrounding region have better freeways than Charlotte and yes, they are well-lit.

Charlotte is a city that has boot-strapped itself to where it is today. The state had very little role in making that happen, other than permitting state-wide branch banking long ago and granting NC cities broad annexation powers. Raleigh, on the other hand, enjoys the largesse of state government (that means the taxes paid by NC citizens) since it is the state capitol.

It's odd to me that if Raleigh is so wonderful, there is but one Fortune 500 company headquartered there, while the Charlotte region has 9, 8 of which are in Meckelenburg County. Wake County has but one, Progress Energy. I expect Duke to acquire them soon.

Anonymous said...

Jack Betts already knows how I feel about it, but for those of you who don't, I don't think another inch of pavement should be placed anywhere in the U.S. until our beltway is finished. Charlotte is the largest city in the US w/o a completed beltway, and Atlanta's was completed in 1969, almost 40 years ago. They had to wait 10 more years until 1979 to get a 1st train leg, and we have a train leg to that only goes to little Mexico with the southern leg of our 2/3 beltway dead stopped every stinking day for three to four hours because of our "crack" leaders who wouldn't know how to build a decent road system if they had to to save their daughters life. The real problem we have here is that N.C. has the most corrupt government this side of New Orleans, and no one has enough guts to kick 'em all out and start over. Charlotte should not have to be 50 years behind Atlanta, but that is exactly how long it will be before it has one completed beltway...That's absurd, and Jack Betts could care less because he doesn't live here. You should not even be allowed to write about Charlotte, Jack...go home!!

Mike Samples

Dean Stephens said...

The real problem we have here is that N.C. has the most corrupt government this side of New Orleans Not true. We have long since become more corrupt than New Orleans and Louisiana.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not the Charlotte area is bigger than the Raleigh area is actually immaterial. Relative size has nothing to do with actual need.

Charlotte needs more roads, as does much of the nation. The transit tax is being used for buses and rail in Charlotte, but rail and buses will not relieve the need for more roads.

Thus the Charlotte Chamber has proposed an additional 1/4 percent sales tax focused on that issue.

I will have to support them on this issue.

And Merry Christmas to you all.

Lewis Guignard

NC_Native said...

Let's see, Raleigh has 1.5 loops and Charlotte has about 75% of ONE! It's true that while Charlotte City Council bickering over the path of the southern leg of the Outerbelt in the 1970s did contribute to a delay in the initial construction of I-485, the fact that it is now almost 2008 and we STILL do not have a completed urban loop is ludicrous!

Furthermore, Hwy. 1 and Hwy. 64 in and out of Raleigh are interstate-style freeways. As a matter of fact, you can drive Hwy. 64 from Raleigh to Manteo on what is almost totally a freeway. Yet the only only non-interstate freeway we have in Charlotte is 2.5 miles of Independence Boulevard. That's it!

Nobody in the Triangle area should EVER complain about lack of state road funding while Charlotte sits in traffic on dark, underfunded highways that the state won't light and that are covered in litter the state won't clean up! Drive to the Capital City and look at the nice, clean roadways there. THEN - really get your blood boiling by driving east of Raleigh through mile after mile of pine-covered, flat farmland between the tobacco fields and hog farms on nice, wide freeways that your Mecklenburg County tax dollars built.

And for the record, you anti-transit folks, we need a combo of roads AND transit to keep people moving. We can't do it by one method of transportation alone.

Anonymous said...

I just got back from a day trip to my beloved alma mater in Chapel Hill. Even Greensboro has better freeways than Charlotte. Didn't even bother to look at Raleigh since I already know what I'd see. And with the new I-73 opening, Winston-Salem will have better freeways, too.

Does anyone know if any part of I-73/74 will touch Charlotte? On our US74 (Independence Expy)why are there interstate mileage/exit signs if neither touches Charlotte? Can anyone educate me about this?

Maybe I'll ask Dr Traffic..

LNBruno said...

If you look closely, those signs say "Future I-74"

j said...

NC native has it exactly right. I could not agree more. to answer december 27's q those milage and exit signs are the actaull milage for US highway 74 in NC. You will find similar milage and exit signs on 74 west of AShville, west of Shelby, and in Eastern NC. It bugs me that those places have interstate qualitiy roads while Charlotte is neglected. Interstates 73 and 74 will not come near the Charlotte region, however they will meet up with 74 near Rockinghham. Once again, it is frustrating that that 73 and 74 are getting built before I 485 is finished.

Anonymous said...

Stop spending billions and billions of dollars on choo-choo trains and you can have more roads too!

And isn't 277 a loop around downtown?

So Charlotte has 2 loops. Stop whining.

If it's not train envy of Portland, it's road envy of Raleigh or tall building envy of Atlanta. What is it with you Charlotteans?

Anonymous said...

It's true though, take a trip on Hwy 64 east of Raleigh.

It's a very nice, interstate quality road. And it has half the traffic (at least when I drove it) of any of our major roads in Charlotte, yet it has 6 lanes.

Then there is the fact that per capita we contribute the most of any county in the state, but yet we don't get our fair share of the money.

Sounds fair, huh?

And I could care less about anything in ATL compared to Charlotte. Talk about a traffic mess.

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Bradley said...

get over it, Raleigh tax payers help pay for the roads and Charlotte tay payers help pay for theirs, bottom line. I am a Raleigh Native and proud to call myself one! Mabye we just handle our tax-paying money better. If you want more ''loops'' and you really think this would help then start paying for it Charlotte!

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