L ast week, we wrote about the Bird scooters that have caused such a commotion in downtown Raleigh, and boy, did some of you have feelings about that.
We begin with OrionMaize, who compares them to dog poo: "When dockless items (bikes, scooters, cars, food wrappers, pet feces) are left on private property—or even public sidewalks—they need to be towed, trashed, or sent to the nearest scrap heap. If a taxi cab was left in my yard or blocking a sidewalk, it would be towed. Why are these smaller items somehow exempt from this basic understanding? In Raleigh's Seaboard Station area, I recently watched a visually impaired person navigate around Bird scooters left on a sidewalk. These dockless droppings should be banned. Ride a bike and park it appropriately. Heck, you can even buy a scooter and do the same. Blocking sidewalks and leaving what folks obviously consider disposable property in other people's yards is not OK."
MahaaFoodie would also like to see the Birds go away: "Having visited my brother in Charlotte a few times, I think these scooters are a mess. People leave them willy-nilly everywhere, and it's not about 'learning how to ride them,' it's about following the rules. People are riding these things on sidewalks, where they are not supposed to! If you're walking, you feel like you're gonna get run over at any time—and many have."
Matthew Brown wants us to give them a chance: "I love the scooters! Much quieter and cleaner than cars. And they take up much less room whether riding or parking. People are just learning how to ride them. We will get better."
Over to Chapel Hill, where two weeks ago we ran a story about the town's affordable housing efforts—specifically, a mandatory inclusionary zoning policy that has thus far yielded few benefits. Matt Jones writes, "It strikes me that there is no such thing as affordable housing. There is only expensive housing that can be subsidized. Pursuit of 'affordable' housing is a common theme in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and now Chapel Hill. Yet all of these places run into the same problem: They're too awesome.
"When the demand for any product (e.g., living space) increases, the price goes up. Chapel Hill has complicated that problem for below-AMI residents by de-incentivizing development and restricting the supply. It is now at the place that most large, popular cities find themselves: considering publicly subsidized housing. Might I suggest simply removing the handcuffs from those with the means to build, and make Chapel Hill a more attractive place to bring their business?"
Edward Teach adds: "A rural buffer zone is an anti-affordable housing policy. Preventing teardowns of old structures is an anti-affordable housing policy. Limiting the number of units that can be built on a property is an anti-affordable housing policy. Requiring a certain number of parking spaces per unit is an anti-affordable housing policy. Requiring structures be some kind of specific, high-end architecture is an anti-affordable housing policy. Preventing upzoning is an anti-affordable housing policy. Allowing neighbors to kill a project because of 'traffic and noise' is an anti-affordable housing policy. Acting as if supply-and-demand doesn't apply to housing is an anti-affordable housing policy.
"Chapel Hill's one or two half-assed 'affordable housing schemes' are failing due to your smorgasbord of very, very powerful anti-affordable housing schemes."
Town council member Nancy E. Oates disputes the notion that NIMBYism is hampering Chapel Hill's efforts: "I've attended every Chapel Hill Town Council meeting for a decade, on one side of the dais or the other, and I've never heard anyone object to living next to a teacher or firefighter. Instead, I've heard community members pleading for developers to make room for modestly paid workers who keep our town functioning. Citing NIMBYism may sound good, but it doesn't play out in Chapel Hill."