Local News

Durham Rising or Durham Undone?

Posted June 29, 2007

— Durham recently celebrated their new, $16 million downtown renovation with a blowout party.

It has been a week since the “Durham Rising” celebration, so why is driving downtown like making your way through an obstacle course?

From the giant potholes to the orange traffic cones, driving in downtown can be tough. Whether it's throwing your vehicle in reverse or taking the U-turn route, drivers are being thrown off course.

“You get up in here, then you have to turn around, or back out or whatever you have to do,” said driver Bobby O'Briant.

Crews have been working on the multi-million dollar streetscape for the past two years. The project was supposed to be finished in March, but weather and unexpected problems kept pushing back the date.

Bill Kalkoff, with Downtown Durham Inc., helped organize the Durham Rising celebration and said delays are inevitable with any project. But it made no sense to delay the party, he said.

“Certainly, there are some intersections that need completing. We've been up front about that,” he said. “When you're going to throw a party for 12,000 of your closest friends, you gotta pick a date!”

The party marked turning several one-way streets into two-way roads. By Friday, those were still one lane with all the construction. And this week, more intersections were blocked than ever.

“I know where my office is, but I don’t know how I’m going to get there,” driver Allen Mason said with a laugh.

Many of the dead ends will reopen in the next week or so, officials said, but the entire project won't be finished until August.

Kalkoff said one reason they chose to do so much of the intersection road work now is because they thought many people would be out of town for the Fourth of July holiday.


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  • none123 Jul 1, 2007

    I will let the stats speak itself.

  • bus driver Jul 1, 2007

    I have found Durham to be a much friendlier city than Raleigh over the years. To add to this, I am getting my home in Raleigh ready for sale, so that I can move to Durham, get a bigger home and some land. There are just as many positive attributes to this city as there are to the other Triangle towns.

    If I remember correctly, the celebration Raleigh had last year to reopen Fayetteville St. was also held prior to completed construction.

  • Refiman2 Jul 1, 2007

    Durham is Durham, plant a rose on a cow patty, it's is still a rose planted on a cow patty. Put a bull in a slum, it is still just a bull in a slum.

  • ncmickey Jul 1, 2007

    Just another slam piece by the bias WRAL news staff. We all knew downtown wasnt done. The majority of the work was done....but still alot going on. It was a nice celebration, now discredited and slammed by WRAL once again. This is getting SO old. If you dont like Durham, dont come here. Stop running your mouths about how bad Durham is and take a close look at your own town.
    Thank you and Good Day

  • Durham-Raleigh Jun 30, 2007

    "Please don't try to discredited others by simply trying to accuse them of racism. Facts are what are important not ugly accusations."

    68_polara -- I am the last to try to make ad hominem attacks. But please look closely, however, at the original poster. The use of the word "Committee" in quotes is, clearly, a direct reference to Durham's Committee on the Affairs of Black People, a long-lived PAC with a storied history in Durham.

    The previous poster then connects the 50% rental rate in Durham -- which is, BTW, fully in-line with other college towns in the US -- to renters who purportedly take their instructions from the "Committee," i.e., African Americans.

    The original poster's meaning, to me, was clear -- Durham is full of black voters who can't afford to own their own homes and vote the way the DCABP tells them to.

    Not racist? Hardly. I don't make this accusation lightly, but it's transparently easy to connect the OP's dots on this. If I'm wrong, BR549, please correct me.

  • deerslayer Jun 30, 2007

    Got a better headline..Durham Sucks!!!

  • HangOn Jun 30, 2007

    Durham is the bunghole of the Triangle. Why must we be known as Raleigh/Durham? I would love to see everyone drop the "/durham" as most in Raleigh don't want to be associated with that filthy city.

  • 68_polara Jun 30, 2007

    Please don't try to discredited others by simply trying to accuse them of racism. Facts are what are important not ugly accusations. As far as saying yo"u pays property taxes directly or you pay them factored into your rent. Either way, you pay." Kind of however, you don't see tax increases like you do when you actually receive the bill in the mail.With out the bill you don't know how much taxes you are indirectly paying nor do you realize the effects of tax increases.

  • Durham-Raleigh Jun 30, 2007

    "Bond money was overwhelminly approved by durham voters..hp227" realize that over 50% of voters in durham do not own property or pay taxes. They are swayed to vote as the "comittee" recomends. Property owners who pay the taxes are left holding the bill.

    Ahh, BR549, nice insinuation of racism there. After all, you're calling out the Committee on the Affairs of Black People and insinuating that (1) black residents don't have their own opinions and (2) couldn't possibly be homeowners.

    And yes, as another person on the thread already stated, you pay property taxes directly or you pay them factored into your rent. Either way, you pay.

    Wow, just wow.

    If you don't live in Durham, bully for you. Please understand that many of us who live in Durham would never want to live where some of YOU are -- mass-bulldozed, treeless, HOA-constrained, cookie cutter subdivisions for whom proximity to Wal-Mart is considered a bonus.

  • migsander Jun 30, 2007

    It is nice that they are trying to improve downtown Durham but it is terrible trying to get around. I feel that they have too many projects going on at one time. It is very hard to manuver and park because of all the projects going on. I know it's only temporary but it is a pain. Many people feel that this won't do anything do improve Durham's image but you have to start somewhere. Maybe improvements will changes the attitudes of everyone that lives outside of Durham? Only time will tell.