Looking back at 2013, I started this blog not sure if people would take an interest in narrow-focus writing on small-to-medium-size town urbanism in Carrboro, NC. With 11 months of blogging behind me, I can say that people are definitely interested, and that the public and private feedback I’ve received from others indicates that there are lots of individuals who care deeply about Carrboro, and take our local decisionmaking and plans seriously. For this I am extremely grateful, even when I’m on the minority opinion side of an issue. Carrboro is a great place, and I love living here.
To everyone who has commented, emailed me privately, shared an article with a friend or colleague, cited this website in a public forum, or simply been a reader along the way — thank you for taking the time to read City Beautiful 21 in 2013.
Quick Stat Rundown
Here’s some numbers from wordpress for the year:
- Total website views: just under 6,000
- Total posts: 33
- First post: Feb 3, 2013
- Roughly 1 post every ten calendar days.
While I have no aggregate data on this, my stat-observing indicates that after every blog post, there is usually a spike in website views of 50-80 people in the day or two immediately following a post, and while this varies considerably, I estimate that the average post gets read about 170 times.
Most Popular Posts
In order, here are the most-often-read posts for the year:
- 708 Views – On Panzanella Closing and the Responsibility of Community-Owned Businesses
- 291 Views – Five Great Reasons to Bulldoze the BCBSNC Building in Chapel Hill
- 260 Views – A Little More Time and A Little More Communication Could Get Us an Awesome Urban Library that Works for Everyone
- 234 Views – When Your Craft Brewery Turns Parking Into Space for People, Thank Them
- 225 Views – The Wrong Place for a Suburban Drugstore
Most Common Referring Websites
- 904 referrals via Search Engines, 90% of which came through Google
- 625 referrals via Facebook
- 514 referrals via Twitter
Looking Ahead to 2014
As a new year begins in Carrboro, we have a new Mayor for the first time in many years, an election to fill a vacant Board of Aldermen seat coming in May, some major redevelopment projects on the horizon, and a housing market whose economics may force the town to make some key strategic decisions in the next 12 to 18 months. Some of the issues I will be raising in upcoming blog posts include:
- Downtown Access (or TIFKAP: The Issue Formerly Known As “Parking,” with apologies to Prince) – Without question, Carrboro’s attempts to develop a plan to deal with perceived challenges regarding parking in downtown (when we have a brand-new 500-space deck that is underutilized much of the time) will have a considerable impact on both local development and transportation outcomes. I expect to be writing about this more than anything else for at least the first half of the year.
- Public Spaces, and links between those spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. Carrboro has some terrific public facilities- like the Farmers’ Market and Wilson Park. The town also has multiple private spaces that act as public spaces, with the Weaver Street Market lawn being the most obvious example, and the redevelopment of the ArtsCenter potentially creating others. However, the pedestrian grid linking these special places is particularly weak in some areas, and absent altogether in others. I’ll highlight some examples while talking about why linking these places is important.
- Pedestrian Safety Improvements. There is currently a petition being circulated by citizens living along South Greensboro Street to prioritize a sidewalk along this dangerous stretch of road. Despite many sidewalks being built in the last decade in town, the geometry of many of the intersections encourages cars to take corners at speeds up to 35 mph. Correcting these poor designs from the mid-twentieth century will take time, but we need to get started.
- Discussing the new ArtsCenter Plan, which may significantly impact items 1 and 2 above. DPAC is an outstanding success as a performing arts venue, but it also has some non-trivial shortcomings regarding how it connects with the fabric of downtown and the city itself. Carrboro should grapple with those questions before committing to a final design.
Anything else you’d like to put on the urban agenda for Carrboro in 2014? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do to address it along the way.
Thanks for reading!