Another Durham cyclist has been killed, this time in a hit and run on Roxboro Road

There aren’t many details yet. We know the victim’s name: Tony Morris Turner. We have a description of the perpetrator’s vehicle: a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. But not much else.

I know this stretch of Roxboro and it’s just awful, terrible to be on. It’s five lanes of really fast traffic and I find it harrowing even in broad daylight. I hate to think of riding that road at night, but there is really no alternative to get to points northward from downtown or vice-versa. Roxboro doesn’t even have a sidewalk or shoulder to bail out on, and from my perspective there’s just no safe way to get north of there without a motor vehicle.

I wrote a blog post about getting from downtown to West Point on the Eno last year. Turner was killed around the point where I talk about being forced to cross Roxboro.

Both WRAL and WUNC have incorrectly reported this as the “third” recent cycling death in Durham. I believe this is due to an incorrect AP report which misattributes the fatal October 3 Chapel Hill incident to Durham (the victim was a Durham resident).

Not that having “only two” cycling deaths within a month is much less shameful.

EDIT:

Bike Durham has scheduled a memorial ride and forum for this Saturday, November 22. I will be out of town, but I’ll be there in spirit.

The Club Blvd neckdown plan is heading back to the drawing board

I’m impressed by everybody involved in this one, particularly Erik Landfried, chair of the Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and Jamie Gruener, president of the WHHNA. Jamie reached out to the BPAC earlier this year to see what kinds of concerns the larger community had, and it sparked a lot of really productive conversation about the project.

The Herald has an article, although their choice of headline seems odd: “City: No promises about funding redesigned Club Blvd. project.” While it’s true that the city won’t guarantee when (or even if) Club will be revisited, the big news is that the 2001 plan seems to be dead in the water regardless.

It’s interesting to note that the impact the neckdowns would have had on the aesthetics of the streetscape also drew a lot of complaints. Freed from the 2001 plan’s assumptions, there are new possibilities for this road that could better respect its iconic aesthetic and make it safer for everybody.

Despite warnings about funding and timelines, I have to assume that the Council does recognize that there is value in improving this stretch of Club, and I hope the city is still willing to spend the money to make that happen. I even wonder whether other solutions might ultimately cost less than the neckdowns, which would have faced numerous implementation challenges on Club.

Early voting closes with massive turnout

One does not simply walk into the polling place.

That’s the lesson I learned today at the new early voting location on Roxboro St. We showed up a bit before 11, and found a line that not only curved around the building but also doubled back on itself in the parking lot. Bike parking spots, luckily, were easy to score, so at least we didn’t have to walk far to get to the end of the massive line. We were two of the 3810 Durham residents who showed up to vote today.

Voting is apparently really cool right now.

And I mean that literally. It was in the 40s and it felt a hell of a lot colder with the wind slicing through. What I figured would be a 15 minute pit stop of civic duty on the way to grab the kid a cheddar bunny pizza at Pompieri turned into a one and a half hour excursion.

I was impressed with the large number of political so-and-sos handing out material to people in line to vote. Several judicial candidates were there in person, and for good reason; some of the endorsements split on judges. This is where the Committee on the Affairs of Black People brings its A game: if you want to know who they endorse, just show up to vote, and they’ll be sure to let you know.

Anyway, I can’t say this enough: go vote. This one’s important. I was really impressed with the turnout today, and if you missed out on early voting, you can still regular vote on Tuesday. Get er done.

The N&O has an article on Intrepid Life

The News and Observer has an article on the situation with additional information that supports what I was told earlier this week. They do journalism. It’s good. Go read it.

I do feel like I need to highlight Victoriano’s response when he was asked why he opted not to pay back rent with the campaign funds:

“I specifically stated that it would either be to pay back rent and stay in the space or be used to open up in a different location,” he said in an interview this week. “People didn’t donate money to the Indiegogo funds to pay my debt to (his landlords), and there are other people that I owe debt to and family members and credit cards that I owed money to before my landlords.”

The wording for the campaign wasn’t so candid.

“Wasn’t so candid” from the N&O is being generous there. The campaign text never mentioned the funds being used for moving or paying “other” debt, while it unambiguously stated that paying the rent was a campaign goal. He might have “specifically stated” those things to somebody, but he didn’t “specifically state” them at the place where he was asking people to give him money.

Durham News Odds and Ends, so long summer edition!

It’s been a long summer. Like, really long, and I haven’t managed to do a new DNO&E in two whole months, making this DNO&E also really long. That’ll teach me to go on vacation instead of writing blog posts…

Anyway, fall’s almost upon us now, and here’s the news way back from the summer that was:

Heck yeah, that’s gonna do it! The last DNO&E of the summer is always fleeting and a bit poignant, but these memories last a lifetime, ya know?

Intrepid Life’s crowdfunding campaign succeeds, but the cafe is closing anyway

As discussed last week, Matt Victoriano, the owner of Intrepid Life, launched an indiegogo campaign to raise $25,000 in support of the business. The campaign exceeded that goal and is now sitting at $28,226 with three days left.

And yet, as per their Facebook page, the cafe is still unable to stay open, and they’re now hosting a “silent auction” to liquidate items and raise funds:

Thanks for all of the support. We aren’t able to stay at our current location, so we are looking for a new space in Durham. Our last open at the current location is this Saturday.

To be clear, Victoriano made no guarantees to backers that a successful fundraiser would enable the cafe to continue on Parrish St. It was, however, heavily implied in the campaign text:

While business was expanding rapidly during the spring, it stagnated to such a degree during the summer that my landlords have given me until September 7 to pay past rent or close the business…

… a tidal wave of support from patrons, community members, and business owners convinced me to look deeper, find solutions, and start a Kickstarter campaign to continue the work that I have dedicated to veterans and the Durham community.

Money raised would enable Victoriano to:

4) keep Intrepid open by paying past-due rent.

Nowhere does the campaign text state that the goal is to help re-open the business later.

I’ve never met Victoriano and I don’t know what he was thinking going into this project. It may well be that he was blindsided by something after the crowdfunding campaign started, and that he had to change his plans midstream. Or maybe he knew all along he’d have to shut down even if funding succeeded. I just don’t know.

Regardless, communicating details like this in a timely manner is crucial to building trust and running a successful crowdfunding venture, because you really want your contributors to know what they’re getting for their donation. It’s one thing to shell over some cash to keep a functional business operational in its current form; it’s something quite different to shell over some cash to the owner of a defunct business to help him potentially re-open elsewhere in the future.

Since the project has met its funding goal, the money will be dispensed to Victoriano (minus Indiegogo’s cut) and he’ll be able to use it as he deems appropriate.

What happens to people who funded the campaign? Well, some of the backer rewards can be delivered without the cafe existing in a physical location. But for those backers who were expecting, say, a $50 store credit delivered in September? Yeah, you might be getting that credit in September, but there may not be anywhere for you to use it for a while.

Letter

Dear Council members and Mayor Bell:

 
You have no doubt seen the recent articles in the Herald-Sun highlighting the neck downs which the city intends to install on West Club Blvd:
 
 
This project, expected to cost $350,000, would place traffic islands on the street directly in the path of cyclists. Should this occur, cyclists will be forced to weave in and out of traffic around four intersections. This would create a perilous traffic pattern and one that I believe would be worse for cyclists than the status quo.
 
As you may know, this design dates back to a study conducted thirteen years ago, at which time the needs of cyclists were not considered. I think it’s safe to say that the transportation priorities of Durham residents have changed in thirteen years; there are more cyclists than ever on our streets, and that number grows every day. Club Blvd was subsequently identified as a crucial artery for cyclists and a target for bike lanes in 2006, and yet the Club plan has not been revisited to take that designation into account.
 
I attended a BPAC meeting in which Mark Ahrendsen indicated that the fate of this project now rests on the board of the WHHNA. The department of transportation is not eliciting public input, and the WHHNA board now has discretion to determine whether this design is implemented.
 
I believe that granting such authority to the WHHNA is a mistake, since as well intentioned as they may be, they do not appear to be considering the needs of Club users who reside in other parts of the city. I feel like the transportation needs of myself – and of other cyclists – have not been represented in this process.
 
I’m reaching out to you in hopes that you might reexamine the design of Club, and re-evaluate whether it makes sense for a few people on the WHHNA board to make such an important transportation decision alone. I am certain there are better options for Club that would satisfy the needs of cyclists, pedestrians, WHH residents, and motorists alike, but I am now concerned that these options will never even be considered due to the momentum behind the 2001 plan.
 
Thanks very much for your time,
Jeremy