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parking, museums, and the r-line

Gathered some empirical evidence on parking this weekend.

First, I rushed to a Friday morning meeting, running behind, and took a convenient 2-hour parking space near the office. Meetings continued all day, and by the time I returned to the car, I had a well-earned $20 citation.

Second, we enjoyed a series of short plays at the Arts Center in downtown Carrboro on Saturday night. Negotiated through several very small parking lots, endured several near misses with cross-traffic, and ended up parking many blocks away in a bank lot.

You learn quickly why activists in walkable towns march against the automobile – there’s no room. And, towns convenient to cars are not walkable because destinations are too far from each other. Chicken and egg.

Third, we rode the bus. After family dinner at Moonlight on Morgan, half our party drove four blocks to shop, the other half took the R-Line. With a short jog, across the Morgan Street rail bridge, we caught the R-Line, (“How much does it cost?” “It’s free.”) took a perfect tour of the city, and hopped off in front of Helios to meet up with the rest of our group.

Friday morning conversation was about the new NC Art Museum Expansion, featured in the new Architectural Record. “What do you think?” “Where do you start?” Good or bad as architecture, there’s a simple happiness in having the museum open again after a year or more without.

The museum building is as clean as the published photographs, designed to be unobtrusive to a fault. I’ve never minded the non-urban destination of the museum because the art needs the fresh air, and because the landscaping is so good. Honestly, my only critique of the art museum expansion is that the astronomical construction budget and related financing will burden the institution and its artists for the next generation. In two generations, the debts will be paid, the city will have finally expanded up to Blue Ridge Road, and the monument will continue to celebrate our culture. By definition, that broad perspective may mean that the new expansion is “good” architecture, but the first years ahead for the museum will be lean. I hope we remember to not give up on the Rodin’s, O’Keeffe’s, and Dutch Masters on display while we wait for the museum budget to work itself out.

In part because of the company I keep, I’ve been enjoying city planning lately as much as the vertical built work. Saturday, I walked from our office, through an active Moore Square, to the Imax at Marbles. From there, again with family, we had lunch and migrated easily to the Natural History museum and walked right in.

With the good event planning, the free parking, free walking, free museums, and the free bus tour, this was a very good weekend to enjoy downtown Raleigh.

Andy Osterlund AIA | LEED AP
Andrew Osterlund, Architect, PLLC
313 S. Blount St., Suite 200A | Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 889 6823 |

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