Published Somedays

So This Is How It Ends

(updated: Apr 29, 2008)

I was going to post the video of the Critical Mass ride but I wanted to get this out first.

You could read the desperation in the professor's letter that was posted to the site today. We rode there last week after the hailstorm, which turns out was quite foreboding after all. I wanted to make the Leland Bike Plan meeting at 6pm but I had to swing by the University to check it out for myself.

I saw the most asinine display of tokenism and ignorance I have ever seen. They put this black fencing up around the area they are going to "convert" into a parking garage. The purpose of the black fence was to cordon off the woodland animals. It took me a while to figure out what the buckets were doing along the fence buried in the ground, until I realized that their plan is to try to chase the animals to the fence and when they fall in the bucket to grab them. I swear I am not making this up.

Spin: It's not a parking garage, it's an "animal relocation project". How about a "stupid human relocation project".

I don't know how they're going to move the birds and their nests. I'll just sum it up - they are all going to die to make room for more cars. They are going to end up as roadkill somewhere or slowly starve to death. There it is. Welcome to the United Parking Lot of America.

Now why can't the people from UNCW responsible for this shortsighted poorly planned debacle just stand up and, you know, tell it like it is? "Hi, we run the University. We are going to implement this Master Plan and we don't give a shit what you think or about trees, wildlife, dependence on fossil fuels, global warming, or anything else other than how we can make more money. Thank you."

No, then they would have at least one good quality about them. But you can't have that. They are schisters and weasels and they deserve to suffer what's coming to the rest of humanity in the future as a result of their actions. And the actions of millions of others, which simply shifts the true costs into the future.

The fence. In NYC they call this "art". Look at all those poor cars that need a new home.

So after all the letters and emails and appeals and discussions they are not going to revisit or delay their master plan one iota. As soon as the students are gone, it's back to the magical tree-munching show. It's just asinine.

My problems with their plan are many: (1) They didn't seriously consider the numerous alternatives to the location of their precious parking garage, (2) the environmental study could have been sketched in the dirt with a stick (e.g., bulldozers come in this end, animals run out this end), (3) no consideration for alternative transportation (bikes or shuttles), and (4) they ignored their own faculty. It is a brain dead plan from an organization that is allegedly dedicated to higher education and thought.

A university is supposed to show forward thinking and to be working on solving tomorrow's problems today, kind of like where I went to school, Carnegie Mellon (sorry, shameless plug there). But all they are really teaching is "Do as I say, not as I do". If they see the fossil fuel and carbon constrained future and all they can come up with is a big parking garage, I tell you, we're all fucked.


One last look at the woods before the university tears them down to make room for more parking.

Former trails here. This is what your future looks like in the United Parking Lot of America. Umm, why couldn't they put the parking garage here, for example, instead of tearing up more forest?

Filed Under: General Entries > North Carolina > Wilmington

Google Earth (.kml) files and GPS eXchange (.gpx) files.


1. Tommy said...

I saw that this past week when I took my daughter out there to ride the trails. I was laughing so hard at those signs I almost fell off my bike. Even my daughter was scratching her head as to the reasoning behind it. It's more about keeping people out of the area than it is about wildlife relocation. If they actually gave 2 shits about the wildlife that lives in that section of forest they would have built the parking garage over one of the many existing parking lots on the campus. I wonder did they even consider that? It's just a bunch of stupid trees, some silly trails, and some pesky animals, and the people who care about that forest are just a bunch of tree hugging, hippy, trouble makers to the powers that be. The persuit of the all mighty american dollar has won yet another battle. Money talks and you know the rest. But the good thing is that they are going to leave the rest of the forest alone..... Yeah right!!

Apr 29, 2008 @ 8:06 PM

2. Randy said...

I hate everything to do with that university. They make me sick, and of course the students are doing very little. I really didn't believe the bucket thing either. We need to get the news in on this quick. It can't be over. The board member who recommended this plan is the same guy who got the contract to do the relocation. Someone needs to go to jail for this corruption.

Apr 29, 2008 @ 8:12 PM

3. MLB said...

Don't you love the irony in this. A university with a strong focus on Biology and Environmental Science destroying the very things they educate their students on how to protect.(I sat in those classes).I agree that the university and the whole city needs to look closer at alternate means of transportation around town and to the schools.It's good to see all of the students on bikes,skateboards , and on foot commuting from the various housing projects on Racine to the college.They seem to "get it".Maybe someday the people they send their tuitions to will get it too.

Apr 29, 2008 @ 8:16 PM

4. Reno said...

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~ Dylan Thomas

Apr 29, 2008 @ 8:21 PM

5. Sean said...

A Environmental Sciences teacher told me that the Chancellor wants to ban bike riding on the main walkway in campus. Being a former student and riding my bike down it almost everyday I can't see where all the bikes would go. Apparently this might be done because the Chancellor doesn't like the "look" of all the bikes on the walk....sounds like UNCW has some great leadership....

Apr 29, 2008 @ 9:12 PM

6. Sir Bikes said...

Forgot to mention...after UNCW, I headed on down to Leland for the Bike Plan Presentation. I guess it wasn't promoted too well because only two us showed up - myself and Dave from the CFC. But, we did talk about the possibility of a BMX track in Leland. So, if I can get some info to them they'll add it to the final plan, which would be awesome. If you want to see what the plan looks like, go here:

Apr 29, 2008 @ 9:21 PM

7. Sir Disappears-a-lot said...

I say we ride UNCW all we can, while we still can....

Apr 30, 2008 @ 4:42 AM

8. CJ said...

i have just started biking and know very little about this subject, but i am going to be going to UNCW and this is a true outrage. Something i find interesting and maddening is that unlike most other colleges, instead of minimizing the amount of vehicles on campus, they allow freshman(the largest class) living on campus to own and drive their own cars thus necessitating the need for more parking which equals more money for them. This also provides issues for people like me who have to commute by car 35 miles or more because we cant afford to live on campus and attend college at the same time. To me this appears to be a lose-lose situation that has been solved in the worst way possible. not to mention i haven't been able to ride those trails and from what i hear, they were nice trails. now i will never get the chance thanks to money grubbing authorities.

and as far as banning bikes goes, i aint gonn stop, their descion to get mixed up with me. and they wont like it.

Apr 30, 2008 @ 9:33 AM

9. Sirbikes said...

They chose the path of least resistance. All these actions will add up and create serious future problems for people that had nothing to do with it. I hope we start seeing significant declines in fossil fuels soon. That seems to be the only thing that will stop us from paving over everything and start thinking about alternative living arrangements.

Apr 30, 2008 @ 10:29 AM

10. Mike said...

I agree. Necessity is the mother of all innovations (is that how it goes?) and so until there is an urgent (in the eyes of the powers at be) need to do something else, not a damn thing will change.

Apr 30, 2008 @ 11:01 AM

11. Sir Bikes said...

Here is a response from an engineer at Weaver-Cooke Construction, the company doing the "improvements":

----- Original Message -----

I will be the PM on that housing project when it starts in a month or so. We kind of laughed at the bucket thing too. Wondering if someone may "salt" the buckets so that they find a DUCKBILLED PLATYPUS?!?!?!! STOP EVERYTHING!!!

In the long run though this isn't as bad of a thing as its being made out to be. The environment is best served by housing as many students on campus as possible. This phase of housing will further increase that percentage. Less commuters mean much less pollution from vehicle travel. Anytime you can contain a lot of people in an area where all of their needs are within walking distance that is a very good thing. I don't know if you know anything about the Green Building Standards that are being instituted a lot these days, but this project will be a LEED certified project where as Phase I and Phase II were not. The parking deck (while not desired) is necessary and allows for a much lower Area Cleared / parking space ratio than of a flat parking lot which are all over the place there. Like huge lakes of asphalt. They should have gone to parking decks a long time ago.

Long story short, I know a lot of people are upset about losing this piece of land. However, what they should have been most upset about was Phase I and Phase II. This project is a step in the right direction for UNCW in regards to project planning. Not to mention that they still have 140 acres in the bag that cannot be touched. A luxury very seldom seen at any University.


My issue still remains: with all the poorly utilized space on that campus and nearby areas, why bulldoze virgin territory? If everything they need is within walking distance, why do they all need cars? They are Freshmen. There is simply no need. It's just a case of being lazy and ignorant. The University needs to set the example, and they failed miserably. They chose Business As Usual. For that I give them a big fat F.

We don't need more of the same. We don't need any more shopping centers, retail space, malls, Targets, Home Depots, Cost-Cos, fast-food chains, or Walgreens for that matter either. Projected retail demand "will justify only 43 percent of the new space delivered this year and last," - Wall Street Journal.

And if you think UNCW is going to leave the remaining 140 acres alone, think again. That is patently false.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

Apr 30, 2008 @ 8:55 PM

12. no said...

Regarding the remaining 140 acres, now would be the time to act, imo. I cringe at the lost acreage but I had the same reaction last year, and the year before.

While we have the media's attention, and the efforts of some remarkable students, the focus should be on locking down the future of those 140 acres. And since the group on this forum has experience in those specific woods and with building local trails in general, it would make sense to incorporate some trail planning into the future of those woods before they are a mish mash of loops and cut-throughs.

Apr 30, 2008 @ 9:32 PM

13. Reno said...

btw, the PM for Weaver Cook is not the only person who thinks the remaining 140 acres are locked in as staying green. Somehow that is a pervasive opinion among the few who speak in favor of the building projects.

Apr 30, 2008 @ 9:39 PM

14. Sir Bikes said...

I have talked about doing some trail planning with the UNCW Mtb Club on the remaining 140 acres, but I'm not sure the university will go for it. There's too much focus on it now, and also competition from other user groups. I just can't see how they'll allow a single group to re-route trails. At best it'll take a committee years to plan and decide, and then you know what will happen. At worst, they'll tell you that you can't ride there anymore.

Apr 30, 2008 @ 9:49 PM

15. Randy said...

I bet they fence it off for now, and make it into a walking trail like the one in the middle of campus. I just hope the guys who think there is any "green" way to level a forest and build a parking bag will wake up. That shows the level of thinking invovled. I know my thread would be deleted if I said what I am thinking. What a moron. And we were pissed at the other developments. But is needs to stop now.

May 1, 2008 @ 11:21 AM

16. michael white said...

I served on Building and Grounds over at UNCW for a number of years, specifically because I wanted to see if I could help out in some way. I devoted a great deal of energy to these issues. I am on your side. But of course, it's far more complicated than most people see. Students do not come to UNCW caring much about the forest. Neither do their parents. This will not change. These are the clients. You, whoever you are reading this, you are not so much the client.

Over the years the administration has had more input from students complaining about parking than about saving the forest. Much, much, much more. Your voice is very small compared to the other side. Why should prospective students care? They don't. The enviroment looks fine; it looks really nice compared to home . . . now, about that parking. . .

I remember when our former Chancellor had visions of a large preserve . . . There are plenty of places where that might have happened. This does not seem to be one of them.

The only way to make headway is to change the culture. Had we been able to build decks some time back, centralize development, encourage alternative transportation to a significant degree . . . that would really have helped. Some of that work is actually happening, and frankly you should celebrate it. What needs to change is spawl and surface lots. Get people out of their cars, make the human being the focus of development. The Transportation and Parking Committee has made some serious efforts along those lines, just to do the right thing. I was there. I argued and argued for more bike lanes. The honest truth is that the number of people who actually bike or walk anywhere in this town is not very significant. It's a suburban landscape, about average. I don't think it's especially evil; nor is it especially enlightened.

There are a few of us who do bike or walk every single day. But it's statistically almost a drop in the bucket. That is the honest truth. There is a very large paying public, a whole region in fact, demanding parking, residences, all the resources that it feels a public university should provide. There is also a small vocal minority demanding greenspace. The result is fairly predictable.

Sorry to seem down. I think the cycling community is strong, and I admire all that you do. Celebrate small victories. But: you are small. You are in a culture which does not and will not see things the same way you do. How do you change an entire culture? I don't know. I wish I did. Sometimes I miss Northern California, but that's another story . . .


May 2, 2008 @ 7:39 PM

17. Sir Bikes said...

We're changing the culture. Cycling IS growing in this town. For a while I thought that we have to get out there and try to convince people to start riding bikes. But then I realized that we don't HAVE to try and change a car-addicted culture. Peak oil is going to do that for us.

Mother Nature does not negotiate. People can demand more parking, bigger roads, and more vehicle access. Go ahead. Do it. See what happens. It doesn't solve anything because it's not actually solving the problem - it's treating the symptoms.

The problem is our system is based on constant growth forever, which is based on cheap oil forever. As a result you can't mandate solutions or hope that technology will come to the rescue and solve every problem. You can't keep borrowing from the environment and hope that the debt won't come due. This may likely be the fatal flaw of civilization. We face horrendous living conditions unless we treat the problem. Judging by UNCWs actions and the town's dismissal of alternative transportation, we are unwilling to do so.

Based on my own experience with the bike park, if you build it, they will come. Read my previous post about how cheap oil structured our living arrangements so that everything is so spread out that it makes it nearly impossible to ride bikes or walk anywhere. That's why few people bike or walk, not because they don't want to. We're still stuck in the belief that we will have cheap energy forever. Those days are over. Anybody who still thinks otherwise is uneducated, especially the Chancelor of UNCW.

Connect the residential areas to shopping areas with bike lanes and paths and people will start to use them, and then it will build and build until you change an entire culture.

Stick with zoning codes from the fifties and end up rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

May 2, 2008 @ 10:01 PM

18. C Me Crash said...

I am also bummed about the \"relocation project\", I myself will continue to jump the black fence and continue to ride without regard to whoever decided to close this area off. I\'m not some maverick or anything, but I will not let them take away everything. I will stop riding there when the bulldozers arrive.

May 5, 2008 @ 12:00 PM

19. C Me Crash said...

Also, Sir Bikes, I have some materials you may be intersted in for the Blue Clay Trails. I would like to use them for the greater good instead of throwing them away. Let me know if you are interested.

May 5, 2008 @ 12:02 PM

20. Ben said...

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

-Declaration of Indipendence

What it means is thoes who have the ability to take action, have the responsibility to take action.

Looks like the academic public isn't well intune with their American history!

May 8, 2008 @ 5:29 AM

21. Tony said...

Sounds like there needs to be a CM ride that ends at the Chancellors office so she can see how many people like to actually bike.

May 8, 2008 @ 3:49 PM

22. beachbummer said...

So all of you are sick of progress? why are yopu riding the most modern bike you can afford? why not go back to to a 24" banna seat bike? Th epoor animals will starve? Are you crazy? They live in the wild they know how to survive unlike many of us. i get sick of seeing all these bumper stickers from the tree huggers. I saw a sticker last week it said " daddy where is the forest" The boy must be blind!! Bty when was the last meal you had that didnt come from the grocery store? Please tell me!

May 23, 2008 @ 9:20 AM


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