My land use and environmental policy class met this morning at the Starbucks in the Eastgate shopping center in Chapel Hill. We met with a DCRP alum who gave us some insight into the development that’s happening in the area, their new form-based code, and context for the repeated flooding they’ve experienced. Part of the reason for the flooding (although as our speaker pointed out, a lot of it has to do with what’s happening upstream) is that the entire shopping center is built on top of Booker Creek. We spent a few minutes looking at the huge culvert where the creek runs underneath the parking lot.

My biggest takeaway was that although single-family residential development has floodplain restrictions (e.g., new residential development can’t go in a greenfield that’s a floodplain), commercial development has no such restriction. While the owners of Eastgate couldn’t necessarily build in the same manner today because of the new form-based code and other stormwater management regulations for protecting the Booker Creek watershed, they wouldn’t be prohibited from developing in the area solely based on its potential (and history) of flooding.

Trip: Carrboro to Eastgate
Total trip time: 40 minutes (15 walking, 15 waiting, 10 riding)
Total trip distance: 3.4 miles
Mode: Bus
Line: CL
Frequency: Approx. once per hour
Cost: $0
Level of crowding: Nearly empty
Trip quality: 5 stars
+ for directness, on-time performance, speed, and price

Trip: Eastgate to UNC Campus
Total trip time: 13 minutes (4 walking, 1 waiting, 8 riding)
Total trip distance: 3 miles
Mode: Bus
Line: D
Frequency: Every 20 minutes
Cost: $0
Level of crowding: Moderate
Trip quality: 5 stars
+ for convenience, on-time performance, frequency, speed, and price

The featured image is not of Eastgate Shopping Center. Although this is maybe what my subconscious sees when I think about going there.