Koelemay on Harrisonburg

Brent Finnegan -- January 23rd, 2007

In a wonk column on Bacon’s Rebellion yesterday, Doug Koelemay, a Northern Virginia resident (and managing director of a huge PR firm up there) raved about Harrisonburg’s so-called “new economy.” From the column, entitled Investing for a New Economy:

Who is going toe-to-toe with federal bureaucrats against a one-size-fits-all approach to educational achievement? Who is attracting a new research facility? Who is introducing a new undergraduate program? If you are thinking the Northern Virginia region, you’d be right most anytime. But other regions of the state are moving the same way to meet the demands of a new economy. Recent developments in Harrisonburg, the Shenandoah Valley and James Madison University (JMU) provide a great example.

If you read this blog regularly, you already know my take on the whole SRI thing. But still, Koelemay’s piece is an interesting read.


8 Responses to “Koelemay on Harrisonburg”

  1. ktr001 says:

    My only concern with SRI coming and JMU growing, is the fear that all this growth isn’t happening just a bit too fast. Anyone who has had to drive on Port Rd. between 3 and 6 p.m. or so knows that something has to be done about the horrednous traffic situation, of which Port is not the only example of. Eventually, the city will have to expand roads or install stoplights (because that’s one thing we DEFINETLY need more of). Roadwork for a traffic problem once it’s out of hand will only make the already arduous task of driving across this town even worse.

    JMU has already been forced to turn old apartments and a hotel into student housing, yet they’re going to increase admissions next year. It’s a little like trying to buy a size 7 shoe because they’re just so darn appealing, even though you really wear a 9.

    I guess I’m just saying that expansion is wonderful, as are the new jobs and college students coming to Harrisonburg, but we’re going to have hundreds, maybe even thousands more people than we have planned our community for.

  2. finnegan says:

    At that meeting at the library last week, there was an interesting exchange between Megan (Republitarian’s Wife) and Jim, who recently retired and moved here from NoVa. The gist was that traffic problems in H’burg are relative, depending on whether you grew up around here (in which case it’s getting really bad) or moved here from NoVa (in which case it’s great).

    For the record, I don’t have any problem with more traffic lights, as long as they’re placed at the right intersections, and placed and triggered/timed properly. The problem is that many of the lights are not — such as the one at the intersection of Reservoir and Neff, or the cluster at E Market/Country Club/Vine.

  3. Barnabas says:

    Roundabouts = Awesome
    The last time I drove through one I was hung over in Ireland . So I think that maybe, just maybe that if I, being hung over driving on the opposite side of the road and driving on the opposite side of the car, can figure it out that just maybe the people in Harrisonburg could figure them out too. Maybe.

  4. writergirl says:

    You’re giving local drivers a lot of credit Barnabas! I don’t think most could figure it out without a lot of accidents! Maybe I’m wrong though. This town was certainly not planned to hold the JMU that we have now or the one that we will have in the future. I’m one of the few people who has always lived here and still don’t think we have a huge traffic problem. It is certainly getting worse though. I remember a time when you could actually tell a difference between when JMU was in session and when it wasn’t. However, ever time I even attempt to go up north I’m still thrilled to live where I do.

  5. finnegan says:

    I’ve written about roundabouts on here before. Studies have conclusively shown that roundabouts drastically reduce the number of fatal accidents (50 – 90 percent, depending on the study). It’s just one of those things, like switching to metric: it makes sense, but Americans don’t go for it.

  6. writergirl says:

    Oh I don’t think they’d be fatal accidents, it would just be a lot of those typical stupid people can’t drive accidents like I was in the other day when it snowed.

  7. writergirl says:

    Oh and to clarify, someone hit me :)

  8. finnegan says:

    Hope you’re ok, writergirl.

    Snow doesn’t bother me, but when it’s icy like it was Sunday night, I try to avoid driving altogether.

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