Monday, April 30, 2012

World classics of bureaucratic evasiveness: DNA's 2010 tolling "position" announcement.

NA 1st's position on bridge tolls is much appreciated in the indie business community, which a full year and a half later still looks to the self-endowed, self-described local revitalization leaders for leadership. And, a year and a half later, pins drop, crickets chirp, and somewhere, a beaten cur moans in pompous resignation.

Develop New Albany releases statement regarding bridge tolls.

We support the success of downtown merchants.

Develop New Albany will continue to observe the progress of the construction of new bridges and the proposal for tolls on existing bridges and release statements as they pertain to the economic development of the historic business corridors. The organization is a tax exempt charitable organization and IRS rules state Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct. As a non-political organization we are in favor of anything that supports the success of New Albany business owners and favor policy that advances economic development. We encourage a transparent effort on the part of the Bridge Authority and political leaders.

This Corporation was organized with the mission to promote and encourage the economic revitalization and historic preservation of downtown New Albany. Therefore, actions that contribute to these goals have been, and will be, welcomed by Develop New Albany. Actions that are a detriment to these goals have not been, and will not be, welcomed by Develop New Albany.

Develop New Albany: Develop New Albany, Inc. is a non-profit organization composed of local businesses and community volunteers. Develop New Albany is committed to the economic revitalization and historic preservation of Downtown New Albany. Develop New Albany proactively markets New Albany to organizations and businesses to encourage the continued renaissance of Downtown New Albany.

Develop New Albany Contact:
Mike Kopp, President

Postponement: Next Urban Fusion Community Garden meeting is moved to Tuesday, May 8.

Michele Finn issues this postponement of the date for the next Urban Fusion Community garden meeting: To Tuesday, May 8. I assume the other information previously posted here remains valid.

---

I have had several people tell me that because of the short notice and it being Derby week, Tuesday (May 1) will not work for them. We are going postpone the meeting for one week: Tuesday, May 8. 


If anyone would like to meet at the garden site and help to clear out Emery's this Tuesday (May 1) at 10 a.m., please let me know. We could also go over some of the things we are working on and help move things along. The garden location is 707 Culbertson Ave. It's behind the green building on the corner of 8th and Culbertson. Come check it out!


We have exciting news! One, the black walnut tree that had damage and was hanging over the back half of the lot has been removed for free. The quotes we were getting ranged from about $1,200 to $2,000, it was a huge savings. A big thanks to City Councilman Kevin Zurschmiede, County Councilman Mark Seabrook, and Irvin Stumler, chair of Keep New Albany Clean and Green and friends.


Another major announcement is that the Emery's building will be moved Monday morning in front of the garden site around 9 a.m. Come watch if you would like. With the support of the community and grants, this building can updated and used to educate anyone who wants to learn homesteading skills like canning, vegetable prep, nutrition, vegetarian cooking, sewing, wood working, gardening classes ... and the list goes on. Rich, middle class or poor alike, these are skills anyone could benefit from. We have many neighbors who have knowledge of sustainable living techniques they would like to share. What better place that at the new green hub. Our local community garden!


Please contact me with any ideas or questions. Also let me know if you would like to have a peek at Emery's and help with a little clean up Tuesday morning. Feel free to bring a cup of coffee and good spirits.


I hope you all have a beautiful week!


Michele Finn
812-949-7198
Urban Fusion Community Garden
Keep New Albany Clean and Green Community Garden Initiative

New Albany First's newsletter for April includes condemnation of bridge tolls.


(Submitted ... is it April, or May?)

It's been a busy few weeks for us here at New Albany First. The AMIBA national conference was held in Louisville at the end of March and what an amazing experience for anyone who had the chance to go. Experts in so many different areas relating to independent businesses and IBAs were on hand, the topics were stimulating and those in attendance left the conference with a renewed enthusiasm for the future of indie businesses in New Albany.

We have a couple of events upcoming that we hope that you'll be able to attend, including the "Be Local" Business Expo held in conjunction with Develop New Albany. Add to that a couple of summer seminars and a plan that is brewing for the summer...it figures to be a really exciting time for NA 1st and supporters.
Have ideas for how New Albany First can best serve your business? Let us know at info@na1st.org and let's start a discussion. We're also asking that our members spread the word about New Albany First to other business owners and individuals. While the board has worked hard in building our membership base, a few words from current members would be appreciated.

Be Local.

The AMIBA national conference is over but the ideas and enthusiasm will remain long after. Along with learning new, innovative ways to market NA 1st and ideas for membership growth, we also got to network with other groups and hope to even form a regional association with both established and new IBAs from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. You'll be hearing more about what we all learned in the coming weeks and months.

A huge thank you goes to Jennifer Rubenstein of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance for all her work in organizing this event. We were fortunate that we also got to play a role in the planning stages, but Jennifer's commitment was incredible. We also want to thank her and LIBA for their continued support and well-timed advice for New Albany First.

The "Be Local" Business Expo will be held on Tuesday, May 1st in conjunction with Develop New Albany. Local businesses will have booths set up for the public to browse through between 4pm and 7pm. Booth rental for NA 1st members is $50, non-members is $75. If you're not a member of NA 1st and want to join, we'll give you a $25 discount on your membership when you sign up for a booth at the Expo.

To learn more contact Stefanie Griffith at stefanie@strandzandthreadz.com or call 502.645.6256

Last month, the New Albany First board of directors asked the business membership for their thoughts on the issue of tolling the bridges connecting southern Indiana with Kentucky. It was a unanimous decision from those who responded and the text of the statement released by the board follows:

"Recently, New Albany First polled its membership regarding the possibility of tolls being placed on new and existing Ohio River bridges. We asked if our members thought the tolls would have a negative effect on businesses in Southern Indiana, specifically independent businesses.

"Based on feedback from our members and from our board of directors, New Albany First opposes tolling of any Ohio River bridges, especially the I-64 Sherman Minton Bridge, which is a direct conduit to New Albany. We believe our local independent businesses, especially retail and dining venues, will be negatively impacted by tolls on these bridges."

We thank everyone who responded to our question and provided comments as to why they feel tolls will have an adverse effect on our local, indie businesses.

Let's welcome our newest business members:

Earth's Art
Creative Boutique
Jimmy's Music Center
Feast BBQ
The Dandy Lion

Thanks to them for joining, and to learn more about these businesses check out our "Members" section at www.na1st.org.

(NAC editor's note: Five exclamation marks were excised from the preceding by means of the handy OveruseBot)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Remembering Wendell Ladner as the NBA playoffs commence.



The NBA playoffs have started, and as always, I'll be rooting for the former ABA teams who made it this year: Denver, Indiana and San Antonio. It made me think of the late Wendell Ladner, former Kentucky Colonel and New York Net, and the subject of this clip.

Guardian: "Can anyone save our high streets?"

Different nation, different nomenclature, same fundamental problem: How best to revitalize downtown commerce?

Can anyone save our high streets?, by Tim Lewis (Guardian)

We're shopping on the internet. Recession is killing the big chains. So what should we do with the streets that were once the heart of our communities? Six big thinkers reveal their plans

Saturday, April 28, 2012

NA tabloid fodder.

For the record, the presumptive "serial killer" was recognized by staff at the NABC Pizzeria and Public House as the same person who dined and dashed a few months ago. Dude owes us $10, and my guess is that we won't be getting it back.

Remains found in New Albany backyard identified as missing woman, by Tara Schmelz (News and Tribune)

NEW ALBANY — Police have identified human remains found in the backyard of a New Albany home on Friday as those of 35-year-old Stephanie Marie Kirk, a Charlestown woman who has been missing since March.

The owner of the home where the remains were found, 54-year-old William Clyde Gibson, has not been charged in connection with the discovery. But he is currently being held in the Floyd County Jail without bond after being charged with double murder on Tuesday in the week-old death of 75-year-old family friend Christine Whitis and the 2002 death of Karen Hodella, 45, of Jeffersonville.

Some weekend housekeeping.

The NA 1st link finally has appeared at the city's web site, providing an answer to the question we asked here: Does it really take months to add a link?

And then there's the Emery ice cream building, finally coming off the blocks -- neither to become the new home of City Hall, as advocated by ex-council person Steve Price, nor to be hoisted into place as penthouse suite, but to be relocated at the emerging Urban Fusion Community Garden.

After years of negligence, the people at Williams Plumbing have started re-wrapping their dilapidated building in fresh new vinyl. Now we'll see if they continue to park their commercial vehicles to obstruct sight lines on Spring Street.

It took a few weeks, but the stump hole has been filled with a sapling, as discussed in this posting: Halfway there. Next?


Appropriate thanks to all involved with making these things happen.



Friday, April 27, 2012

Small business owner: “Adding tolls on the 65 bridge will wipe me out.”

Travel agent Lynn Rhodea (quoted above) sees the reality of tolling -- and then there's 1Si's interim head, Matt Hall, regrettably touting his organization's disregard for the welfare of Hoosiers:

"Like it or not, we have no choice but to build the bridges."

Hall's sad bit of Stemleresque parroting/parody aside, hearty congratulations to Irv Stumler for his comments (see excerpt below) at Thursday night's public hearing to discuss the recently released "predetermined results courtesy of your nearest oligarch" ORBP economic impact study.

Irv's much appreciated candor should give him something to talk about with "clean and green" partner Jerry Finn at tomorrow's NA beautification day.

Local residents call to stop downtown bridge construction; Integrity of economic impact study questioned, by Braden Lammers (N and T)

Local residents acknowledged the benefit the east-end bridge will provide to the region for the planned Ohio River Bridges Project, but called to stop the construction and the use of tolls on the planned downtown bridge.

The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana Finance Authority held a public hearing Thursday night to present and collect comments on an economic impact study released April 16 ...

... Irv Stumler, former New Albany mayoral candidate and Floyd County resident, pointed to the Louisville-based conservancy group River Fields for adding unnecessary bloat to the project.

“They’re not conservationists, they’re obstructionists,” he said. “I’m a bit upset about the whole process. And I don’t think it’s necessary at this point to build a downtown bridge, especially redoing all of Spaghetti Junction and throwing all of that in and expect Indiana to pay because of what Kentucky should have done years and years ago.”

Kingpin time again: Why not cut out the middle men, One Southern Indiana?

As we prepare to select a tenth temporary titular leader for the local one-stop oligarch's enfluffment shop (April 27-May 3), let's look first at this account of a recent posturing seminar staged by One Southern Indiana:

Gilkey among leaders with tolling concerns; Ohio River Bridges Project among the topics of mayors’ luncheon, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)

CLARKSVILLE — Before he addressed One Southern Indiana members on the topic, Clarksville Town Council President John Gilkey conceded his take on tolls for the Ohio River Bridges Project would likely keep him from being “the most popular person in the room.”

As an organization, the Clark and Floyd counties chamber of commerce group has endorsed utilizing tolls instead of tax increases to pay for the bridges project. But that didn’t inhibit Gilkey from asserting that tolls could create a barrier for Southern Indiana commerce.

“I have serious reservations about the impact of the tolls on local businesses,” Gilkey said Wednesday during 1si’s “Lunch with the Mayors” event at the Holiday Inn Lakeview in Clarksville.

Being skeptical sorts here at NAC, we've looked past the performance of the attending mayors and focused instead on the current state of temporary/temporary 1Si "leadership" in the absence of permanent/temporary top-salary-garnering:

In a statement on its website, 1si confirms its support of the entire bridges project — which is the construction of two bridges and the reconfiguration of Spaghetti Junction.

The organization states it supports “no increase in taxes, but fair tolls/user fees and variable pricing for frequent customers” to foot the project.

“It is imperative that our citizens understand the facts behind this support,” Matt Hall, vice president of economic development and interim CEO for 1si, said in the statement.

“Like it or not, we have no choice but to build the bridges now for safety reasons and to advance the quality of life and economy here.”

Let's repeat that final comment by the temp/temp, Matt Hall.

“Like it or not, we have no choice but to build the bridges now for safety reasons and to advance the quality of life and economy here.”

This statement represents sneering arrogance of such a high order that it would be embarrassing even if coming from the mouth of 1Si's puppetmaster, Kerry Stemler ... but perhaps it actually did. Did anyone in attendance at the mayoral forum see whether Stemler's lips were moving as Hall spoke?

1Si power indeed seems to corrupt absolutely, but we have a weekly short-time job search to facilitate. Who'll be the next ephemeral 1Si kingpin, that incredibly lucky someone who surely will consult Expedia for flight arrangements back to where he or she came BEFORE reciting the solemn One Southern Indiana oath of office, which invariably precedes the resignation following a hard week on the oligarch's chain gang?

I would like to announce that I have accepted the post of CEO of One Southern Indiana. I regret that I have to step down on Monday. I treasure our time that we have worked together.



This week's selection represents a long-overdue paring of extraneous layers of control. Why have expensive, salaried personnel at their stations on the Sunny Side when you can install the only douche bag who really matters?



That's right: 1Si's next temporary CEO is none other than CDM Smith, formerly known as Wilbur Smith, whose brand was retired, presumably because of frequent errors in tolling predictions, calculations and suggestions. Like it or not, One Southern Indiana has no choice but to bring CDM Smith on board now, for propaganda reasons, and to advance the quality of life and economy at One Southern Indiana ... which after all, always has been the real point of shilling for tolling.

Previous weekly winners ...

Thunder Over Louisville
Margaret Thatcher
Angry Easter Bunny
Sancho Panza
Sean Payton
Jethro Bodine
Rush Limbaugh
Vaughan Scott
Benny Breeze

Next Urban Fusion Community Garden meeting date is Tuesday, May 1.

(Submitted by Michele Finn)

We have scheduled a meeting for the next Community Garden update for next Tuesday, May 1st from 7-8 p.m. at the Cardinal Ritter House located at 1218 East Oak Street. It is across the street from S. Ellen Jones Elementary.

Some areas we will cover are garden needs and progress thus far. Also, will we be planting this spring? Yes, I believe so. Keep New Albany Clean and Green has helped us make great progress on the garden site.

"The Community Garden site at 707 Culbertson Avenue has been leveled and top soil put in place. Thank you Globe Mechanical for donated use of equipment, Earth First for the donated topsoil, and Irv Stumler for donated time and equipment operation! Now to get the raised planting beds constructed."
~KNACandG

I would like to thank them by inviting everyone to the Spring Clean Up this weekend. Saturday morning at 8 a.m. workers will be gathering at Main Source Bank downtown and collaborating in a community event to clean and plant downtown. Please join me in giving back and helping New Albany shine. Last year I helped with the fall clean up and the kids and I have loved seeing the plants we planted last for months.

If you have any questions please feel free to email or call.

Michele Finn
hoopvitality(at)gmail(dot)com

Selective enforcement continues as the weeks drag on.


On Thursday, I spotted the traffic enforcement truck (is it a real cop, or is it a Sears cop?) following the street "sweeper" and issuing tickets on the south side of Spring Street -- in the instance pictured here, right in front of a retail business.

But just a bit further down the street, in "downtown," tickets have not been issued for months, since the former mayor acted to protect downtown businesses and customers by suspending enforcement of parking infractions.

Sadly, it looks like selective enforcement still is the norm in New Albany.

Marginally less to deplore.



We've been watching the Williams Plumbing building for a while, and a few days ago, the old wretched siding started coming off ... some wrapping and plywood started to be tacked into place ... and yesterday, new siding started appearing.

See: Better yet: More to Deplore. Here's what it looked like for the past three and a half years.

Nash: In the city ... which is to say, in the county.

Undeterred by his approaching ceremony, Matt continues to contribute fine weekly columns.

NASH: City vs. County, nobody wins, by Matt Nash

... In an effort to better understand the complexities of the situation of the recent New Albany-Floyd County Parks Department funding discrepancies, I have attended a couple of meetings of the Floyd County Council. The Floyd County Council is a little different animal than the New Albany City Council with different duties and responsibilities to go along with their different jurisdiction, which I am not sure that very many people understand at all.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marohn: "We built places that rocked back when we had to build them to be financially sound."

"Chuck Marohn, the executive director of Strong Towns, explains the difference between a road, which is a connection to two places and a street, which is a network of activity. He stresses the importance of returning roads to towns for community and economic development."

In the process, Marohn does a nice of job of explaining how the government driven dominance of automobile-centric development has led to unsustainable economic inefficiencies and the breakdown of our social fabric.

Anyone advocating on behalf of the Ohio River Bridges Project or just about any other massive, in-town road (rather than street) building project under the guise of economic development, social good, or the free market is simply ignorant - and perhaps purposefully so - of our history, both impetuses and outcomes. They are rallying in favor of debt, the unneeded and unwise prostration of locals to volatile international financial markets, and a model that extracts rather than enhances the value of place for a majority of regional citizens.

Interstates and highways were meant to connect places over long distances, something they're sometimes actually good at. When we make them the centerpiece of local development, however, we've missed the point entirely, resigning ourselves to the sort of disrespect for and loss of previous investment and work from which it's difficult to recover.

ON THE AVENUES: May daze.

ON THE AVENUES: May daze.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

By the summer of 1987, when I first visited the geopolitical conglomeration formerly known as the Soviet Union, the country’s annual May Day parade in Moscow had long since ceased to be a showcase of international socialism.

Rather, it had reverted to the overt, and was staged as an ideological pageant of nationalistic fervor – a genuine, old-fashioned, patriotic flag-waver for Mother Russia.

For the bedrock Soviet worker, who according to prevailing mythology was the chief beneficiary of international socialism, May Day’s single biggest selling point was being able to avoid the drudgery of the factory for a few precious hours. He’d have rather been on the beach at a posh Black Sea resort in Bulgaria, but what could be done?

At least for a while he could forget about the dystopian Five Year Plan by hopping the subway from his cookie-cutter, high-rise suburb to the historic center of the city, queuing with fellow vodka-bearers, plodding behind the massive missiles through cobblestoned Red Square, and then finally passing the reviewing stand arranged atop Lenin’s Mausoleum for a fleeting glimpse of the jowly old men in furry caps, grimacing arthritically as they waved vacantly into space.

The parade was a choreographed set piece, of course, one fraught with symbolic properties, both for natives seeking clues to the direction of their country apart from the stultifying daily propaganda, and for observers elsewhere, like professional Kremlinologists in the employ of Western intelligence agencies.

These consulting spooks subsequently would examine film of the May Day parade, reshuffle their tea leaves, and strain them through a few hoary apocryphal algorithms. Passwords would be repeated, reports submitted, meetings held, and murmured decisions reached. In appropriately clandestine fashion, money would be exchanged, and a hush briefly might descend, until suddenly, somewhere in the world, a legally elected government was overthrown – first one of the Capitalist paymasters’ choosing, then another selected by the Communists, each in its own turn, serving the dual purpose of preserving the status quo, and stimulating both full erections and full employment among participating secret agents.

---

Long before the decade of the 1980’s, the workers of the world – be they in Akron, Cape Town or Tashkent – already understood that they neither had united, nor shed their chains in any fashion sufficient to exercise control over the means of production.

The stewards of the world’s two great economic “-isms” had divided the planet into manageable spheres of influence, with the non-aligned throngs always ripe for recruitment and exploitation. At the end of a day’s toil, the best way for just plain folks to endure the enforced pieties of a May Day parade -- or a 4th of July picnic -- was to remain under the influence.

As Ernest Hemingway reminds us, the bottle is a blessed means of sovereign action. You first drink from it, and then throw it in the direction of the oppressor. In cases of rotgut, you can drink some of it, and then set the remainder aflame just prior to tossing (see “cocktails, Molotov”).

During the Cold War, Russians and Poles chose vodka. Cubans opted for rum. I always imagined the Czechs and Hungarians to be more fortunate than most, seeing as they possessed beer (Pilsner Urquell) and wine (Egri Bikaver) of a higher uniform quality than produced by Warsaw Pact neighbors.

For Americans, there’d be gallons of insipid ice cold light lager and a few pints of Jack Daniels. Choices from our NATO allies might have ranged from English cask bitter to ouzo in Greece, and from schnapps (Germany) to cider (Spain).

It goes to show that as opiates go, booze is vastly preferable to religion.

---

To recap, May Day takes place on May 1, and generally refers to springtime public holidays in the northern hemisphere, where the cultural tradition began long before Marx, Engels and Gus Hall.

For more than 125 years, May Day also has been considered International Workers' Day, which we Americans eventually chucked to another time on the calendar (Labor Day, at summer’s end) so as to avoid confusion with the Commies. Why? Labor and left-wing political movements first established May 1 as International Workers’ Day in memory of those who were killed and wounded during the Haymarket Massacre in 1886, which took place in Chicago.

In all my trips to Europe, only once did I find myself in position to physically attend a May Day parade. It was in Vienna, in 1987. I got up early and walked into the city center from my hostel across from Westbahnhof, finding a comfortable place to stand along the Ringstrasse near City Hall.

The various unions, workplaces and numbered districts each were represented, and at the end, after the sanctioned social elements had marched past, there were series of menacing, piggybacking trailers: Anarchists, Maoists, random radicals and even a mob of hooded Muslim extremists.

Ah yes, I remember it well. Afterwards, I splurged on schnitzel and local draft beer, reflecting on the way that America’s customarily oblivious exceptionalism has detached its labor holiday from the rest of the world’s.

It’s too bad. For us.

"Do something positive" by helping "Clean Up New Albany" on Saturday, April 28.

(Submitted ... I'd settle for cleaning up the ORBP)



Clean Up New Albany Event - April 28th - 8am - Noon


Beautiful spring weather provides the opportunity to beautify the City of New Albany! 

Come enjoy the outdoors and do something positive for your community Saturday, April 28th to help with the beautification of the City of New Albany.  Keep New Albany Clean and Green, in partnership with the City, Develop New Albany, and the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County is sponsoring a Citywide Clean-up and Planting Event from 8:00am- 12:00pm on Saturday, April 28th. Participants will help plant flowers, mulch, pull weeds, and assist in trash pickup throughout the city. Last year's event was a success with over 120 volunteers ranging from scout troops to individuals. This is a city wide event so help organize your friends, family, and club members to make this year's beautification even better than last.

Volunteers are asked to bring their own gloves, shovels, brooms, weed pullers, and other landscaping equipment. Mulch and garbage bags will be provided by Keep New Albany Clean and Green and Develop New Albany. A grant from the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County is providing the funds for flowers, plants, and mulch. Refreshments will be provided by MainSource Bank and volunteers should meet at the parking lot of MainSource Bank, 100 East Spring Street, anytime during event hours. Neighborhood organizations are invited to organize groups to focus on their neighborhood.  If you are interested in more information or having your club, civic group, or scout troop, please let us know in advance by calling 812-941-0018, 812-945-4332. 

Former baseball player union head Marvin Miller blasts corporate pay.

Even the dunderhead commissioner Bud Selig has publicly stated that Marvin Miller belongs in baseball's Hall of Fame, even if the veterans committee orchestrated by Selig refuses to select Miller for enshrinement. The plain fact that Selig was chosen from the ownership cadre to advance ownership interests, itself a remarkable conflict of interest, probably is responsible for the cognitive dissonance of Miller's ongoing exclusion.

Marvin Miller blasts corporate pay (Associated Press)

NEW YORK -- Marvin Miller says high salaries of Major League Baseball players are more justifiable than the huge income of Wall Street and corporate CEOs.

Appearing at the New York University School of Law on Tuesday night to discuss the 40th anniversary of the first baseball strike and the rise of the players' association, the 95-year-old former union head spoke for 68 minutes and delivered a blistering criticism of corporate pay.

He also said collusion by owners in the mid-1980s was worse than the Black Sox scandal in 1919 and claimed the first baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, may have been a member of the Klu Klux Klan.

Curious things spotted while seated idly, smoking.


I was asked what I meant by this comment from last week's On The Avenues:

... I’m guessing the policeman who lately has been standing idly across Spring from my house monitoring traffic (is he intending to jog after the chronic speeders?) has spotted the wrong-way cyclist, too ...

On second thought, "idly" was not merited, although "standing" still is true. At first I thought the policeman making frequent appearances on the 1100 block of East Spring in nice weather was responding to domestic disturbances across the street from us, but then I realized that he was carrying a piece of electronic equipment.

Periodically he gets the reading necessary to jump back into his car and issue a citation (hence, my mistaken "idly"), and so my question is this: Why the need to stand outside his car? I was told by an observer that the device will not register through glass. Or is it just having a uniform in view, even if I seem not to have seen the scenario repeated elsewhere?

Standing Speed Trap? Sounds like a future Urban Olympics event. Wouldn't it be better to calm traffic on Spring Street through design means?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nationalize the railroad = K & I problem disappears.

Since last week, there's a fresh asphalt ramp in place for the Greenway at 18th. It leads to the next stretch westward, as mentioned in reporter Suddeath's article, with the big question being the disposition of the properties still occupied (NA Boat Club, maybe two others).

K & I still target for Greenway connection; Congressman recently met with New Albany officials over pedestrian use of bridge, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)

With planners hopeful construction will launch next year on a portion of the Ohio River Greenway that will connect East Eighth and East 18th streets in New Albany, opening the K & I bridge for pedestrian use is again a pressing issue.

The bridge is owned by Norfolk Southern Corp., and has been closed to public transit since 1979. Last year, area officials suggested opening the K & I to local traffic as a way to alleviate some of the congestion caused by the closure of the Sherman Minton Bridge.

The bridge links New Albany with the Louisville neighborhood of Portland.

But before the Sherman Minton was shut down, officials saw the K & I as a means to link the Louisville and Southern Indiana greenways for pedestrians. As part of greenway construction, a ramp is slated to be added leading to the flood levee near 18th Street and toward the K & I in New Albany.

Does it really take months to add a link?


Or does the time required to make a simple change have something to do with push-back from the usual endowed suspects at you-know-where? The city's doing a better job of communicating, to be sure, but too much of the communication to date is one-way only (for instance, has anyone else tried to interact with the city's Twitter and Facebook accounts?) As for the web site, in short, an organization is missing:


Dengue Fever: "They’ve Got Those Mekong Blues Again."


Sometimes music stays out there, patiently waiting for you to find it and listen. Around 2010, I bought "Dengue Fever Presents Electric Cambodia" and began learning the saga of Cambodian rock music, from the Sixties until the Khmer Rouge came perilously close to succeeding in erasing this and other manifestations of human culture in that unfortunate country. Only now am I catching up to the band Dengue Fever itself, which has done so much to tell these stories. The documentary is a fine, if belated introduction to the group.

They’ve Got Those Mekong Blues Again, by RJ Smith (New York Times; 2008)

DENGUE FEVER is a Los Angeles band featuring a Cambodian-born singer and five American alt-rockers who regularly embarrass her onstage. On the cover of its new album, “Venus on Earth” (M80), the guitarist Zac Holtzman, with a long beard and goggles, drives a scooter with the vocalist Chhom Nimol sitting demurely behind him sidesaddle, the way a good Cambodian girl would ride through the streets of Phnom Penh. Dengue Fever, which specializes in an unlikely mix of 1960s Cambodian pop, rock and other genres, is a lot like that image. Propriety and smart aleck indie rock race by, blurring together.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Will Your Business Be Affected By Tolling?"

(Submitted by No2BridgeTolls.org)

---

Will Your Business Be Affected By Tolling?

Please Attend Economic Impact Public Hearing and Share Your Concerns on Thursday, April 26th

The Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) has received an Economic Impact Study analyzing the impact of using a public-private financial and project-delivery structure for the East End Crossing portion of the proposed Ohio River Bridges Project. Public comments are being accepted online and a public hearing has been scheduled.

For detailed information on the study and the online comment form, visit the Bridges Authority website, www.bridgesauthority.com.

Make sure to attend and comment!

Public hearing on Economic Impact Study:
April 26, 2012, 6:00 p.m.
Sheraton Riverside Hotel
700 W. Riverside Dr. Jeffersonville, IN

Public comments also accepted during the same time via a video feed at:

University of Louisville
Shelby Campus
Founders Union Building, Room 218
9001 Shelbyville Road Louisville, KY

Questions? Please email or call.

Thank You

Paul Fetter
No2bridgetolls.org
(812) 283-5555 Ext 27
paul@clarkcountyaa.com

Udpate on Drummanard Estate

If you read and responded to our last email regarding de-listing the Drummanard Estate--thank you! We are currently awaiting the outcome as the decision date has been pushed back by a few days.

About No2BridgeTolls.org

We are a broad-based coalition of businesses, organizations and private individuals who are opposed to tolls on the I-65 Corridor/Kennedy Bridges System. Our targeted focus has been driven by recent announcements by the governors of both states to shift the financing burden for all of the downtown infrastructure needs to the Kennedy Bridge and its I-65 supporting new Downtown Bridge. We have formed under the entity of "Organization for a Better Southern Indiana, Inc." (OBSI.) Our purpose is to educate the public of the true impact of the current proposed bridge toll on both sides of the river. We are a 501-C6 non-profit organization that has been formed for the purpose of disseminating information. We are not against the bridges--just tolls or user fees on the I-65 Corridor/Kennedy Bridges System, which will divide our community, be a regressive tax that our citizens and businesses cannot afford, and will adversely affect the local economy, disproportionately affecting Southern Indiana.

New Albany First featured in "New Albany NOW" city video.


Of course, the city's "New Albany Now" is supposed to end with an exclamation point, as every other thought or sentence apparently must do these days.

New Albany First at Facebook

New Albany First web site

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ohio River Bridges: It just keeps getting better. (updated)

From Chapter 5, page 43 of the newly released ORBP Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement:
"Based on the vehicle user cost data, presented above, FHWA has concluded that the Modified Selected Alternative is likely to cause disproportionately high and adverse effect on minority and low-income populations. Although the impacts would not be “predominantly borne” by environmental justice populations, the impact would be appreciably more severe or greater in magnitude for these populations."
No kidding.

It goes on to state that enhanced bus service and other tolling mitigation techniques must be addressed prior to the implementation of tolls because overall travel time and vehicular costs are lower with transit. Again, no kidding. Those lower costs are precisely where we should have started.

And for those who may be naively thinking "but that's not me", both Downtown New Albany and Downtown Jeffersonville are included in the low-income and/or minority areas predicted to experience those disproportionately high and adverse affects.

If you care about those places, that is you.

The map below documents the areas deemed minority, low income, or both and primary environmental justice block groups.

I guess we'll see which newsies and politicos address that as well.


Speaking of the War of 1812 ...

Not the struggle between NABC and Big Red Liquors, but the bicentennial of the War of 1812. I wonder if someone commissioned a bicentennial Crutchfield (i.e., coffee table book) for this one?

NABC vs. Big Red: "You pay your dues and I'll pay mine."


(Warning: Indelicate language about body parts appears below)

Know that I do not sanction discrimination on the basis of color, creed, sexual orientation, physical characteristics or college basketball rooting preferences. However, I draw the line at assholes. All I ask is to be permitted to continue discriminating against THEM. Coincidentally, did you hear the one about Big Red Liquors? If not, last week's renewal of a long-running feud is documented in three posts at my beer blog, the Potable Curmudgeon.

1. Nine years later, and absolute power still corrupts Big Red Liquors absolutely.

2. Big Red's intent to stock NABC is an intolerable provocation.

3. Truce in our time.

Redistricting in 2009, 2012 and for as long as the Cappuccino is frothed.

It has been long established that to live in New Albany is to accept one fundamental axiom: The more things change, the more they stay the same, and so it is today that I provide you with more entertainment along these lines.

We begin with now, or more specifically, last week's council conclave.

Redistricting still a hot topic in New Albany; Work session renews gerrymandering accusations, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)


 ... Mark Cassidy was one of the 2008 redistricting committee members, and attended Thursday’s work session. He took exception with Coffey’s accusation that the committee had a politically motivated agenda when it formed its plan.


Cassidy yelled “that’s not true” as Coffey alleged the committee had gerrymandered the districts, and it wasn’t the first time the two had exchanged words about the topic.


When Coffey was council president in 2009, he cut off Cassidy while he was speaking during the public comment portion of a meeting. Cassidy was asking if the council intended to form another redistricting committee when Coffey interrupted him.


During that 2009 meeting, Coffey said the council only agreed to form the redistricting committee to “try to appease the group” that had filed the lawsuit ...

The late, lamented Highwayman -- Lloyd Wimp -- was there on January 15, 2009, and he provided a report to NA Confidential for publication the following day.

What The F@#* Opie? Ya Ain't Seen Nothun Yet!


 ... Then came the first round of the Headliner of the evening ie; Non-Agenda Items! Our good friend and comrade-at arms Mark Cassidy took the podium to ask this council to consider the US Constitutionally mandated redistricting of New Albany’s voting districts.


If you’ll recall, the previous Council’s prime objection was that action had been initiated without having first requested that they (the Council) do their duty. Mr. Cassidy was merely attempting to abide by the Council’s wishes by bringing it forward again.


However President Coffey was going to have none of it. He cut Mark off in mid sentence explaining that in these dire times there were much more important issues facing New Albany ...

Back in 2009, I missed the council meeting and subsequent eruptions, which were explained in greater detail in a column (January 29, 2009) I wrote for the Tribune -- you remember, the weekly column that was taken away from me when I did my civic duty and ran for council in the hope of keeping the violent copperhead shake closer at hand, and foolishly trusted the newspaper to keep its word?

Hot toadstools and cold cappuccino


... It is incredible, shameful and indefensible. New Albany’s council president refused to permit a citizen to speak during the time allotted for it, and then both verbally and physically accosted another citizen in a public place. Is there any better example of the New Albany Syndrome than Dan Coffey’s skewed perspective of “leadership,” as manifested by these lamentable outbursts?

Here we are, in 2012, and with the redistricting issue again at the forefront (those pesky constitutional obligations, council folk), CM Coffey's shamelessly waving the very same bloody shirt as before. He always will, just the same way as a cat endlessly regurgitates hairballs. But remember: It could be a lot worse, like it was when the Gang of Four terrorized decency and syntax hereabouts ...


Just wait and see what we plan to do with Valley View.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nash: "We continue to argue over building a bridge that is not needed, will do nothing to improve traffic and is clearly not supported by our community."

Matt Nash continues to maneuver himself off the Bridges Authority's collective Christmas card list.

The two of us, actually.

NASH: Fix the Bridge(s) Project

... I would contend that nearly every new job that comes to Southern Indiana over the next 30 years because of the “Bridges” project would be solely the result of the east-end bridge. I also believe that the new downtown bridge will have a negative impact on jobs especially in Southern Indiana. A new downtown bridge with a toll to cross will have a devastating effect on downtown Jeffersonville after years of steady growth.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Celebrate Thunder Over Louisville by pissing on the Greenway!




Literally, no less. These scenes were glimpsed while biking yesterday. Note full space reserved for autos, with the new Greenway section is reserved for urination. Metaphors; they're so priceless.

It's the 9th inning, and One Southern Indiana's bringing in another CEO.

You know, I've been wondering. When One Southern Indiana finally does hire a CEO, will he or she get a "get out of tolls free" card?

Meanwhile, we have a temporary job search to facilitate. Who'll be the next ephemeral 1Si kingpin, that lucky someone who surely will check member travel agents for his or her ticket out of town just prior to reciting the solemn oath of office, which precedes the blessedly permanent vacation that ensues after a whole week's oligopoly-fluffing labor?

I would like to announce that I have accepted the post of CEO of One Southern Indiana. I regret that I have to step down on Monday. I treasure our time that we have worked together.



Well, who (er, what) else could it be for the week of April 20-27?


Thunder Over Louisville (better viewed from 1Si's side of the ditch, natch) takes a back seat to nothing and no one when it comes to chest-thumping flatulence, and besides that, we're told that Kerry Stemler adores sparklers.

What a match! Previous weekly winners ...

Margaret Thatcher
Angry Easter Bunny
Sancho Panza
Sean Payton
Jethro Bodine
Rush Limbaugh
Vaughan Scott
Benny Breeze

Amphitheater fees and schedule closer to resolution as May draws near.

The fee schedule appears reasonable, given that an entrepreneur using the amphitheater presumably could charge admission as cover for entering the grounds for musical entertainment. This would be a marked improvement over the Trinkle error, when Bullet Bob zealously guarded the facility from most uses, and the past two years, when the former mayor decreed that all events had to be free of charge, dooming the community to a steady parade of Jimmy Buffett tribute bands. We'll get there, eventually.

New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety considering amphitheater fees; Administration says it’s ‘close’ to announcing New Albany entertainment schedule, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety has taken under advisement a fee schedule for renting the Riverfront Amphitheater.

Private organizations, businesses or individuals who wish to reserve the city-owned amphitheater will be required to pay a $200 maintenance and clean up fee under the proposal, which was presented to the board Tuesday by Flood Control Director Christopher Gardner.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Newspaper says: "Gonder proposing ethics commission."

I tend to agree with John Gonder, and in the instance of his proposal for an Ethics Commission, I can't say that I disagree. However ...

(1) Can someone/anyone, either council or City Hall, clarify the status of the existing but shamefully moribund Human Rights Commission concurrent with this new proposal?

(2) Postmaster? Don't we have a dot.com somewhere in town?

(3) Wouldn't it be rich if the freshly convened ethics panel chooses Professor Erik from Freedom to Screech? Then Ms. Denhart would have to go out and hire someone to play him, or else just cross-dress like before.

Regrettably, I must skip tonight's council gathering, as there is a pre-existing date with a marketing class at IU Southeast.

Gonder proposing ethics commission, by Daniel Suddeath

NEW ALBANY — New Albany City Councilman John Gonder said the ordinance he will introduce tonight calling for the establishment of an Ethics Commission is intended to help alleviate any doubts residents may have about their local elected officials.

Gonder is slated to introduce for first and second readings the measure which, if approved, would establish a five-member ethics panel.

If convened, the ethics commission would be charged with formulating a code of ethics within three months of its first meeting. The code of ethics would then be brought before the city council for consideration and possible approval.

The ethics commission would also hear complaints against any city employee, council or board member to determine if that code was broken. No public official would be allowed to serve on the commission as the measure is written.

Instead, four people holding prominent positions in the city would be allowed to each appoint one person. The president of the Floyd County Bar Association, the New Albany Postmaster, the principal of New Albany High School and the chancellor of Indiana University Southeast would each be given one selection.

The fifth member of the commission would then be chosen by the four appointments.

ON THE AVENUES: Hmm, that was a close one.

ON THE AVENUES: Hmm, that was a close one.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

It was a fairly deserted Saturday afternoon in downtown New Albany. At around 12:30 p.m., I was afoot near the northeast corner of Spring and E. 5th Streets, walking westbound. Doing so strikes me as perfectly ordinary, but in “Drive Thru City”, nothing’s ever as simple as seems.

I’ve recently concurred with suggestions that in L’America, walking by choice rather than fiscal constraint is a revolutionary act. Here in New Albany, there are further innate complications, such as determining where those relative few who do walk the city streets actually place their feet.

One might sensibly imagine that sidewalks, which are conceived, constructed and maintained to accommodate walkers, would be the proper venue for walking. But in New Albany, the minority of bipeds not otherwise engaged in driving cars and motorcycles has an alarming tendency to wander onto the asphalt, often pausing in mid-avenue for lunch, cigarettes, high tea or random sex acts.

Of course, the garbage generated by these activities is deposited onto the street, although that’s another topic, for another day.

---

The old Coyle Chevrolet property basked in its peculiar open-air limbo to my immediate right as I drew closer to the crosswalk at 5th and Spring. I thought to myself: If the city father and mothers weren’t so busy fluffing and re-fluffing the penniless Mainland Properties cadre, something actually might become of the critically positioned Coyle acreage, which now is being used only as temporary housing for the fire museum (which probably can’t afford to buy it), storage for family yard-sale heirlooms, and as mute testimony to our eternally misplaced redevelopment priorities.

It is highly doubtful that any of these idle considerations were in the mind of the driver, southbound on 5th Street, whose sporty convertible approached the intersection just in front of me. Owing to the generalized distracted cluelessness of local drivers, I’m conditioned on a daily basis to personal vigilance and assumed the car would block my path at the crosswalk. Amazingly, it came to a stop behind the line. The driver was spot-on. He looked east, made eye contact with me, and then studied the one-way traffic on Spring coming toward him from the left.

However, he failed to look west (to his right), at least until he began to ease out onto Spring Street, when I saw his head suddenly jerk to the right as he spotted the blithering idiot on his bicycle, merrily traveling eastbound in the westbound bike lane, against one-way vehicular traffic, despite the plain – if locally unobserved – fact that bicyclists are bound to observe the same traffic rules as motorists.

In truth, I’ve personally seen this particular vagrant bicyclist (he’s not out there for the exercise, boys and girls) traveling the wrong way on Spring Street so many times that I’ve lost count of them. I’m guessing the policeman who lately has been standing idly across Spring from my house monitoring traffic (is he intending to jog after the chronic speeders?) has spotted the wrong-way cyclist, too, but of course nothing ever happens, because after all, this is New Albany (“Enforce Not City”).

Fortunately for driver and bicyclist on Saturday afternoon at the intersection of 5th and Spring, nothing bad came of it. There was a good ten-foot gap between them, and both had time to stop and reassess the situation. The driver completed his right-hand turn onto Spring, and the bicyclist, a fiftyish man who lives in an apartment up the street from me, continued cycling the wrong way, just as he’d been doing prior to nearly causing an accident that would have injured him far worse than the convertible.

As for me, I just couldn’t take it. I called out at him: You know, dude, you’re going the wrong damned way, and it isn’t safe for anyone.

He merely laughed maniacally, rather like those folks who’ve long since ceased taking their meds, and kept right on going in the same direction.

So did I, so do the police, and so does City Hall. In reality, had this wrong way cyclist heeded my advice, it is likely he would have moved his two-wheeler to the sidewalk, which is yet another place an adult bicyclist should not be. Maybe that’s why the walkers end up lounging in the bike lane.

---

We all routinely dismiss near misses and minor occurrences like the one recounted here, and because we do, nothing is done, and consequently, minor problems gradually escalate into bigger ones. Inevitably, there will be a collision, and when there is, all recent prevailing evidence in the metropolitan Louisville area indicates that the driver of the car won’t be prosecuted. The culture of automotive non-accountability will thus be perpetuated, to the further detriment of those who try to share the road.

And when this inevitable tragedy finally happens, I’ll rush to the laptop to channel my outrage into words, but something will nag me, namely my dozens of memories of similar occurrences, and the realization that however much I prefer denouncing incompetent, distracted and unfit motorists, who richly deserve censure, it’s also true that bicyclists and walkers are part of the problem … and the solution.

Ideally, we all should be able to share our use of city streets and sidewalks with some semblance of equality, but in order to do so, there must be a shared sense of responsibility – and as my own experience has shown, one person acting alone, trying to engage the chronically addled and errant, stands little chance of deterring non-constructive behaviors.

Right now, there isn’t any prevailing notion of responsibility when it comes to how walkers, riders and drivers interact, and no obvious plan to improve the prospects for it. New Albany streets are designed and maintained almost exclusively to appease the automobile, and so adult cyclists who either don’t now any better or are plain scared of traffic pedal against the grain, or get on the sidewalk. But the sidewalk is for walkers. When is the last time anyone in a position of authority (i.e., wearing a uniform) made any of this clear to anyone?

Meanwhile, I still dream of the day when we, as a city, decide that humans are more important than their cars. Unfortunately, we may have to run out of petroleum before the discussion can begin.

Halfway there. Next?

On April 4, I observed the blessed absence of a remnant: There's another stump in heaven. The stump in question was whisked away the day before from the verge in front of the 1117 E Spring Street Neighborhood Association, and was replaced with a nice, fresh hole.


It's now two weeks later (April 19), and holes on all sides of it, up and down the street, gradually have been filled with saplings. 


Except for this one. Look familiar?


You know, I'm really starting to take this personally. It may be time to follow through with the long threatened condom machine.

Weatherford: "Statements such as Mr. Schellenberger’s are divisive and not constructive."

He's a Republican, right? Hell, if all us city folks would just be good and REPUBLICAN, we wouldn't have to use a youth shelter at all.

Shucks.

City, county should be one big family (letter to the editor of the News and Tribune)

I wanted to express my overwhelming concern at one of the statements that I heard at the Floyd County Council meeting on April 10. During the discussion on the ordinance for the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Department, elected county council member John Schellenberger stated that “city kids” were the majority in the Youth Shelter that was recently purchased and being remodeled by Floyd County.

I have lived within the city limits of New Albany since June 2009, and as far as I know I have been a resident of Floyd County the exact same amount of time. I consider myself a part of both, as I am sure that most of the population of the city of New Albany does.

In reply to Mr. Schellenberger’s statement, children are children. There should be no distinction between “city kids” and children that live outside of the city limits. The Youth Shelter may have a large percentage of children that live within the city limits, but 100 percent of those children live within Floyd County.

There was much discussion about the tension between the city council of New Albany and the county council at the same county council meeting. I have attended many city council meetings, and there is not a time that I remember that such a huge amount of time was spent on discussing the tension between the councils, not even the 911 merger.

It pleases me very much that the two councils were able to vote on the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Department. This is a step forward for our community and it is going to take time and learning on both councils for the merger to be effective.

Statements such as Mr. Schellenberger’s are divisive and not constructive. I hope that the councils can continue this trend when it comes to future mergers and work on building a better community that is 100 percent Floyd County, Indiana, and the city of New Albany.

— Amy Weatherford, New Albany

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ohio River Bridges: Calculating jobs with calculating people.

So the bridges honchos released their new economic impact study and most of it's not surprising: a) a majority of the "positive" economic impact is delivered via the East End Bridge that we can we build without tolls and b) despite substantial, successful, and ongoing revitalization investments both public and private, the powers that be are perfectly willing to sacrifice large portions of the urban core in favor of continued sprawl in Clark and Floyd Counties. These are things we already knew. They jive completely with what critics of the project as currently conceived have said for a decade or more.

The big news, though, and the piece on which said honchos will undoubtedly hang their chutzpah is the calculation of employment benefits. To wit, the study says that building the entire project will lead to a 2.6% increase in employment in the five-county Louisville Metropolitan Planning Area (LMPA) if calculated through 2042. The LMPA consists of Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Bullitt, and Oldham Counties.

To quote directly from the study, page 3:

Overall, from 2012 to 2042, the Project is expected to generate an average of 17,796 jobs per year and a cumulative total of $27.3 billion in personal income and $78.0 billion in economic output (in constant 2012 dollars) in the regional economy.

To be clear, that's not 18,000 additional, new jobs each year as in 18,000 + 18,000 + 18,000... but an aggregate total of sorts, meaning that the project is projected to create approximately 18,000 jobs at full force which will then be generally maintained throughout the study period. Both direct and indirect jobs are included in the total. Bridge building jobs (which may or may not be filled by locals) count. If someone opens a manufacturing facility near the new bridge, those jobs count. If someone builds a new residential unit to be close to the new manufacturing facility, those jobs count. And, if someone hires a server at a restaurant to help sell food to the new workers and residents, that server is in the mix, too. All told and as previously noted, the creation and annual maintenance of a study period average of roughly 18,0000 jobs equates to a 2.6% increase in overall LMPA employment.

While some of those calculations are themselves questionable, let's assume for a moment that they're true. As the Economic Development Research Group that conducted the study says, it's designed to be "consistent with the travel demand model on which it is based", namely the locally produced one used to justify the Ohio River Bridges Project to the federal government.

There's just one wee issue:

That same locally developed travel demand model assumed that employment in those five counties would, by 2030, increase much more than what's predicted in this economic impact study. And that's if we don't build any part of the Bridges Project at all.

Yes, you read that correctly. Per the socioeconomic data input into the modelling software to project eventual traffic levels and thus demand for bridges, jobs in the metro planning area were predicted to increase not by 2.6% as a result of multiple bridges but by 42% under a No-Action, non-building alternative.

Just as they did for the original 2003 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS, now referred to as FEIS since it was considered final at the time) that led to the oft discussed federal Record of Decision, locals had to produce updated regional traffic projections to satisfy federal guidelines for the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) when the project was recently changed.

How do they do that? Our regional transportation authority, the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA) and Louisville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) use computer software to create a traffic demand model using socioeconomic forecast data. Not surprisingly, the results of such modelling efforts are highly dependent on the socioeconomic forecasts input into the system.

As explained in the Purpose and Need section of the SDEIS, Section 2, pp. 5-6:
KIPDA, which provides staff support for the Louisville MPO, prepares socioeconomic (population and employment) forecasts for the LMPA, which are incorporated into Louisville MPO’s travel demand computer model to estimate current and future travel demand within the area. Those regional travel demand conditions help to predict future travel conditions and the needs of the transportation systems; and, ultimately, to evaluate potential solutions to the identified transportation needs.

Since the 2003 FEIS was issued, a new travel demand model was developed for use in forecasting future travel conditions in the region to aid in determining the project’s purpose and need. The model was based on extensive data collection efforts, including traffic counts at nearly 1,400 locations, turning movement counts at 50 intersections, current transit data, an origin-destination survey, and the latest socioeconomic data provided by the Louisville MPO.

In order to justify building the project in its entirety, KIPDA (and the politicians who control KIPDA) needed those traffic demand numbers to be as high as possible. Setting aside the concept of induced demand for a moment, more traffic demand equates to more need for lanes and thus higher justification for construction. The more people and jobs you have, the more traffic, right?

But here's the kicker, again from the SDEIS, Section 2, pp. 5-6:
The initial socioeconomic input for the travel demand model was based on Louisville MPO’s latest socioeconomic forecast for the region in year 2030, which assumes two new bridges across the Ohio River in the LMPA. However, for the SDEIS No-Action Alternative, an alternate distribution of the socioeconomic forecast was developed for the project model that did not include the two new Ohio River bridges or the reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange. (Chapter 5 provides a more detailed discussion of the methodology used to develop the two different distributions of population and employment.)

The 2030 regional forecasts indicate the changes that are expected to take place on an LMPA-widebasis. Population is now predicted to increase by 15% between 2007 and 2030, while employment is predicted to increase by 42% in the same period.*

* The population and employment distributions used to forecast the No-Action Alternative travel conditions are consistent with the No-Action Alternative transportation network, that is, no new bridges over the Ohio River and no modifications to the Kennedy Interchange.

Thus, we have what appears to be significant contradiction. KIPDA says planning area employment will increase by 42% by 2030 if we build nothing associated with ORBP. The Indiana-hired Economic Development Research Group says employment will increase by 2.6% if we build the whole thing quickly and assume completion in 2018.

Confused yet? It gets even better.

The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement draft excerpt shared above suggests consulting Chapter 5 in its pages to better understand the socioeconomic data. Doing so, however, leads to this:

With text to accompany the graphic (Section 5, pg. 18):
As shown, construction of the LSIORB Project would result in a shift in permanent employment within the LMPA, and a decrease of 78 in total employment over the No-Action Alternative.

Yes, you read that correctly, too. Despite the ongoing, wild-eyed claims of project supporters that ORBP will lead to thousands and/or tens of thousands of jobs, the SDEIS quite literally states that building the whole thing will lead to 78 fewer total jobs than not building it all. At best, a small percentage of total five-county employment will shift from Kentucky to Indiana, mostly in Clark County.

Decades of toll revenues - over $12 million per year directly out-of-pocket as a starting point according to Dr. Paul Coomes, Ph.D. Economics and Dr. Eric Schansberg, Ph.D. Economics - will go largely toward a few years of temporary construction jobs and financier-charged interest or profit. Meanwhile, in terms of lasting economic opportunity, locals will be stuck with little more and perhaps less than what they would've otherwise had without the added expense.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ORBP video summarizes findings of its Economic Impact Study.

Elections are for losers: Malysz subs for Gahan at NAACP forum.

NAACP meeting bullet points: Firefighter hiring, housing strategies, who didn't show up, and who did.

NAACP members question employment standards during forum in New Albany; Gahan criticized for not attending meeting, by Daniel Suddeath ('Bama Radio and the Big Pop-Up)

Though city, county and state officials attended, members of the New Albany chapter of the NAACP used the bulk of their questions to ask about New Albany issues ...

... (Mayor Jeff) Gahan wasn’t present for the forum, and that drew some critical remarks from a few of those in attendance. New Albany resident and NAACP member Marcia Booker said there have been instances of city fire department and street department workers not following employee guidelines, and that the issue “has been brought to the mayor’s attention” without a resolution.

“It’s like he promises he’s going to correct a situation, but nothing ever happens,” said Booker of Gahan, who entered office Jan. 1.

For those who persist in thinking that Doug England no longer serves as mayor, the chutzpah-laced symbolism of the following is instructive:

Community Housing Initiatives Director Carl Malysz attended the meeting on behalf of Gahan, and wrote down a list of questions and comments including those made by Toran and Booker that he said he would present to the mayor ...

Having weathered the transition from England to Gahan, tipped the troglodytes into apoplexy, and resumed attending meetings as official agent of the ruler, surely Carl's up for a new, more descriptive title. We like this one: Keeper of the Compromising Photos.

Tonight: Midtown Neighborhood Association meeting, 6.30 p.m.

(submitted)

Midtown Neighborhood Association Meeting Notice  Tuesday - April 17 - 6:30 pm - Cardinal Ritter Birthplace, 1218 E. Oak Street

Agenda to include, but not limited to:

1. GUEST SPEAKERS: None Scheduled. 
2. Midtown Walking Club Update: Group is meeting regularly!
3. Midtown Changes: Ted is stepping down from Midtown leadership. Let's talk about our future.

Ted
Not following Midtown on facebook?  Click here and like "I Live Midtown New Albany"

At Slate: "The Crisis in American Walking."

I know, I know. The term "must read" is overused.

But seriously, you need to read this series. Yes, it's fairly long, so get a beer, or make some tea, and read all four parts. The next time a roaming politician knocks on your door, ask what he or she feels about walking, and what's being done to make this city more walkable -- which is to say, more livable. Be prepared for those glassy, far-away eyes in response, as those accustomed to driving 45 feet to the mailbox try to fathom an active life.

Keep it up. And keep walking. I do, and you should, too.

The Crisis in American Walking: How we got off the pedestrian path, by Tom Vanderbilt (in four parts; Slate)

This question—what is walking for—is one of the many I will be exploring this week. There is a dual pedagogical imperative here: I aim to explore not only how people on foot behave as a class, but also how America lost its knack for walking, only now taking some stumbling steps in the right direction. The newspapers have been filled of late, from coast to coast, from suburban Arizona to the Midwest to rural Mississippi, with a strikingly uniform narrative, couched in words like “sustainability” and “accessibility” but revolving around a simple appeal: Residents asking that their towns be made more walkable. The almost Onion-worthy headline of one story, “Columbus residents see potential benefits of sidewalks,” with that poisonous modifier “potential,” hints at how far off the trail of common sense America has wandered in its headlong pursuit of the automotive life.

Along the way, I will walk the streets of New York City with pedestrian experts, explore the curious patterns of mass pedestrian behavior, travel to the Seattle offices of “Walk Score,” a Web startup that is quantifying “walkability,” and then look at what happened to walking in America—and how we can put our right foot forward.

Hopefully, it's not illegal for sense to cross the border, too.

Because even when translated, it's not difficult to understand.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Along with numerous others, Dale Moss departs the C-J.

Courier-Journal reporter Harold J. Adams put it in perspective on April 12, via Twitter:

890 years of service and institutional memory leaving The Courier-Journal with 26 buyout retirees tomorrow. Godspeed to them.

Among them is Dale Moss, who I'll miss. He always tried to get it right, and usually did. Dale, if you're reading: I'll gladly swap you lunch for columns here at the blog. Pretty soon, we're going to be all that's left locally.

Dale Moss | Goodbye friends, it's been terrific

You no longer will find me on these pages. I have left for the unsettling world of early retirement. I struggled with that decision. You kept making it harder, kept asking that I keep telling your stories.