Thursday, September 05, 2013
Bob Caesar needs to get the hell out of modernity's way.
Allow me to begin my council recap by profusely apologizing to Greg Phipps. I began my comments at tonight's council meeting by noting that on nights like these, I regret all the bad things I ever said about Steve Price.
Emphatically, this was NOT aimed at Greg, who did the community a great service by actively transforming an otherwise routine assembly into a discussion about two-way streets. He brought Jeff Speck's book, and he advocated. Good work.
Of course, I was referring to the enduring civic and political embarrassment that is Bob Caesar.
Caesar on the current one-way street grid: "If it works, you should keep what you have."
Really? The way downtown "worked" all those wasted years?
The way Endris Jewelers single-handedly revitalized New Albany all those same squandered years?
In reality, a clear majority of the new generation of local indie business people who are putting New Albany back on the map are for two-way streets. Bob might try talking to them some time, rather than heading over to Chick fil-A.
The bizarre tragedy of Caesarism is that his business is precisely the sort to benefit from two-way conversions and other street grid changes. His store survived years of a moribund downtown because customers returned. Caesar seems to believe that he'll have no remaining loyal patronage if they cannot turn left onto Pearl and park smack on the street in front of his door. But all those years, they already were making a special effort to come find him. No one ever slammed on the brakes and said, "Hey! Let's buy a ring!" His store always has been an urban destination business. It does not depend on suburban conditions, and never did. And yet he worships suburban conditions. It makes no sense, and it strikes me as sad, except that he seems determined to keep us all mired in the Eisenhower Administration.
If Bob Caesar is a Democrat, Kim Jong Il is Mother Teresa.
But I can see why Caesar is confused, given that all he really knows on a daily basis is commuting by car from Pearl Street to his home in Silver Hills, and as such -- amid his protests that any money spent on rationalizing the street grid would be too much -- shall we remember (again) just how much it cost to repair Spring Street Hill ... his way home ... not once, but twice?
Caesar might not be the only council member who'll claim "zero benefit" to two-way streets, calming, and complete streets. Scott Blair sounds hazy, and Kevin Zurschmiede's assertion that drivers won't go out of their way to avoid dollar tolls is twice mistaken.
Caesar does prove that it's amazingly easy not to see the nose on his face when he's wearing blinders. He's the business owner, and the one without an excuse.
He needs to get the hell out of modernity's way.