Thursday, March 13, 2014

Gonder on Spring Street: "The open, unrestricted pipe pouring traffic into New Albany."

For many years, New Albany's chosen method of "regulating" the madcap stretch of Spring Street between the county line at Silver Creek and Vincennes Street by White Castle was to erect a speed trap at Beharrell Avenue, and then to pay no attention whatever to Spring for another 20 blocks, or until the point where it passes the City-County Building -- and there, at a spot where numerous walkers struggle daily to cross the street for the dubious pleasure of paying sewer bills or being hectored by bureaucrats, to NOT draw a crosswalk.

Like so often in the sad, stupid and reactive history of this burg, solutions are fairly obvious, but expectations of civic intestinal fortitude far less so: Narrow the lanes, allow parking on both sides, place four way stops at each side street, but first and foremost, adhere publicly to a principled policy stating that quality of life for citizens inhabiting this area along Spring Street is equal to that expected on Eastridge or Rainbow Drive. It applies to the slumlord properties lining it, and to the cars speeding down it. If it means hindering the progress of overweight, double-long semis, so be it.

Hopefully, each time I've spoken with him lately, David Duggins has mentioned the necessity of reformatting Spring Street along lines explored by John in the essay linked below. Jeff Speck likely will provide a strong echo, and then, as so often has been the case in the past, the city will be compelled to act, or to slink.

That's the intersection that frightens me most.

Nip It. Nip It In The Bud.

... I don't share Speck's background, education , or experience, yet I think I know something Mr. Speck doesn't know yet. That's not a knock on him, he is yet to begin his study, so he hasn't looked in depth at this place we call home.

What I think I know is that Spring Street is the open, unrestricted pipe pouring traffic into New Albany. Once that traffic pours into town, it causes traffic problems there, and down the line; problems we have earlier attempted to deal with by using parking restrictions and one-way streets. In the other two lanes, the traffic is flowing unrestricted the other way, out of town. It also creates traffic problems, and these we addressed by eliminating on-street parking. Put both those high volume corridors together and you have an inhospitable place for people. Make someplace inhospitable to people, and it becomes a place where property values fall, rental housing dominates, and the neighborhood slips further and further toward the point of no return.

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