Monday, March 17, 2014

The non-walkable North Y ... and why you should be disputin' Rasputin.

In general terms, New Albany's "North Y" is where Charlestown Road, Grant Line Road, 8th Street and the railroad tracks converge. Sidewalks of fairly recent vintage line Charlestown Road as it approaches the Y, facing almost due south.

That's where the sidewalks end. Looking north on Grant Line Road and the rail crossing, there is no refuge for walkers. It's a few hundred yards before sidewalks resume at the intersection with Vincennes Street.

The same goes for 8th Street southbound, under the railroad bridge. Needless to say, without sidewalks, the many walkers spotted thereabouts tend to be strolling on the pavement.

A complete (and sadly typical) absence of speed enforcement means that typically, traffic moves quickly. What's more, northbound traffic on 8th is not required to stop, while southbound traffic on both Grant Line and Charlestown Road must stop -- and on widely scattered occasions, actually does. Otherwise, the intersection is a scrum of rolling stops and confusion on the part of drivers.

On the downtown side of the Y, sidewalks don't begin again until the alley north of Jackson. It's a long way between the alley and Vincennes.


In New Albany, 8th Street leads from a downtown junction with Spring to the Y, and in turn, to Grant Line Road and IU Southeast, perhaps six miles away. In any remotely walkable and bikeable city, this would be a natural route for close examination. Not here, because in this benumbed place, ideas are for being kept captive by those presumably in the business of minting them.

One time a few years back I tried to engage John "The Rasputin of Redevelopment" Rosenbarger on this topic, only to inadvertently sentence myself to his rambling chronology about the merits of using the railroad pictured above to run a trolley from IU Southeast to Main Street, via 15th Street, which he estimated might be achieved for a mere $70 million dollars, assuming the track itself could be confiscated.

I repeat this story only to illustrate the futility of attempting to introduce any ideas to Rosenbarger differing from those he's already pre-conceived and nurtured through a 30-year career of purely selective, arbitrary interpretation. Again and again, I've made honest efforts to engage him on two-way streets -- and I've yet to receive either a straight, unambiguous position, or an expression of his usual repetitive bias which is free of condescension.

And so, I've had it. You should, too. Yes, Rosenbarger knows a lot. But in my mind, he isn't necessarily using what he knows to the benefit of the city. Rather, it's mostly to the benefit of his own quixotic plan-centricity -- and as molasses-cum-glacially slow as humanly possible. I suppose that's how you kill an underachieving bureaucratic career's worth of service time, and as such, good for him.

But not so good for the rest of us.

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