Then and now, the metal pipe collar pictured above, located in the center of the sidewalk between Regalo and Bella Roma, protrudes an inch or so from the paving stones. It's plenty enough to be a trip hazard for a walker, a fact readily grasped by someone's decision last year to temporarily cover the collar with an orange pylon.
Unfortunately, this isn't be any stretch the only such booby trap hereabouts.
For instance, at the southeast corner of 10th and Elm, roughly two inches of an old, sheared-off signpost protrudes above the level of the sidewalk -- just a block away from S. Ellen Jones School, where until recently flashing red lights had been burned out for months, and immediately adjacent to a busy intersection on a one-way arterial street, with one faded crosswalk to delineate four potential crossing points.
Such is New Albany's stellar daily commitment to walkability. Attention to detail -- you know, the small things -- isn't what you get when the people in charge never actually walk, or ride a bicycle, or take seriously the preconditions for a plan like Jeff Speck's.
Back to the metal collar sticking out of the sidewalk between Bella Roma and Regalo.
My reason for posting the photos on July 19, 2014, was because someone had tripped, fallen down, and been injured. According to a friend of a friend, there were two replies when this was brought to the attention of city officials:
"There's nothing we can do" and "notify the storefront."
But the city owns the sidewalks, right?
These answers from last summer curiously echo the Bored of Works' yawning dismissal of new downtown handicapped parking spots as utterly impossible and absolutely unprecedented in spite of dozens of them already scattered throughout the city.
"It's not an option," ruled the bored political appointees, in what might henceforth be known as the Gahan Cop-Out Doctrine.
It's been almost a year, and yesterday Al Knable had something interesting to say at his Fb campaign page. Uncanny similarities, wouldn't you say?
I wonder what degree of injury and prowess of attorney will be required to fix something so very small, yet so hugely metaphorical?
Take it away, Al.
Sometimes it's the small things:
I had a great breakfast downtown with a couple of the kids this morning. Afterwards I ran into the owner of one of New Albany's many nice restaurants. Small talk for a minute and then I asked if there was anything the City could do to help make his life easier.
An interesting discussion followed.
It turns out that he shares many of the same opinions and concerns I hear repeatedly.
Two we expounded upon: 1) New Albany needs to be cleaner and 2) its citizens deserve more approachable, and responsive local government.
Case in point:
Our restaurateur shared with me his odyssey concerning the below pictured utility pipe/cap that sticks out about 1/2" above the surrounding sidewalk. A pedestrian hazard for sure, a personal injury attorney's dream perhaps.
He told me he's brought this to the attention of city officials numerous times- both before and after an elderly patron recently tripped on it bloodying her knees.
Months have passed. Yet it remains.
He has been told it is simply a cap to a non-functioning pipe. It remains.
He reported it again recently (after he, himself tripped over it) this time with another local business owner in tow. It's still there.
He has been told by three different officials that it is someone else's responsibility. No explanation for why it cannot be removed has been given.
Where does the buck stop? (Where does it start around these parts?)
It would take less than an hour's work to fix. The pipe abides.
It's a small thing- until someone falls and breaks their teeth off- but important. It's representative of one way that I believe life in New Albany can be improved via more responsive and responsible government.
As for overall cleanliness- harder to resolve. We need to instill a sense of pride back into our community. We need to each do our part but the tone has to be set by our local officials.
More on this general issue as the campaign continues but I'll leave you with two additional photographs.
Please study the images of downtown Columbus, IN and our New Albany below.
Where would you rather open your business? Shop? Live?
We can do better.
Working together we will!
|Clean Columbus, IN sidewalks. Yes! That is a downtown, two-way street in the background running by City Hall.|
|A recent view across the street from our City-County Building. The weeds seem to be winning.|