Jeff Gahan's failures as mayor are profuse and myriad, but none quite capture the epic quality of his term's sheer cost in opportunity to the city as his mishandling of the two-way streets issues.
From December 30, 2014, just a taste of how incomprehensibly awful it has been.
Just let it sink in.
The City Hall team that brought Jeff Speck to New Albany, initiated his study of the street grid and then went into hiding for eight months now has signalled an openness to the results of the very same study.
You know: Their own study.
This coy, tepid and trembling message presumably has been transmitted by a series of sputtering flares, emanating from the down-low bunker where Gahan and associates have been huddling throughout 2014.
The fact of the matter is this: NAC and associates have been leading the fight and calling the tunes on the street grid reform issue from the start, and these latest revelations merely reconfirm that ideas in this town are not emanating from the third floor ... at least yet.
Let's examine these emergency flares, point by point.
Completion of Speck street study in New Albany imminent; Gahan “open” to changes in street grid, converting one-way to two-way, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)
NEW ALBANY — The city's administration was hoping to have a completed plan by the end of the year, but still expects Jeff Speck’s street study to be finalized within the next month.
Based on the planner’s presentation at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library in January, and his outlook on street grids discussed in his books, Mayor Jeff Gahan anticipates Speck will suggest converting one-way streets to two-way traffic downtown.
The administration also expects Speck to recommend removing some traffic lights to replace them with all-way stop signs, as well as the addition of more bicycle lanes.
For Gahan to "anticipate" Speck's suggestions is tantamount to his attending a Reds game and telling friends that he's hopeful they'll use some bats and balls this time. But, as has been the case all year, Gahan lacks the intestinal fortitude to take ownership of street grid reality -- and so he embraces the art of the demure politico.
But regardless of what is included in the report, Gahan and the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety have the final say over the city’s public infrastructure.
That's reassuring, given that these same two entities have spend 2014 (a) implementing the dunderheaded Main Street "improvement" project, and (b) denying the deleterious ripple effect it has created on other downtown streets.
No official announcements are expected until after the report is released, public hearings are held and input garnered from officials, residents and business owners, but Gahan hinted last week that he may support changing some of the city’s traffic grid.
Gahan, who has suggested that the Speck report will come to us as a rigorously factual, irrefutable and well nigh Biblical pronouncement, suitable not only for a principled course of action, but also providing maximum political coverage, now cautiously reveals that only "some" of it may be implemented, as though Jehovah permits believers to pick and choose among the Ten Commandments if a Dixiecratic donor doesn't like one or two of them.
“We’re prepared to take steps to avoid gridlock in our downtown,” Gahan said, as the study was commissioned in part to prepare the city for the completion of the Ohio River Bridges Project. The Sherman Minton Bridge won’t be tolled, so officials are anticipating a rise in the amount of traffic downtown as motorists attempt to avoid paying fees to cross the Ohio River.
Note that steps will be taken only after the current neglect-inspired gridlock caused by pass-through and diverted trucks.
Gahan said Speck was also hired because transportation is a quality-of-life issue as it pertains to residency. “The study reflects our commitment to creating an environment where people want to live in,” he said.
No shit, Sherlock. Readers, ask yourselves this simple question: Who's been saying precisely THIS, aloud and for attribution, for months -- NA Confidential, or Jeff Gahan and his team?
That's a slam dunk, and not in the incumbent's favor, as those rumbling semi trailers continue to make clear, each and every day.
Busy downtown roads such as Spring Street and Elm Street are one-way beginning at Vincennes Street to the Interstate 64 interchange. When asked specifically about those streets, Gahan again acknowledged he would be “open” to converting them to two-way traffic.
Just "open." Without them being retrofitted, the entire discussion is meaningless, but "open" is as much as a terrified politician like this can manage.
But he emphasized the city will follow a detailed process before making any adjustments.
“It’s also important that people know that none of these changes are going to happen overnight, if they do,” Gahan said.
Once the report is finished, the administration will review it internally, provide an overview to the board of works and schedule at least two public meetings to garner input, he continued.
“Obviously, we’ll make sure that everybody understands what the report is,” Gahan said.
Don't worry, Dixiecrats: Gahan will institute a tangle of bureaucratic obstacles meant to divert speedy action just as surely as the Main Street medians send Tiger trucks down tiny 13th Street, where Warren lies snoring in a hammock as the roadway is chewed up and spit out by extractors -- but what, the Board of Works worry?
Yo: Gahan will protect you Dixiecrats from modernity even as he whispers in modernity's favor to those petitioners of whom he believes there are not sufficient numbers to justify novel approaches like honesty.
Or, in plain English:
"We'll make sure nothing happens until after the election in 2015."
Now THAT's the real New Albany, sadly enough.