Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Dear Jeff: There is far more to a safe urban walk than random sidewalk repairs.

The lost masterwork.

Dear Jeff,

Remember that street study by the renowned Jeff Speck you commissioned -- you know, back when you'd occasionally pretend (privately, of course, and not for attribution) that you read his book and "got" it?

Hint: It's called the Downtown Street Network Proposal, and it has much to say about the usefulness of two-way streets. Back in 2011, you said you favored two-way streets.


(sound of fingers drumming on Formica)

Hey, that's okay. Take a moment. I'm sure it will come back to you.

(crickets try to play the street piano, but are too light to depress the keys)

I know, I know; it's complicated, so let me help refresh your memory.

Once upon a time you were sorta/kinda for it, and the council wouldn't fund the study, then you were angry and probably made a few of your fabled hectoring late night phone calls.

Dan Coffey saw an opening and rode to the rescue, finding the money under a mattress at redevelopment. You quickly lost interest once it became obvious that it wasn't your idea in the first place, and couldn't ever be. Now Coffey's against it, too, since he can't find a way to wet his beak in a bike lane.

But a demolition ... now there's some good eatin'.

Anyway, permit me to call your attention to page 17.


The principal way to make a street feel safe is to keep automobiles at reasonable speeds
and to protect pedestrians from them. This is achieved by meeting the following ten

  • The proper number of driving lanes;
  • Lanes of proper width;
  • Avoiding one-way streets;
  • Limited use and length of turn lanes;
  • Including bike lanes;
  • Continuous on-street parking;
  • Continuous shade trees;
  • Replacing unwarranted signals with principally all-way stop signs
  • Pedestrian-friendly signals where signals are warranted; and
  • Pedestrian-Friendly details.

These criteria are addressed individually below in terms of how they apply to downtown
New Albany, and are used as an organizational framework for a series of specific

Now Jeff, the reason I bring this up is your ill-chosen words in this numbingly predictable, self-serving press release reported by Daniel Suddeath of the Jeffersonville newspaper.

"We will continue to repair and replace our sidewalk infrastructure in order to allow pedestrians to feel both safe and confident while walking within the city of New Albany," Mayor Jeff Gahan stated in a news release issued after the meeting.

Please go back and review the points made by the consultant you hired, on page 17 of the study you financed.

Remember now?

I didn't think so.

Is it time for recess yet?

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