Friday, May 20, 2016

City Hall crassly exploits the death of a walker in order to brag about its achievements.

Last week, Chloe Allen was killed trying to cross Spring Street.

On Tuesday, an ironic municipal entity officially known as the Board of Works and Public Safety had its weekly meeting, and in a room filled with city functionaries, all of whom are charged with one or the other aspect of public safety, not a single word was mentioned about the woman who was killed trying to cross the street.

Last evening at the second of two monthly city council meetings, Dan Coffey raised the issue of the woman who was killed trying to cross the street, and there was a discussion. Al Knable had mentioned it earlier in the day in a social media post.

Also on social media, Greg Phipps expressed annoyance with those of us who feel that it is a public official's responsibility to speak to matters of the public's interest -- especially when those matters pertain to safety.

Phipps referred to "malcontents" in this context.

When the woman was killed trying to cross the street, it was clear there'd be no comment from the mayor and his closest associates directly addressing the situation, but surprisingly, a press release appeared on Thursday.

Finances and Operations on Track and Under Budget

In it, Chloe Allen was not mentioned. Rather, it reviewed the administration's many glowing achievements.

There are 460 words in the press release, including the title, and the very last two words of these are "pedestrian accessibility."

Spring Street in downtown is receiving major improvements at dangerous intersections to help improve both safety, traffic, and pedestrian accessibility.

Take a closer look at this sentence, specifically the word "both."

We can surmise that as originally written, before a woman was killed trying to cross the street, the sentence probably read like this:

"Spring Street in downtown is receiving major improvements at dangerous intersections to help improve both safety and traffic."

But after a woman died trying to cross the very same street, "pedestrian accessibility" was hastily inserted.

Inserted as an afterthought.

Inserted because, as the Bored of Public Works proved abundantly on Tuesday, walkability is always an afterthought, whether or not it is adorned with the egregious multiple syllables of bureaucratese.

It would appear that crass exploitation cuts both ways in New Albany, and if this makes me a malcontent, I can live with it.

Unfortunately, Chloe Allen had no such choice.

1 comment:

w&la said...

Two things come to mind when reading this press release:

1) Only "dangerous intersections"? How many are there and how are they determined? By pedestrian death count?

Why not address every intersection in the same manner, so pedestrians and drivers can come to understand the importance of crosswalks within the city?

Spotty, piece-meal "solutions" prove there is no real plan, just lazy, knee jerk reaction.

2) "Accessibility" is a bullshit word used to sound impressive. Every intersection in New Albany is already "accessible" by walkers (although not by those in wheelchairs).

Most of the intersections on Spring Street are simply not safe for pedestrians to cross due to the street's one way width and traffic speed.

The missing word is "safety" - as in "pedestrian safety" - and the reason the city won't use that phrase is they don't want to make any promises of real effort.

I'm surprised that Mr. Phipps isn't more concerned about pedestrians dying while simply trying to cross the street in the Spring Street neighborhood district. New Albany citizens asking for safer cross walks are "malcontents"?

The next victim will be someone's daughter or son, father or mother, grandmother or grandfather, neighbor or friend.

"Malcontents"? Really?