Tuesday, July 19, 2016

ASK THE BORED: "People go WAY too fast and even turn up the wrong way on Elm. There needs to be a 4-way stop at this intersection before someone gets killed."

Maybe this one from last Thursday?

I just saw an interesting thing on Market Street: the street sweeper with an unmarked car in front of it, an unmarked car behind it, and a traffic division cop car behind that. It was a convoy just for the street sweeper.

That's odd, seeing there are no bike lanes on Market for the street sweepers to shift debris into. Are we militarizing street sweeping? I've heard it's a trend. Or, perhaps aquatic revenues are down, and increased parking citations are necessary to balance the ol' budget -- but can't we just TIF it?

Here's what I did to beat the "blocking street sweeper" citation scam. Why should anyone pay?

This one from Saturday hits (literally) a bit closer to my house.

There was a pretty bad wreck on Elm and 13th this morning. This is not the first time since I've lived around here. It is VERY hard to see around the parked cars if you're crossing over Elm. That being said, there are 4-way stop signs every couple blocks down Elm until you get down this way. People go WAY too fast and even turn up the wrong way on Elm. There needs to be a 4-way stop at this intersection before someone gets killed. Kids (and adults) cross this intersection all the time. So how do we get this done?

I'll bring it up this morning, though in the most general of senses, making Elm Street safer starts here, with this comment by Jeff Speck, from his Downtown Street Network Proposal.

Because one-way streets provide passing lanes and eliminate opposing traffic, they encourage higher-speed driving and create a more highway-like environment for properties along them ... there is no justification for a one-way Elm Street east of State Street, since it contains ample width for two-way traffic, which will provide greater utility and safety than the current condition.

As for the utility of four-way stop signs ... Speck again.

Research now suggests that four-way stop signs, which require motorists to approach each intersection as a negotiation, turn out to be much safer than signals. Unlike at signalized intersections, there is considerable eye-contact among users. Drivers slow down, but never have to wait for more than a few seconds, and pedestrians and bicyclists are generally waved through first.

As with other such observations, the truth of the matter is that the only way to get this/anything done is for the city of New Albany to grasp the reality of the problem, and in the past, the Board of Public Works and Safety has squirmed every which way but loose when it comes to denying the problem of speeding on Elm.

So, let's ask again. The series introduction is reprinted below. From last week:

From roadway bomb craters to pedestrian death investigations: This morning's Board of Public Works and Safety meeting -- with the undermanned newspaper AWOL.


New Albany's Board of Public Works and Safety exists because the State of Indiana says so.

IC 36-4-9-5

Board of public works and safety; establishment Sec. 5.

(a) A board of public works and safety is established in each city.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the legislative body of a second class city may by ordinance establish as separate boards: (1) a board of public works; and (2) a board of public safety; to perform the functions of the board of public works and safety.

As added by Acts 1980, P.L.212, SEC.3.

As for what the board is supposed to do each Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., you can visit the American Legal Publishing site, search "Board of Public Works and Safety," and sift through various powers accorded the board over the decades by dint of ordinance.

Exactly how much power does our Board of Public Works and Safety possess?

If Jeff Gahan were to stray from the protection of his Down Low Bunker and comment, no doubt he would assert that the board has just the power it needs. He handpicked it, and he's perfectly content to see his program implemented by non-elected boards, as opposed to elected officials.

According to Dan Coffey, the answer surely is "too much." At the city council meeting of June 6, Coffey proposed that our council, as a body made up of elected members, should take back authority ceded to non-elected boards.


The Board of Public Works and Safety may be established by state, not city, and it may be appointed by mayor, not council, but the board's powers appear to derive from the legislative body.

I mention all this as prelude to a new feature at NA Confidential: Ask the Bored.

It has long been NA Confidential's position that given the board's accumulated powers -- justified or  otherwise -- and its current function as arbiter of myriad conditions that impact the lives of citizens, for it to hold all its meetings at 10:00 a.m. on a Tuesday meeting is an affront (note that during the Garner Administration, a fledgling but doomed effort to democratize meeting times was made).

However, NAC can attend many, if not all, meetings. Public speaking time is allowed, and on occasion in the past, we've used it for the precise purpose of making comments, raising issues or asking questions, so that these are included in meeting minutes and become part of the public record. This way, it cannot be claimed later that "no one said anything."

Readers, I know you have questions. Many of you cannot attend these meetings, and so when possible, NAC will ask them for you. Generalized questions probably are best, but give us the brief, and we'll do what we can. Submit them at mayorbaylor@gmail.com ... and ask the bored.

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