Saturday, August 20, 2016

Stop me if you've heard this one before, Mt. Taborites: "They’re looking at it as more of an arterial road to move traffic though than a quality of living project."

Pants on fire: Yep, John Rosenbarger is quoted here.

At Thursday's council meeting, the depth of the rift between the 6th district's representative Scott Blair and the inhabitants of Jeff Gahan's Down Low Bunker was made open, evident, early and often.

CM Blair opened council comments with a fierce roundhouse directed at controller Linda Moeller, who was asked pointedly why the city hadn't yet gotten around to cutting a check for the homeless coalition, and whether the delays constitute blatant obstruction.

Given that city controllers tend to be political appointees with no real power, Blair's complaint must be viewed as aimed squarely at the absentee emperor himself, and no sooner had the ubiquitous mayoral flunky David Duggins bounded to the podium to proclaim "the check's in the mail" than Blair shifted the discussion to the project to make Mt. Tabor Road more auto-centric while pretending the millions have something to do with pedestrian safety -- a particular specialty of the regime.

Both Blair and council colleague Al Knable pointed to three major points that must be resolved before the euphemistically-styled "Mt. Tabor Road Restoration and Pedestrian Safety Project" proceeds to shovel stage.

  • ADA sidewalk concerns; in short, must there be a sidewalk on both sides of the street because ADA says so, or is a sidewalk on one side only sufficient?
  • The ultimate disposition of the Mt. Tabor-Klerner intersection; the roundabout was removed because City Hall was scared, and a stop light slated to replace it, but residents have expressed a preference for the four-way stop to remain.
  • Persistent stormwater abatement issues in the neighborhood. 

On Thursday, Blair and Knable decried the "open house" plan of operations for Monday's public spoon-feeding session, which strongly resembles the bridges junta's model from five years ago as well as Team Gahan's ongoing propensity to dispense the latest fait accompli (look it up, corporate attorney) as decided behind closed doors.

A public project review and open house is set for Aug. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 1752 Scheller Lane, New Albany, in the basement area. Representatives from the engineering consultants for the project, Beam, Longest, and Neff, along with city officials will be available to answer questions or concerns brought up by neighbors.

Did you know that it's been three months since City Hall bothered to post a press release at its "breathlessly official information" web site? However, it has been only three weeks since this, so partial points will be awarded.

Meanwhile, consider this case from Ohio.

Sound familiar? I can't agree with all the objections voiced by the Mt. Tabor Road residents, but from the very beginning, they've grasped an essential point, because the "project" has been one designed to make the road usable by an increased number of cars, and an increased number of cars means a decreased quality of life.

Blair's probably right in this instance. However, the biggest revelation would be if he were able to publicly apply the same logic to one-way streets downtown.

Toledo Neighbors Fight Back Against City’s Plan to Widen Their Road, by Angie Schmitt (Streetsblog)

 ... This $12 million widening project isn’t all bad. Replacing a couple high-crash intersections with roundabouts would be a legitimate win for safety. And the plan calls for adding a sidewalk on the east side of the road.

But the lack of concern for surrounding residents and intense focus on providing wide lanes for car traffic is troubling residents like Dana Dunbar, an Ottawa Hills resident who has also lived in Toledo’s Old Orchard neighborhood. Dunbar says she thinks the city is missing a big opportunity, potentially undermining one of the healthiest residential and commercial areas in the region.

Dunbar concedes that the four existing lanes, at about nine feet each, are awfully narrow and make driving on Secor a hair-raising experience. But the city’s plan, funded by a federal Air Quality and Congestion Mitigation grant, seems to trade one safety problem for another. Studies have shown 12-foot lanes — a standard better suited for interstate highways than residential areas — promote speeding and undermine safety. The Federal Highway Administration, recognizing this, recently eliminated lane-width standards for lower-speed roads like Secor.

“They’re looking at it as more of an arterial road to move traffic though than a quality of living” project, said Dunbar.

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