Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ASK THE BORED: A few well-placed chicanes on 13th Street should send Tiger Trucking to a more appropriate location for doing its value-extractive business.

If 2017 really is to be the year when the Downtown Grid Modernization Project transitions from the mere rumor of a long overdue, messy compromise of a typically botched Gahanesque half-ass measure to these facets actually appearing in real life, then City Hall's favored minions at HWC Engineering should have long since moved past the stage of ensuring campaign finance rivulets flowing downhill like stormwater from Summit Springs, straight into the mayor's aspirational State Senate coffers, and started the task of rendering splendid Speck into adulterated sausage.

As such, perhaps it isn't too late to reclaim 13th Street for residential quality of life by the simple expedience of chicane installation.

Not chicanery ...

... but chicane, a concept recently explained here.

A chicane is an artificial feature creating extra turns in a road, used in motor racing and on streets to slow traffic for safety. For example, one form of chicane is a short, shallow S-shaped turn, requiring the driver to turn slightly left and then right again to stay on the road, which slows them down.

Yes, we've all been here before.

Last July, NAC explained in great detail (repeated below) that Tiger Trucking's use of 13th Street as an industrial connector, while intended as a petulant middle finger lofted in the general direction of City Hall, actually serves as a daily reminder to people living on this residential street that their quality of life doesn't matter -- and has mattered even less since the city lavished millions on an unnecessary Main Street beautification project, which freed more dysfunctional demons than it rectified.

Isn't it time for the spoiled brat to get a good spanking? Residents of 13th Street deserves better, and a relatively inexpensive chicane or three, backed by a city willing to enforce its own ordinances, might be able to achieve what our 3rd District councilman hasn't bothered recognizing.

Here's the rundown from last July.

Here comes the Tiger Truck Lines rig northbound on 13th Street. The driver has just crossed Market. Behind me is Spring.

Since the advent of the Main Street Beautification Project, Tiger has transformed 13th Street into its own company connector road, regularly using Spring for westbound trucks and Market for eastbound.

Ironically, even though so much of the Main Street project is pure blather, the designers actually did take Tiger's needs into mind when inserting those God-awful medians.

In fact, Tiger never has been somehow excluded from using Main Street, just as it did before.

This is 14th Street, looking south from Dewey. Just over the railroad track is Tiger's scenic headquarters. You can see the K & I Bridge on the horizon.

When a Tiger trucker emerges from its lair on 14th, he or she comes first to Dewey, then Main. Here's the view, looking north toward Main. Prior to the Main Street project, Tiger's employees drove straight and turned onto Main in either direction.

The next three photos show the intersection of Main and 14th. As you can see, the medians are pulled way back to allow for wide turns. It is a huge expanse of asphalt left open for only one reason -- for truckers like Tiger's to use.

And they don't use it.

Rather, ever since the Main Street project came about, Tiger's adolescent management pique has translated into a new access policy. First, let's go back to the intersection of 14th and Dewey, this time looking west, not straight toward Main.

Tiger's truckers now turn left here ...

 ... and then right (north) here, on 13th ...

 ... to come rumbling across Main here (headed to the right, or north), using 13th as the company road to go to Market and Spring.

Obviously, 13th is a residential street, never designed or intended for commercial vehicles of this Tiger's size. Plainly, Tiger's management has undertaken a program of civic vandalism these last two years, operating from a vantage point behind the billows of Padgett's litigious gown.

There's only one logical answer to this problem.

Give 13th Street a two-block-long road diet, with bike paths and 10-foot lanes, and force Tiger's trucks back onto Main, where they belong.

Or, place a weight limit on 13th and enforce it.

The likes of Irv Stumler instinctively side with the vandals in a case like this. Obsessed with flower pots, the Silver Hills resident pays no mind to the appearance of heavy industrial equipment on a residential street. Perhaps these residents are too poor for Irv's taste, or not sufficiently ambitious to get better jobs and move from the trucking ghetto to his neighborhood.

Irv aside (and he needs to be), the city has allowed Tiger to behave like a petulant brat. The city might alter this behavior, and should. The city made changes to Main. It can make changes to 13th.

It should.

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