Over the past few years, I've spoken with many people who share my belief that pro-active changes to the New Albany street grid will help alleviate coming vehicular abuses borne of bridge tolling, and better yet, help to instill a contemporary urban vibe that reinforces all previous redevelopment efforts and prefaces ones to come.
In short: Slowing down traffic = speeding up revitalization.
Two-way streets top the list, followed by any and all measures to enhance safety and walkability. We must calm and complete our streets, making them usable by all the people and not just their cars. If we fail to be out in front of this effort, we'll be left behind. New Albany could be an exciting laboratory for contemporary change and progress ... but we must push for change and progress.
However, as last night's city council meeting painfully illustrated, there is going to be bunker mole opposition to any such move. Conservatives like Bob Caesar, who seldom bother to experience the street grid away from their cars, look at what we have now and pronounce it workable -- not because they can illustrate this point, but owing to their refusal to learn about the modern world.
That's purely delusional, and very few if any of these obstructionists have ever offered a better idea, but the point is that while we surely have the numbers, and the facts are firmly on our side, failure to advocate for street grid reform merely plays into the hands of the reactionaries. All they have to do is hunker down and resist, while we must educate and push.
Not to be a nag, but if we are to educate and push forward on this front, at least some of those many folks I've met previously who agree with pro-active street grid changes must resolve to stop jawing and actually do something about it. I know you don't have time. Neither do I. There is little time to fight health department zealotry, either, but it's the right thing to do in this instance, and so I've made time.
Quite a few of you have agreed with us on these and other pressing issues, but just agreeing isn't enough. We must organize, and use the power that derives from organization, and unfortunately, organization is the point where New Albany inevitably fails.
Stay tuned while some ideas get fleshed out.