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Dec 22

Let There Be Traffic

Comments (0) 10:40 AM posted by admin |

In an effort to counteract the inaccurate reports of and misleading statements made at the City Council meeting this morning, I offer you the following:

On a 6-0 vote (with Mayor Pro-Tem Swanson-Winston) absent, Council approved a 45 day extension of the the Traffic Control Order for East Cross and North River Streets.

One former mayor / current doctor made a false statement during audience participation that if Council had not delayed last week’s vote, work would already be happening to open the streets. The truth is that Council wanted the delay in order for City Staff and our engineers to review the proposed plan that was unveiled for the first time at the December 15th meeting. Due to the timing of when City Staff actually received the plan (the 17th) and the weekend, City Staff did not approve the plan until yesterday (the 21st). In addition to this approval time, City Staff has made some changes that Mr. Beal says will require his traffic engineers to “tweak” the plans.

Said another way, the plans will not be complete until today at the earliest. Given that fact, to say the work would be happening now is unfortunately a horrible fabrication.

It has also been said in the past that Council should have approved the Traffic Control Order and simply revoke it later if things are not progressing as we hoped they would. The reality is clear direction must be given in order to threaten revocation. Because the plans had not been seen by City Staff prior to last week’s meeting coupled with the idea that Council was not satisfied with the restrictions in the original resolution, it would have been irresponsible to proceed and threaten to revoke anything. The two resolutions are similar, but that’s like saying my house is similar to the Biltmore Estate because they are both houses. The new resolutions requires the Beal organization to get $2M worth of liability insurance for the property and name the City as additional insured. This is incredibly important. The new version of the resolution also requires permits to be pulled for the work (something you’d expect to be assumed, but not in this case). While not as important as insurance, it’s a step in the right direction to ensuring integrity in the permitting process.

Said another way, Council could have acted last week with a lack of oversight and without clear direction, but chose not to do so. There may be those who prefer government to be absent, but I would hope that is the minority fringe.

In the next two weeks, East Cross Street will be two lanes again and there will be pedestrian crossing from the northeast corner of Cross and River to the northwest corner of Cross and River. Ah, sweet success.

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