Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Community Wrote A Letter

For several months, the community has been putting forth a lot of noise about the traffic issues regarding the Washington Heights Development. Councilman Gonzalez has supported the efforts of the community, and other Council Members have also spoken in support of the community on this one, especially CM Noriega, CM Jones, and CM Rodriguez. 

So, the neighborhood coalitions decided to get together to author a joint position statement. You can read the complete statement here: 


The basic rundown of the letter is this: 
-Fix the Yale Street bridge - its old and in disrepair, and by running lots of development traffic on it, including 18 wheelers, it will break. The traffic this development will create could very well be the catalyst for the collapse of the bridge, which would be a pretty bad thing. 

-Close Heights to 18 wheeler traffic - While Heights Blvd North of I-10 is presently designated this way, the letter asks that Heights be closed to 18 wheeler traffic for the length of the street, which ends only a few blocks to the south of I-10 at Washington. Thus, keeping that portion of Heights open to 18 wheeler traffic, while closing the rest of it, looks to favor the development and not the community. 

-Close off Bass Street - As previously covered in detail, Bass Street as an entrance to the development is a pretty lousy idea. The Developer's Traffic Study essentially says that not a lot of traffic is going to use this route, yet they claim it is essential to the project. What sense does that make? 

-The conclusion of the letter sums it up pretty well: 

"Our neighborhood spirit and sense of community are strong in these beliefs and recommendations. We encourage you, our civic leaders, to ultimately heed what is in the best interest of the greater public, and not sacrifice safety for the benefit of private development."

Can't really say it better than that right there. Here's the community, going to our elected officials, unified, saying please fix these things ... and if they're just talked at, and not fixed, then why would the community have any faith in the elected officials any longer? What more do they need?

These aren't unreasonable requests ... fix a bridge so it doesn't collapse and restrict traffic thats unwanted and unnecessary through neighborhoods. 

If nothing else, its a public safety issue. If you recall the collapse of the I-35 Bridge in Minnesota a few years's back. 13 people were killed, and school bus including 60 children was involved. Of course the bridge was old, but the catalyst for the collapse was resurfacing:

Part of what the '380' calls for is resurfacing of the Yale Street Bridge ... And if you think that the opportunity doesn't exist for catastrophe to happen here ... think again. 

There has been a lot of talking 'at' these issues. Lots of people in the City have said they'll monitor this, or 'work with' this person, etc ... Its all a bunch of nonsense so far. Until somebody comes out with a clear plan for solutions, then its all just noise and appeasement of the developers, Ainbinder (& Orr).

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