I was wondering what all the uproar was about concerning College Avenue, so I took a couple of drives down the great boulevard last week.
Yikes!!! Are they serious? Is this what “traffic planning” looks like in the 21st century?
It appears that some of our city traffic “experts” attended a street planning seminar where an esteemed lecturer put up a slide as a joke to introduce his topic. Some in the audience apparently were not in on the joke and actually copied down the cartoon-like image on the screen and translated that into this confusing result. Sadly, it is not a joke.
For starters, there are enough painted dots, dashes, crosshatches and hash marks to make an NFL football field look blank. They should pass out printed guidelines before you drive the street, indicating what each and every symbol really means.
Never miss a local story.
Near the college there is parking out in the street and a bike lane along the sidewalk; then the parking moves to the curb and the bike lane moves out, with a whole bunch of hash marks alongside. If that sentence confuses you, take a drive and really be confused.
To make matters even more confusing, down the middle of the wide street is a yellow dotted median, apparently for left turns. Given the street profile and the number of residences, this lane will likely be the least utilized piece of pavement in the city.
Since there is such a large neighborhood debate over parking on residential streets, why did our esteemed “planners” not see the opportunity to turn this unused pavement into parking? You could literally park half the school student body on this middle section of the street.
And with some creative thinking a parking fee scheme could emerge, whereby those using the midstreet blocks closest to the school pay at a higher rate, the rate decreasing as you get farther from the campus. In fact, diagonal parking would be simple and would absorb a very large number of vehicles.
Two million bucks is a lot of money, even if this had been a good idea. Why not spend that volume of street improvement funds on real improvement?
“Where?” you ask.
Try driving the short stretch on Roseburg to McHenry and it should be quite apparent where these funds would have been better spent. That street rides like a roller coaster – up, down and around. Fix something that needs fixing, not a totally functional street that never needed such questionable “improvements” as College Avenue.
Want another example of zany street work?
Drive up North Ninth from Carver to the Briggsmore overpass and check out that brightly painted area on the western side of the road. (Another four-lane road that simply had to be shrunk by new-age planning.)
My pastor, Dave, took me over there last week simply to ask me if I could figure out what all the yellow lines were about, with the dotted yellow down the middle.
“Well, Dave,” I opined, “looks to me like they have tried putting in a bike lane, on just one side of the street, two-way bike traffic imposed, and contrary to normal bike laws, the rider on the side next to the drive lane is coming directly at you.”
At least that is what I think it means. Unfortunately, I was not issued a program to tell me how the game is being played.
All of this seems to tie into the bike lane over the Briggsmore overpass, which is enclosed by a very formidable concrete curb. I actually saw someone riding a bike there once; perhaps it is used at night when the rest of us are not around to see.
This spending comes to you from the same folks who spent five million of your dollars to send bikes over the Virginia Trail. Seems to me that occasionally I see a bike using that route as well.
Dick Hagerty is an Oakdale real estate developer active in nonprofits. Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.