Support for two way streets still running strong.


With 220 votes now cast in Develop New Albany’s survey, support for two-way streets downtown remains at 74%, a level that has remained steady from the start. City Hall believes there is little public interest in the street grid issue, which if true, must be considered a positive; after all, “If you’re not against us, you’re for us.” Survey results may hint otherwise, and suggest that the word is spreading.

My favorite voter comment to date:

I do not think two way streets would be good for Downtown New Albany. They are a part of the character and charm of downtown. If you can’t read a sign to tell which way to go, then you shouldn’t be driving!

One-way streets as an indicator of character and charm? Interstate highways are charming, too, especially when the semi rigs move adjacent to each other going up a steep grade. I find sewage treatment plants to bear a certain artistic symmetry — and mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all.

Seriously: I’m told that a street study is virtually a done deal, as sought by the mayor and financed by Redevelopment. In my opinion, it is crucial that advocates of two-way streets be prepared with professional testimony capable of being used in support or rebuttal, the latter lest the same old road engineering cadre end up performing the study. In terms of old school road engineering, garbage in … and you know the rest.

As I talk about this issue and listen to viewpoints, apart from the expected reaction of “the mere thought of change is making my head explode,” the typical response goes something like this:

“Of course Pearl and Bank should be two ways, but the diagonal parking spaces and median on Market are problems that make me dizzy, and while I can see two way streets being effective in a larger sense, they can’t change anything about access to I-64 during an hour each morning and afternoon when it matters, and why would neighborhoods care about arterial streets, anyway, when it makes it quicker to get home? Other than that, we’re with you.”

In short: Contradictions galore, though not outright opposition. This is good, I think. A big part of effective argumentation is expecting what’s coming from the other side, and being able to answer it. The single best thing advocates might do now would be to organize a media blitz around the appearance of a personage like Jeff Speck, but he’s pricey and scheduling would be hard. Conversely, then, it’s all about us and our ability to keep making this case and not letting it rest.