Boy, that was strange.
Around the time the Sherman Minton Bridge became ill back in 2011, Dan Coffey started making sense on occasion. I remember him convening a meeting at Lancaster’s, and speaking stridently of the importance of using the opportunity of the bridge shutdown to restore two-way traffic to New Albany’s streets, RIGHT NOW.
Why? Because it would be beneficial to small, independent businesses downtown.
In subsequent years, the unknown space alien continued to occupy Coffey’s body. Heads were scratched raw as he actually became the voice of reason at council meetings. Perhaps the makeover was a run-up to the county commissioner’s race in 2014, when Coffey — with no city council seat to wager or lose — was unable to muster any semblance of a fighting spirit, and suffered a humiliating 22-point defeat to Mark Seabrook.
Maybe he just decided that urban demolitions were more lucrative kicking back than exurban bulldozing.
Whatever the rationale, the universe has been out of sync, and the gods obviously weren’t happy, and so now, at long last, we have our Cappuccino back, merrily contradicting himself on the topic of streets, and — unopposed in his re-election to the post of Wizard of Westendia — freely caterwauling and chewing scenery on topics of which he knows next to nothing. It’s just like old times. Now all we need is Professor Erika blowing rancid cigarette smoke in his face.
The odds that Coffey actually read Speck’s report?
Same probability that I’ve chugged a Miller Lite in the last five years, which is to say: Zero.
Welcome back. We’ve missed you so very much.
(Click through to read reporter Suddeath’s redevelopment report in its entirety)
River Ridge may gain Toyota instead of New Albany, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)
TIF ALSO TIED TO TWO-WAY STREETS
New Albany would likely use TIF funds to provide its 20 percent match to a $2.5 million federal grant for calming traffic in the city’s downtown.
The money could, for example, be used to flip one-way streets to two-way traffic.
On March 18, the city will hold its final public hearing on planner Jeff Speck’s street study, which is strongly in favor of two-way conversion, smaller traffic lanes and more on-street parking.
It’s one step the city has taken as it prepares its strategy for utilizing the federal grant, which was awarded through the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency, or KIPDA.
But New Albany City Councilman Dan Coffey believes the city might need another report.
“I still don’t think it would hurt to have another, unbiased study,” said Coffey, who is also a member of the redevelopment commission.
Speck’s study is a plan “that’s been slanted toward one view,” he added.
“I’m really disappointed in the way that turned out,” Coffey said.
Mayor Jeff Gahan’s administration has largely remained noncommittal on Speck’s recommendations. With the Ohio River Bridges Project expected to bring more motorists to New Albany, Gahan has acknowledged the city will likely need to make adjustments to the traffic grid.
The final public meeting on the Speck report will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on March 18 at the Pepin Mansion, which is located at 1003 E. Main St.