On Tuesday, an ironic municipal entity officially known as the Board of Works and Public Safety had its weekly meeting, and in a room filled with city functionaries, all of whom are charged with one or the other aspect of public safety, not a single word was mentioned about the woman who was killed trying to cross the street.
Last evening at the second of two monthly city council meetings, Dan Coffey raised the issue of the woman who was killed trying to cross the street, and there was a discussion. Al Knable had mentioned it earlier in the day in a social media post.
Also on social media, Greg Phipps expressed annoyance with those of us who feel that it is a public official’s responsibility to speak to matters of the public’s interest — especially when those matters pertain to safety.
Phipps referred to “malcontents” in this context.
When the woman was killed trying to cross the street, it was clear there’d be no comment from the mayor and his closest associates directly addressing the situation, but surprisingly, a press release appeared on Thursday.
In it, Chloe Allen was not mentioned. Rather, it reviewed the administration’s many glowing achievements.
There are 460 words in the press release, including the title, and the very last two words of these are “pedestrian accessibility.”
Spring Street in downtown is receiving major improvements at dangerous intersections to help improve both safety, traffic, and pedestrian accessibility.
Take a closer look at this sentence, specifically the word “both.”
We can surmise that as originally written, before a woman was killed trying to cross the street, the sentence probably read like this:
“Spring Street in downtown is receiving major improvements at dangerous intersections to help improve both safety and traffic.”
But after a woman died trying to cross the very same street, “pedestrian accessibility” was hastily inserted.
Inserted as an afterthought.
Inserted because, as the Bored of Public Works proved abundantly on Tuesday, walkability is always an afterthought, whether or not it is adorned with the egregious multiple syllables of bureaucratese.
It would appear that crass exploitation cuts both ways in New Albany, and if this makes me a malcontent, I can live with it.
Unfortunately, Chloe Allen had no such choice.