Grid Control, Vol. 18: Finally a few BoW street grid project answers, almost all of them citing “contractor error.”

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I accompanied the Bookseller to yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Public Works and Safety, and asked some of the questions we’ve all been asking about the downtown street grid (two-way) project.

Chris Morris of the News and Tribune was there, watching as I asked his questions. He’d have noticed that I received answers, most of which were coherent, and some of which weren’t so much.

But Morris chose not to mention a single iota of it in his dispatch for the newspaper, and to be succinct, this is why so few of us any longer trust the newspaper’s commitment to truth-telling in New Albany. You can read the triumph of the stenographer’s art here: Questions? Me?

Before I run down the list, a larger question:

If all these snafus owe to “contractor error,” who among Team Gahan has been watching the contractors? 

Let’s begin with the case of the British traffic arrows.

Grid Control, Vol. 17: Judging by the misdirection of this “CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP” sign, we now reside in the British Empire.

City engineer Larry Summers said he discovered this mistake first, even before NAC brought it to your attention, and that it owes to … yes, “contractor error.” All mistaken signs will be replaced, he added.

Next, the question of cross hatching repairs. After NAC pressed the issue, HWC Engineering acknowledged this error (on Facebook, no less), and has since said it will pay to redraw the lines. 

Grid Control, Vol. 5: Egg on HWC Engineering’s well-compensated face as it botches Spring Street’s westbound bike buffer cross hatching.

NAC’s question: Seeing as nothing’s been done for a month, will this fix take place before or after Spring Street is open for two-way traffic?


Summers said he expects it to occur before the debut of two-way traffic, and that doing so will not require the north lane of Spring Street to be closed.

Next, parking space size disparity.

Grid Control, Vol. 2: Southsiders get six more parking inches, but you gotta love those 10-foot traffic lanes on Spring.

We’ll be returning to this one.

In answering my question, Summers told the board that while Spring Street’s width isn’t uniform, citing the street’s quirks and age, he could find only “four or five” parking spaces out of sync in terms of measurement, on the whole of the north side of Spring between Vincennes and 4th, where the bike lanes dissolve into nothingness to make room for Padgett’s fleet of community value reducers.

He also mentioned the contractor perhaps erring in places while measuring from the middle of the street, which gave me pause, because I personally witnessed measurements on Elm being made from the curb on the south side of the street — not from the middle.

Stay tuned for NAC’s parking space measurement survey, coming soon or whenever I get the time to do someone else’s job (again). Maybe Morris would like to help me with the calculations.

Then, the biggest question.

What about the death trap meat grinder at Spring & 10th?

Grid Control, Vol. 1: You people drive so freaking horribly that someone’s going to die at Spring and 10th.

According to Summers, this bizarre made-for-mayhem dog leg is yet again the result of “contractor error,” with the contractor having been told to make repairs.

The nature of the fix was not disclosed, but I asked Summers whether he thinks this intersection can be made safe and manageable without controlling it by installing stop signs or stop lights.

Yes, he said. It can be.

As a side note, and in theory, state guidelines proclaim that there should not be crosswalks drawn across a street like Spring in the absence of stop signs or stop lights to control the crosswalk, hence the necessity of “high visibility” (and added expense) crosswalk lighting.

Concurrently, City Hall plainly wishes to pretend it is lowering traffic speeds on streets like Spring, while actually doing little to facilitate this desired outcome apart from the two-way direction change itself.

Merely observe that once the two-way directional change has been made, there’ll still be nothing to calm traffic from 15th Street all the way to 7th Street … with the dog leg right in the middle of this race course at 10th Street … where there’ll be some sort of motion-activated warning light that all by itself will convince drivers to slow down for sitting duck pedestrians.

I submit that nothing better illustrates the cowardly legacy of Jeff Gahan’s pocket-stuffing paving plan, ineptly masquerading as revolutionary street grid modernization, with loads and loads of “radical” change described in badly written press releases, though of course all of it existing apart from the fact that as little as humanly possible actually is being changed.

The dogmatically auto-centric suburban satrap Gahan and his minions first stripped the grid plan of its genuinely transformative bicycling infrastructure, and subsequently has rigged the two-way plan to ensure the fundamental “pass-through-NA-at-unsafe-high speeds” dynamic remains as it is, prior to all those beaks being wetted on paving slush.  

Two other asides from yesterday’s BoW meeting:

HWC Engineering’s Paul Lincks says he has spoken again and again with churches and businesses throughout downtown in an effort to resolve the “bus stops now taking up entire city blocks” problem, especially as it pertains to churches.

Grid Control, Vol. 3: TARC’s taking your curbside church parking, says City Hall.

And, there is a good news/bad news item to report. Many of the pedestrian crossings within the boundaries of the grid modernization project area now are timer-based, meaning one needn’t push the “beg button” to cross.

I privately asked Lincks whether these timed intersections, as well as the “high visibility” crosswalks being installed within the grid project work area, would also provide connectivity by spanning Main Street to the south (for instance, to Underground Station and the YMCA) and State Street west, toward The Exchange and La Tiendita, to name just two walking destinations.

Lincks answered that no, such critically important, pedestrian-friendly reforms were never a part of the project from HWC’s design perspective.

In short, instead of pushing “beg buttons,” we’ll be begging city officials for relief, as was required at Main & W. 1st after these same city officials assured us it was impossible.

Naturally, the city might be pro-active by telling us what it plans to do to extend the walkable street grid past the boundaries of the current project area, though this would require a commitment to the timely dissemination of information.

The newspaper (and, for that matter, DNA) could help in all this, but unfortunately, fluff takes precedence.

Previously:

Grid Control, Vol. 17: Judging by the misdirection of this “CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP” sign, we now reside in the British Empire.

Grid Control, Vol. 16: What about HWC’s cross hatching correction? Will this be finished before or after Team Gahan declares victory?


Grid Control, Vol. 15: Dooring enhancement perfectly epitomizes Deaf Gahan’s “biking last” approach to grid modernization.

Grid Control, Vol. 14: Yes, you can still park on the south side of Spring Street during the stalled two-way grid project.

Grid Control, Vol. 13: “Dear Deaf Gahan and minions: FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, STOP TRYING TO BE COOL AND DESIGNER-ISH. YOU’RE NOT, AND IT’S EMBARRASSING ALL OF US.”



Grid Control, Vol. 12: Meet the artistic crosswalk design equivalent of dogs playing poker.

Grid Control, Vol. 11: HWC Engineering meets with St. Marks, city officials nowhere to be found.

Grid Control, Vol. 10: City officials predictably AWOL as HWC Engineering falls on its sword over striping errors.

Grid Control, Vol. 9: “This was supposed to be discussed with us,” but Dear Leader doesn’t ever discuss, does he?


Grid Control, Vol. 8: City Hall characteristically mum as HWC Engineering at least tries to answer the cross-hatching question.


Grid Control, Vol. 7: What will the Board of Works do to rectify HWC’s striping errors on the north side of Spring Street, apart from microwaving another round of sausage biscuits?


Grid Control, Vol. 6: Jeff Speck tweets about NA’s grid changes, and those missed bicycling opportunities.


Grid Control, Vol. 5: Egg on HWC Engineering’s well-compensated face as it botches Spring Street’s westbound bike buffer cross hatching.


Grid Control, Vol. 4: But this actually isn’t a bus lane, is it?


Grid Control, Vol. 3: TARC’s taking your curbside church parking, says City Hall.


Grid Control, Vol. 2: Southsiders get six more parking inches, but you gotta love those 10-foot traffic lanes on Spring.



Grid Control, Vol. 1: You people drive so freaking horribly that someone’s going to die at Spring and 10th.

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