As the photos show, reducing the sidewalk width of the north side of Market between Pearl and State means having to cut even more trees — and shortening the median (which by all rights should be dynamited, not “preserved,” historically or otherwise) suggests dismantling and moving David Thrasher’s signature fork in the road sculpture.
Better ask the Tree Board.
On second thought, the Tree Board probably is the prime mover of this latest deforestation plan.
Worst of all is testimony from city engineer Larry Summers, who apparently cannot fathom the sad irony of announcing a plan to remove trees, uproot art, maintain a car-centric median, add a turning lane for autos AND take ten feet off sidewalks while still insisting, drone-like, it will “create a place for people to gather and make the street more functional.”
If Summers is genuinely interested in this outcome, and he’s not, he’d be advocating for reducing lanes to one each direction, ditching the median and extending sidewalks (at the very least).
However, in defense of the city’s engineer, by his own testimony he’s already working 80 hours a week (his words at last Monday’s city council meeting, not mine), as well as fending off the usual territorial pissing challenges from councilman David Barksdale on behalf of redevelopment.
Time and again, Mayor Jeff Gahan and his minions have proven that of all possible outcomes in a situation like this, the one that benefits drivers and their cars will be the one chosen and glorified in Orwellian Newspeak as “walkability.”
If aesthetic atrocities are inevitable … can we #FireGahan2019 ?
Block of Market Street in New Albany to get facelift, by Chris Morris (Plain Tom May Content Dealer)
NEW ALBANY — A section of Market Street, between Pearl and State streets, will soon receive a facelift. But who oversees the project is still up for debate.
Larry Summers, engineer for the city of New Albany, told the Redevelopment Commission about the proposal Tuesday, which will include several aesthetic changes including new lighting, widening the median in certain spots but shortening it near State Street to add a turning lane. He said the sidewalks on the north side in front of businesses will be shortened to 10 feet and benches will be added. The project is being paid for by a grant from the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County, although Summers did not have the final cost. He said the hope is to have the majority of the work completed by Harvest Homecoming in October for safety reasons.
Summers said the changes will create a place for people to gather and make the street more functional.
“It will be very unique; it will be its own place,” Summers said.
Summers also said the improvements would go through the Board of Public Works and Safety since that board meets weekly, instead of monthly, and must approve all projects that fall into the right of way. However, that did not sit well with all redevelopment members.
“This is a redevelopment project, not a board of works project,” redevelopment member, and New Albany City Councilman, Dave Barksdale said.
The bids are supposed to be open prior to Tuesday’s board of works meeting. The redevelopment commission members agreed to meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday to review those bids and said they want to have control of the project moving forward. Work may begin as early as this month. A pre-bid meeting was held May 7 and only one contractor attended, but Summers said it was not mandated.
Barksdale also said the two medians on Market will be different looking when the work is completed. He said he hopes money can be found in the future to improve the lighting and overall appearance of the median in the “lower” block.
Summers said there was not enough money to make changes to the other median, but added that would be a priority in the future to improve the landscape and lighting in the median, from State Street to Hauss Square.
“There is a lot of traffic there so we are always looking to improve that section,” Summers said.