From Abbott and Costello to Gahan and Phipps — that’s the Great Rails to Trails Bait ‘n’ Switch of 2019.


I’m turning over a new leaf … on January 1. Festivus lasts until all my grievances are aired.

In 2018, Mayor Jeff Gahan unveiled a wondrous plan for rails-to-trails to extend from just north of the former Pillsbury plant to Bedford, reminding us that when anything seems too good to be true, check your wallet.

ON THE AVENUES: “That’s why I voted no,” explains Scott Stewart, pausing to duck rocks feebly lobbed by Team Gahan’s propaganda pygmies.

The hosannas rained down, the boot-polishers got giddy, and yet no observers in local mainstream media bothered asking the only pertinent question: Wouldn’t an idea like this be far better linking the Greenway to IU Southeast? — and besides, the city of New Albany wouldn’t even be responsible for 95% of any such project perched on the outer edge of the city limits, right?

Dear Leader took credit, the sycophants became orgasmic, and apart from this blog, conventional media outlets repeated the press release talking points with nary a moment of doubt.

However, there was ample annoyance from property owners along the rights-of-way outside city limits, as well two or three oblique voices located far away from the Gahan inner circle, who kept pointing out an important fact: A component of the city’s deal with Sazerac to move into Pillsbury included the provision that CSX would be re-opening the rail line running through the densely populated center of the city, which only a few years ago was a controversial facet of life downtown.

Or, precluding the only rational use of the railroad’s right of way for a rails to trails scheme owing to the elegantly simple reason that it was about to be put back into use, thus averting gazes elsewhere. Neither the mayor nor a single candidate for city council thought this entire situation important enough to clarify or so much as mention during the municipal campaign, prime among them Greg Phipps, who once upon a time was outspokenly opposed to trains disrupting the serenity of his hermetic third district.

Gahan’s rails-to-trails public relations stunt — and that’s all it ever was — will be tied down amid lawsuits from property owners … and it never had anything to do with New Albany, anyway.

Meanwhile Phipps has become a born-again defender of corporate interests at the expense of — shall we say it aloud? — QUALITY OF LIFE in his district.

And, notice yet again that Gahan’s automobile supremacist default floats inevitably to the surface; in an ideal instance where non-automotive mobility might have been served by a downtown rails-to-trails, Gahan ends by assuring you that the roadway for your car will be smoother.

Bait and switch, thy name is Gahan, but don’t look at me. I didn’t re-elect the evasive connivers — you did.

CSX has begun the process of replacing railroad components throughout New Albany, by John Boyle (No Newspaper Never Mind)

 … Work to update the tracks and roadway intersections started in recent weeks, with crews popping up in areas throughout the city.

No exact timeline for the repairs has been set, but Mayor Jeff Gahan said the work is in full swing.

“It’s fully under construction,” he said. “They want it done as soon as possible. They have removed some ties and done some road repairs.”

Early phases of the work have seen crews working to tear up and replace older components of the railroads to ready them for renewed traffic. Such construction has seen the closure of sections of roadways along the East 15th Street tracks, including some that have lasted throughout this week.

Another feature of the final product will be improved intersections with the city’s streets. Gahan said the city is looking to make these crossings smoother for vehicles …