BLA: Back To The Commission

West Boardman Lake Development/Avenue Meetings

(a.k.a. Old Town By-Pass or as some call it, BLAh)

  • Monday, April 25th, TONIGHT City Commission study session • 7pm Government Center: commissioners will hear the report back from the consultants, discuss and take public comment on the matter. There will not be a vote, but it’s an excellent time to reinforce previous comments, or if you missed the meetings, learn more and have your perspectives placed on record.
  • Tuesday, May 3rd, Planning Commission • 7pm Government Center: The planning commission will hear the same report from the consultant. Their task is to measure it against the current master plan, zoning and impact on the city.
  • Monday, May 9th, City Commission • 7pm Government Center: There isn’t expected to be too much discussion on the topic at this meeting, however, a vote on whether or not to purchase Copy Central on 8th St. is expected. The recommendation from the consultant is to not make the purchase.

BLA Summary Report

The City will soon vote on option to buy Copy Central on 8th St.

Below is the summary report gleaned from the two input sessions and engineering design studies undertaking over the last 3 months. The consultant highlights some of the main issues raised at the input sessions, while still focusing on the base-level scope of the project: whether or not Copy Central needs to be purchased. It’s an accessible read that captures the key concerns.

A vote on the Copy Central purchase is not likely to pass at this time, but that doesn’t mean the avenue won’t be pursued. The City is likely to keep the BLA/Old Town Bypass alive (Plan for TC) for the immediate and long-term future. The assumption remains, by many, that it would “solve” the perceived traffic issues on Cass St.

Commentary

For my part, as someone who has yet to see a significant reason and value for the City to build this specific road, I think that is fine. It is their prerogative to pursue a project and I’m not opposed to an extension of the city grid with another “street” and targeted development, however, I remain a skeptic of an “urban bypass.” None of the designs so far presented, in themselves, seem promising in this regard.

A looming disconnect remains; with so much effort going into improving our current great divides (Division St., Grandview Parkway, 8th St…) why would we build another one? The community could still come together and address these issues if the desire for the road/street/avenue remains, but a much different process needs to be established; a process that includes a wider perspective than solving a problem in Old Town.

There are better investments that we can make that will reduce the negative impacts of motorized traffic in ALL of our neighborhoods. Those are items like traffic calming, street-scaping,  bike lanes, and a complete and comfortable side-walk network. There are also greater investments, both financially, but also politically, that will ultimately limit the increase in vehicle miles driven per day within and through the City. Some of those investments are in public transit, market valued parking, park and rides, increased density and more mixed-use throughout the city.

We won’t solve our motorized traffic problems by myopically trying to plan and build for motorized traffic. Our driving habits are like the consumption of jellybeans over Easter weekend; the experience registers in the reptilian part of our brains and self-control is easily over-run by the desire for more and as long as the bowl continues to be filled, most of us will blindly eat. Lowering the perceived “cost” of driving by facilitating its use in and through our community is like continually filling the candy bowl. You might not feel it right away, but eventually it does more than ruin your dinner.

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