About a month ago, I wrote about a public meeting concerning the expansion of Hwy 75. Tonight was the final public meeting about it.
I showed up about a half hour late, and found the building almost empty. I found out that the council convened the meeting, then a member of the council spoke for a few minutes. Of late, the conversation surrounding this plan had turned increasingly emotional. As a result, the city council decided to "table the project indefinitely."
Among other things, the council expressed hurt at the way that the city council had been labeled as not caring about the safety of the people of the city.
I spoke to a few people who had been at the meeting, and the response to the cities decision was mixed. Some were please with the way that the council defused an increasingly emotional issue, others thought that the council tried to make themselves look like the victims.
My feelings are mixed. I was not very excited about the prospect of a five lane cutting through town. Our downtown is nothing special, but a five lane would have made the environment downtown worse. That said, K and I were very excited about the improvements to pedestrian crossings. The tentative plans included islands, pedestrian activated strobe crossings, and bump outs to facilitate traffic calming. I fear it will be several years, if at all, before any of those will happen now that the expansion project is tabled.
I believe that they council wants to do what is best for the city. Unfortunately they failed to sell the project to the town, and consequently got villainized by the citizen led opposition. In the past weeks, a website, a Facebook page, flyers and mailers raised considerable opposition against the project.
Overall, we live in a town that is quite bike and pedestrian friendly. I do look forward to the possibly that my children will have multiple points to cross the highway in safety. I do hope that future projects will have a nuanced view of the needs of the people of this city, and give the people of this city a more interactive role in planning.