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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

One Way or Two for Lynchburg: The Ins and Outs

In a Gary Larsen cartoon, there is one I particularly like. It depicts a monster that arrives at a something similar to a carnival ride. On a sign, with the city off in the distance, it states "you must be this tall to attack the city. " I may not be tall enough to attack the city, but I want to bring something out where I think Lynchburg is wasting our tax money.

Lynchburg has paid consultants to do their thinking for them. And is continuing to use consultants at a great cost to us. And the city is trying to change the face of the city according to what the consultants tell them. Some of these ideas, that the city is buying are just not so great. And in this post, I will use my own free consultants to explain why.

Lets take a look at the idea that the city wants to convert mainstreet to a two way road. WSET has reported on this, and they say a city engineer says the cost would be at least 140,000. This does not even include the consultant fee.

This, according to the city, would increase a more "pedestrian friendly environment." They envision that slower traffic will allow smaller spaces between cars and people would in a sense be able to jaywalk between them, improving the walking environment downtown.

There are other cities that have done studies on this, and even have tried it. And there are disadvantages. Here are some:

1. Traffic will increase by at least 25%
2. There will be an increase in the number of accidents.
3. When accidents do occur, traffic will come to a halt, because of they will not be able to pass unless going into oncoming traffic.
4. Other downtown streets will be less traveled.
5. While previously buses were easy to get around when they stop, now they would stop traffic.
6. Parking spaces would be decreased.
7. All the signal lights will have to be retimed, some may even need to be replaced.
8. Everything from trash cans to landscaping may have to be moved to decrease visual obstructions.
9. Transit time in the downtown area will be significantly increased.
10. There are other less expensive ways to improve merchant visibility, using the current one way traffic system.
11. The Federal Department of Transportation has advised one city not to do this.
12. Provisions need to be made for truck deliveries that will also stop traffic.

Surprisingly, my consultants cost me nothing to draw these conclusions. All you have to do is be internet savvy and look for the experience of others. My consultation cost 0, the city's cost 190,000 and growing. We are asking the city to be responsible for our tax money.


Another conclusion from another city council in California

City of Holyoke


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Ken Martin said...

While I am not in favor of spending tax dollars for something other localities have done. Iwould be interested in what the other studies have shown.

One of the biggest concerns and complaints I hear about any city is the traffic downtown, all those one-way streets and not to mention there is no place to park. It happens in Lynchburg, Roanoke, Richmond and New York City.

What about the cities with good parking downtown? For an example Charlotte and Atlanta, even Los Angeles? How do they do it?

Why change something if it isn't broken? If you do, learn and lead by example.

By the way, I have found memories of shopping in downtown Lynchburg as a child. I really miss it.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thank you Ken for your comment. You do bring up a valuable point. A proactive approach would be for the city, to look at how other cities have resolved problems such as parking. The more we can learn from the experience of others, frees us from learning the hard way ourselves.

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doing things the hard way tends to be the recent trend in Lynchburg. Elected leaders are unable to think for themselves so thet turn to outside consultants to do their thinking.

The down hill turning point in Lynchburg began with the city council election held in 1996. The legacy of the campaign theme of "Lynchburg first" came to mean the opposite. Now in 2005, Lynchburg is clearly run by Dumbocrats. And the local socialist broadside press doesn't have a clue why so many city employees are leaving in droves.


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