Without priorities, opportunities are lost

Posted

It’s not just the lack of money that makes it hard to maintain and improve local streets. It’s the waste of time and money on issues of almost zero value.

Two years after closing Adams Street following some minor asphalt damage, the city is convening not one but three public meetings on what to do about it.

Why are we mired in an earnest but misdirected effort to do something of import with one block, selected at random, instead of thinking strategically? Has the city’s Six-Year Transportation Plan been amended to add it?

As a former city planner and longtime bike/pedestrian advocate, I see no need to close this block to motor vehicles.

Meanwhile, key Uptown streets like Lawrence and Tyler remain an obstacle course for people using wheelchairs or walkers. Those who think the 400 block of Adams is a priority ought to buckle into a wheelchair and cross Lawrence at Fillmore to reach the library and learn...there’s a ramp on one end of the crosswalk but not the other. Then head down Lawrence and see what barriers must be overcome at nearly every intersection, 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And having spent 13 years managing a downtown parking system in the Bay Area, I’m stunned by the artificial shortage of street parking in downtown and Uptown (e.g., Lawrence from Tyler to Polk). We could gain dozens of spaces by applying a modern standard for street parking without compromising pedestrian or bicycle amenities.

Alas, I remain hopeful after taking City Manager John Mauro on a walking tour of these issues. He’s a smart, caring person who can help us make the best of our limited resources.

Barney Burke
Port Townsend

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