Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Self-Serving Restrictions

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Self-Serving Restrictions

Citizens – I have had enough of the exploits of the Transportation and Environment Services Department (TES) – as their modus operandi is totally self-serving, embracing a minority group of bikers and scooters rather than the issues of a citizen majority.

The object of this “Vision Zero/ Road Diet” program on Seminary Road is part of an initiative to make sure that car travel becomes obsolete by reducing road size — thereby making traffic so difficult, so restrictive, that the only recourse for citizens is to capitulate and leave the car at home. The alternative offered by TES to the citizens is to walk, utilize scooters, bicycles, Metro and transit bus in lieu of cars. This “Complete Street Project” was passed behind closed doors by the city and TES and has been a total failure in California and in New York — and the disenchantment with this program is spreading to many other areas.

It is most disconcerting that the TES and city lied to the citizenry concerning the labeling of Seminary Road as “treacherous and dangerous” when in fact it has been proven by many (based upon KSI and number of crashes) that Seminary Road is the safest four lane artery in the city. Seminary Road is a very unique road accommodating a 6,000 workforce at the BRACC, cut-through traffic at eight major neighborhood streets, a school, a hospital and a fire-station. There is no other street in the city that can match this type of traffic pattern and yet the TES is willing to reduce the scope of Seminary road by 50 percent for eastbound traffic for 4/10ths of the artery length with expectations that it can accommodate the 20,000 cars that pass through this road safely.

The proposal submitted by the Clover and Seminary Hill civic associations rendered a plan (two lanes east/west) and other safety measures that would fulfill the necessary shortcomings in this area but not at the expense of decreasing road capacity — a slap in the face to the civic associations. The question remains for the TES: How do we accommodate the ambulances, the police sirens, the fire trucks, school buses, trucks and autos racing eastward converging on the single lane at St. Stephens and then reverting back to two lanes at Zabriskie Drive? How will they handle the forward move to Janney’s, right and left turns onto Quaker with other vehicles vying for the same lanes? How will any vehicle handle this bottleneck flaw in the proposed TES design?

The voices of the citizens need to be heard — not ignored. Every civic association in the affected area has opposed the change-, over 1500+ petitions were overwhelmingly in favor of the civic associations’ proposal for four full lanes. This pending change in our arterial system demands not a TES decision or a City Council decision — I challenge the city to sponsor a city-wide referendum to decide on such a radical change in our traffic pattern with a full acknowledgement that the city and TES are not listening so let the citizens speak. TES and the city need to forget the special interest groups — safety is always our goal but not at the expense of a road change resulting in gridlock.

Bill Goff