Thursday, January 18, 2007

A broken system

The big takeaway from this evening's Public Safety and Traffic Committee meeting?

A conference table full of diligent and well-intended aldercritters, Traffic Council members, and neighborhood advocates can't solve a terrible traffic problem without any idea how much money might get spent on the problem.

Item 323-06 addresses the intersection of Crafts Street and Linwood Avenue. Everyone involved agrees that it's a terrible situation. Apparently, two children trying to cross the intersection (maybe more) have been hit by cars. More later on the details of the problem.

Everyone agrees that the intersection is dangerous and needs a fix. Traffic Engineer Clint Schuckel presented four options whose price tags range from $8,000 to over $125,000. Everyone also agrees that the most expensive option -- a fully signalized intersection -- is the runawy best option.

But, the committee doesn't control the relevant purse strings. The mayor requests appropriations or, in the case of the traffic signal, puts it on the Capitol Improvements Plan. (I'm a little murky on the exact mechanics.) There are already three new lights on the 2008-2012 CIP (PDF). See page 28. For perspective, two of the three proposed lights on the 2008-2012 CIP were on the 2004-2008 CIP, filed in October 2002.

Still, the PS&T committee members have to try to figure out what the best recommendation is. Don't want to go for the full signal if it isn't going to be a capital priority. Don't want to settle for the mid-block pedestrian signal if the full signal is a priority.

Hmmmm. Wonder what the mayor is going to do?

Hey, Mr. Mayor. How big a problem is this?

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