COMMENT OF THE DAY: OBSTACLE COURSE SIDEWALKS WERE PART OF THE EAST END PLAN “. . . The City government had the power, through its consent agreement, to require wider sidewalks. Put another foot or two on a sidewalk and suddenly an intrusive fixture, like a power pole, become less of an obstacle. However, elected officials at that time were freaked out about right-of-way takes. Also, the mayoral administration at that time decided that the City should not burden METRO with more costs, a position with which of course METRO heartily agreed. There was no other funding mechanism (like the recently created East End TIRZ) to fill the cost gap. There were those of us who tried very hard to express our concern, but it was decided otherwise. So when you are dismayed at the photos above, rest assured that when the City officials made their choice, they knew full well that we would end up with those results.” [Local Planner, commenting on Power to the Pedestrians: Sidewalk Utility Poles of the East End Line]
For anybody who’s curious, this is what CenterPoint had to say in response to a comment I left them on Twitter about the pole/sidewalk disaster—
“We believe the poles were in place when the street was widened: the sidewalk was laid around the poles”
FYI, the City actually gave METRO a variance from the Public Works Department street standards in order for the project to have less than required right of way behind the curb. The standard at that time was 9 to 11 feet depending on street type, which would have allowed for a considerably wider sidewalk.
This is what happens in a city with no mutual accountability and a lazy attitude about planning decisions: you get fingers pointing in every direction. It was Metro! It was Centerpoint! It was City government!
No, it was all three. Like a car full of clowns, the minor bureaucrats who make decisions in these agencies continue to drive in three or four directions at once. Until there is a mutual responsibility that hurts at some level (i.e. lawsuits, or threats of firing) this situation won’t change.
It’s shameful that in a supposedly modern city, we could have street construction worse and more embarrassing than in an underdeveloped third world nation. Even worse, the people who made these decisions probably don’t recognize their gross, abject incompetence.
Forward this mess to http://www.ada.gov, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act. That may well be the fastest way to make all the interested/guilty parties perform.
This reminds me of an old joke… A man is sitting at a cafe and looking at a city construction crew working on the street. He sees one guy going in a row and digging holes a few feet apart, then a few minutes later another guy is going behind him and covering the holes up with dirt. The man walks up to the foreman and asks, why is the First guy digging the holes and the Second guy is filing them up, you’re just wasting my tax dollars. The foreman withe a reassuring tone said, no you don’t understand, it’s the First guy that’s digging the holes, but it’s the Third guy that’s filling them up, the Second guy was supposed put a tree in it, but he called in sick today.
This does not surprise me.