Monday, February 12, 2007

DDA bails on fifth & division redesign

This came out in Thursday's paper, but we held back on posting it til today in hopes that is was an error. Alas, it appears that we can't blame this on typos or poor reporting. After all the effort put into Calthorpe and design consultants, the DDA did an about face, tightened their collective sphincter, and voted against the pedestrian and bike improvements on these parrallel rivers of traffic that divide the city.

The project already has conceptual approval and funding set aside, but several DDA members balked at the potential expense of a project that will add only 110 parking spaces downtown.

Arbor Brewing Company co-owner Rene Greff, sounding annoyed, pointed out that the DDA had approved spending $5 million to pay for the addition of 140 spaces atop the garage at Fourth Avenue and William Street, which she called the "least desirable'' parking structure.

No, it's not all about parking. We lost out on multiple improvements including bike lanes, sidewalk bulb-outs, and better streetscaping. In all it was one of the best integrated, full-featured plans to come out of the DDA. As baffling as it is that such a full featured and well researched plan would be shot down, even more incomprehensible is the fact that the majority paid for the whole process only to shoot it down with bean counting arguments at the very end.

Well, maybe it is not the very end. The designer is coming back in March. We'll keep our fingers crossed...

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