DOWNTOWN DESIGN JETTISONS 20 PARKING SPACE, CREATES A SNOW-REMOVAL HEADACHE … IS TWO STATE REPS TOO MANY FOR PITSFIELD? … PLUS MORE COVERAGE ON THE ‘GEPIT’ ISSUE
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, OCT. 23, 2011) — Supping in hand-made ravioli squares with a chick pea-and-beat balsamic salad and washed down by red and white might take our mind off of the issues of the day, but alas, ’tis Monday, and the world awaits.
First up today is the roadwork in downtown North Street, Pittsfield. The wider sidewalks may look pretty, but they come at a high price (excluding, for the moment, the Massive Gravy Train the cops get in OT pay to stand there, talk on their cell phones, ignore traffic, and chat with workers). The most exacting cost will be on downtown merchants, who will be robbed of 20 parking spaces because of the curved bump-outs. The bump-outs serve an aesthetic purpose, not a functional one. They provide a classic example of what works on the drawing board may not work in real life.
THE CITY’s ANSWER TO THE PARKING PROBLEM: MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT
Parking has FOREVER been an issue, or at least for the past generation. There aren’t enough spaces to satisfy the needs, the parking maids and maidmen act like zealots, and the contemplation of parking keeps more people away from the business hub than any other single factor, except for maybe the walking dead and assorted critters who infest the street.
So what does the city of Pittsfield do? It designs away 20 spaces. The bump-outs eat up that many spaces. Neat, huh? Also note that in designing this, the city ignored the en masse protests of the majority of small business owners directly affected by this move.
LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW
The improper design also has created a snow-removal problem. First, the bump-outs round out directly into what used to be the straight plowing lanes, a smooth, straight, curb-aligned path for quick removal. Under the new design, the plows must each up before hitting the bumps. This will pile up snow and require extra maneuvering by the drivers. A supporter made the ridiculous point that the round-outs are like parked cars that plows have to negotiate.
Un no. Illegally parked cars can be towed. Try doing that with a round-out.
THE PLANET had the chance to speak with several plow jockeys recently: Uniformly, they spit on the new design. One plow guy called the bump-outs “a Sun City design.” When we asked him to explain, he said it’s the type of sidewalk enhancement that usually gets reserved for locales with warm climates and little or no snow. In Pittsfield, he said, “This will be a disaster.”
Moreover, the wider sidewalks means more work for the store merchants to keep the paths clean in winter. Apparently, the city feels they don’t have enough to do now trying to stay alive on the mean streets.
Wider sidewalks translate into narrower vehicle lanes. Snow pileup on curbside, a persistent winter discouragement for downtown foot traffic, will further eat into the traffic lanes. THE PLANET shares some inside knowledge to all and any budding entrepreneurs for a great business to break into before the snows fall: Renting Sherpa guides and pack mules to help people climb the mountainous snowbanks.
A TOWN WITHOUT PITY, A CITY WITHOUT A CLUE
It all adds up to a city without a clue, the implementation of a Master Plan that wasn’t so masterful, and the general sense of ineptness that hangs over official business like a PCB cloud.
TWO INTO ONE DON’T GO … OR DOES IT?
Another local issue that has emerged is discussion to eliminate one state representative from Pittsfield by combining the two legislative districts, including the Third with 12 of 14 Pittsfield precincts, into one district. The matter will be brought up tomorrow at the city council meeting.
First reaction, which is not always the best, would caution THE PLANET against this move. All things being equal, why is it good to take away a representative? Isn’t is best for the city to have two advocates in Boston instead of one?
Perhaps all things are equal. Perhaps proponents of this measure have a strong case. We keep an open mind, but we have many red flags that will have to be lowered.
WE’RE NOT AFTER A PULITZER; WE ONLY WANT TO KEEP THE PLAYING FIELD LEVEL FOR WE THE PEOPLE ON THE “GEPIT” ISSUE
We are not after a Pulitzer Prize, which someone said to us this weekend. The comment was tinged with sarcasm over our coverage of the GE-PCB issue, which we contend is the single most important issue facing the city.
In light of the residual toxins that GE has left throughout the city, we do not consider the matter closed. We do not accept the Consent Decree as the last word. As THE PLANET has pointed out, the decree has provisions for re-addressing issues originally NOT addressed at all or satisfactorily. We never said repoeners would be easy, but when is something worthwhile “easy”?
The GE-Pittsfield Industrial Toxin issue (GEPIT) can be divided into two parts:
(1) Re-addressing Pittsfield, especially Hill 78 and Silver Lake.
(2) Deciding on what to do about the Rest of the River (to Long Island Sound).
No media outlet has provided the in-depth coverage of this website. No media outlet has provided for a full range of public commentary. No media outlet has made sure the GEPIT discussion remains current. THE PLANET serves We The People.
In that vein, we bring you another guest commentary.
‘REST OF VIVER DOESN’T SPEAK FOR ALL OF US IN WARD 4’
By CHARLES CIANFARINI
Special to PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
We thank Charles Cianfarini for this post. THE PLANET encourage comments from all qualified writers on all relevant issues.
WITH APLOMB AND LEFTOVERS, WE SAY,
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLE.”
LOVE TO ALL.