Saturday, May 09, 2009

Salemtown Streetscape Project Shows Signs of Finally Getting Underway

For the past few days surveyors and other contractors have been busy on the streets of my neighborhood spray painting areas with underground water mains and gas pipes. Yesterday, I saw the markings for the traffic-calming "bulbs" (description and examples) for some of our heavily trafficked streets. While some other projects got dropped from the streetscape concept due to delays at Public Works and a lack of oversight at both the MDHA and neighborhood level, it is great to know that the bulbs are going to be installed. I always considered traffic-calming one of the more important priorities in this concept and as an elected Community Advisory Committee member for the entire timeline of the streetscape project, I argued vigorously and voted endlessly for the bulbs to be a main component. I feel like we owed it to our pedestrians and to the children who are at risk because of the speed with which vehicular traffic flows along our main arteries. While MDHA cancelled trees and trash receptacles intended for the bulbs, losing the bulbs themselves would have gutted a vital dimension of the project.


  1. Mike, can you elaborate on the lack of oversight at the neighborhood level? While the CAC was not strictly an SNNA committee, the number of our current (at the time) and former officers that served on the CAC gave me some assurance that CAC was providing appropriate oversight. No one from CAC returned to SNNA to report a lack of confidence in the CAC process according to my notes from the past several months of association meetings. Clearly it's too late now to recoup our cost overruns, but it's not too late to seek some sort of accountability on the part of MDHA. If you have thoughts on how best to do this, I'd love to hear them.

  2. From the last CAC mtg Feb/Mar 2008 to May 2008 I can't tell that any of the neighborhood leaders (CAC includes leaders from outside of SNNA, too) made attempts to stay on MDHA about the progress or convey that to others. In May I contacted MDHA to blog an update, because the I had heard nothing. That's when I found out that the primary architect had had a heart problem, which caused the delay.

    There was some complaining at the last SNNA mtg about "typical" govt. response. Well, if we knew that the govt. wasn't exactly accountable, shouldn't those passionate about writing the grant for the trees and getting trash cans have been more proactive in bugging Linda Howard for details?

    I expressed my opinion at the last CAC mtg you attended: I think that we have some real interest out there in generating ideas like tree grants, but nobody takes the reigns to see the project through, including turning up heat when necessary. When I pointed out at that CAC meeting one person should take the lead w/the architect, I was dismissed with the argument that the neighborhood has plenty of people who would step up and help out when needed and we didn't need to have one person doing it.

    One thing I've learned about local government is that if someone at the grassroots doesn't make themselves a proactive nuisance with the bureaucracy, then follow through will lag. We didn't make enough of a nuisance of ourselves from February 2008 in this case.

    We're not totally responsible, but the righteous indignation at the last SNNA meeting was over the top, in my opinion. Sure Public Works bears most of the burden and MDHA is a close second, but we could have pushed the process harder than we did.

  3. No trees? That's silly. Surely we could get someone to donate... perhaps Home Depot or Lowes.