Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Three Laning of Prince: We take a position.

Don't do it. See this post.

But either way, be advised that, if three-laning passes and works, we will take credit for being in favor of it all along. If it passes and is a miserable failure, then we will ride the "I told you so" train.
It's a grand journalistic tradition, really. Don't say we never learned anything from the ABH.

Seriously, there have been good and compelling arguments on both sides of this one. And while right now, we're leaning against the three-laning, we're convincable. So convincable, in fact that this post was initially in favor of the three-laning, until we read safeashouses this morning. So feel free to try to convince us. Not that we have a vote or anything.

We'd also like to mention the really smart political move by the Chamber of Commerce. (We believe in giving credit where credit is due.) This is in reference to the insane amount of money that it's going to cost ACC to take over the Milledge-Pulaski corridor, and the Chamber suggests that instead, we take the money and devote it to public transportation. Smart political move from the Chamber, and that would have convinced us, except that we know that the M&C is teh suck when it comes to funding the Bus. Now that the Chamber is on record as such strong supporters of public transportation though, we do hope they'll continue to fight the good fight.

Of course, as any follower of Athens politics (the concept, not the blog) knows, now that the Chamber is in favor of public transportation, the M&C must violently oppose it.



ned said...

As someone who used to ride a bicycle up and down Prince quite a bit, I don't really see a need to 3 lane the road. It is quite wide and late at night I would just ride on the sidewalks if noone was walking on them. I would have felt a little bit safer if Dougherty were 3 lanes instead of 4, but that is mainly because it is a little bit of a hill and you can't see over it on a bicycle.

The biggest issue I have with Prince is the two pedestrian crosswalks they have in the middle of the road. When I would walk downtown sometimes I would cross there instead of at a stop light, and a lot of the time cars would ignore me and keep driving down the road as quickly as possible with little concern for my safety.

Another thing to consider is that if Prince were to become 3 lanes and people were taking Boulevard to Barber, then Barrow and on to Pulaski to get downtown, I have a feeling there could be a ton of accidents on Pulaski street. That road really doesn't need any more traffic.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't there more discussion of wider sidewalks with room for pedestrians and bikes? Certainly there may be portions of Prince on which it would not be feasible, but wouldn't that solve a lot of the current conflicts?

I support 3-laning, at least the portion currently under consideration. I think that the narrow question of whether to three lane from downtown to Milledge is the only question to consider now, and should not be confused with the larger question of whether A-CC should take over the state-controlled portions of Milledge and Prince. The three-laning between downtown and Milledge will be cheap, and easily reversible if it's a disaster. Apparently some opponents believe that three-laning is some sort of sop to bike riders, and as such must be either (1) the first domino on the way to communism in Clarke County; or (2) a sign of the apocalypse. It's just re-lining a street, people.

Although I do support 3-laning, back to my original point -- why not make wider sidewalks for bikes and pedestrians, and avoid some of this brouhaha? I was in that bastion of sprawlitude, Alpharetta, this weekend, and even those long-commuting car-centric suburbanites had built wide sidewalks on BOTH sides of a major road -- I saw people walking, biking, and rollerblading, all in Alpharetta, who knew? If they can do it, why can't we?

Publius said...

Well, to be fair, Alice Kinman did try a few weeks ago, but apparently the people in that area just don't want wider sidewalks, according to their commissioner.

I kind of hope that Alice K keeps fighting for wider sidewalks, because I agree that it's a good first step.

Anonymous said...

David Lynn said that? Ugh. Seems he didn't ask me first. He's the same guy who said let's not vote on this narrow issue when we can make it a big debate about A-CC buying a bunch of real estate. VERY effective tactic.

RandomThoughts said...

Does anyone else remember many, many years ago when we voted tax money to make sidewalks biker friendly? That's why there are all those ramp thingys at intersections. Our tax money paid for them. About as soon as they were finished people stopped talking about them and they appear to have been forgotten. What happend with that idea? And will these bike lanes go the same way?

Fishplate said...

I don't think wider sidewalks are a solution, since that mixes pedestrian and bicycle traffic with potentially disaterous results - more so than mixing cars and bikes.

I like the ~idea~ of three-laning, it seems to have made Lumpkin and Baxter better streets. But they were too narrow to begin with to support the four-lane configuration.

A radical idea would be to increase enforcement of current laws already on the books, in order to make the Prince corridor safer - beginning with the Milledge to Pulaski segment. Sppeds too high? Write tickets. Cars runnig the pedestrians at crosswalks? Write tickets. Get the message out by hitting folks in their wallets that there are consequences for breaking laws, and the "problem" might solve itself.

If that doesn't work, find a way to take the parked cars off of Prince and put them on a side street, or an adjacent lot...I suspect some of the crossing issues are because pedestrians (necessarily) pop out from between cars. There are issues with bikes and parked cars, too. Removing cars leaves lots of room for bikes, without any changes. I wonder how many parking places there are on this section of Prince? Perhaps making people walk a block to shop will get the business owners to squawk, but It's not a bad thing...

My limited experience with Prince over the years is that traffic moves very smoothly there, without a lot of problem. There are far worse traffic issues in A-CC that are in need of real solutions. I understand that the re-striping is being discussed now since some painting will occur anyway, but I don't really think this needs to be done this month.

As for taking over the outer section of Prince from the state, that's no solution at all. Do you think the state will take the $90k they save from not maintining that section and spend it on other roads in A-CC, or will the money disappear? Take the money and pay a Traffic officer to enforce the law...

Fishplate said...

I could be wrong, but I suspect the sidewalk ramps are an ADA requirement. Anyway, the A-CC Code prohibits riding bikes downtown, where many of these ramps have been placed.

Sec. 3-10-3. Riding bicycles on public sidewalks; riding roller skates, roller blades, or skateboards on public sidewalks or on public streets.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to rollerskate, rollerblade, ride a skateboard, or ride a bicycle on any public sidewalk located within the area designated as the downtown tax district.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to rollerskate, rollerblade, ride a skateboard, or ride a bicycle on any portion of a public sidewalk in any zoning district where the door of an adjacent building opens directly onto the sidewalk. The beginning and end of each such portion of sidewalk shall have a sign stating that riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is prohibited between the signs.

I don't know how much of this applies to the section of Prince in question.

Dawg Corleone said...

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I've read and heard the comments of supporters, and even they seem to say they don't know how this would work.

Seems pretty stupid, then, to say "let's try it and see what happens." Sounds like a kid in a chemistry class: "let's mix this up and see what we get." Yes, maybe you'll get a cancer cure. But--much more likely--you'll get an explosion and a big mess.

Get the kids away from the chemistry set and put the adults back in charge.

Publius said...

With respect to Fishplate's idea of writing more tickets, I agree. And not just on Prince either. So we're on the same page there, but just for the sake of argument, let me submit this. If we ticket more, then the traffic stops will probably end up creating a good bit of congestion on their own, since you know there's always going to be that d-bag who doesn't pull into the Potter's House parking lot to receive his justice.

I'm just saying. But yeah, the ACCPD should get serious about traffic enforcement, but that's a totally different political issue.

no catsup said...

The quality of life in a city improves as we have legititimate transportation alternatives other than the automobile. In my view --for a city of it's size Athens has a serious traffic problem and three laning Prince we give people the option of getting around by means other than a car. I have been to Eugene and Chico (both college towns) and people bike, roller blade, skateboard, walk all the time. Why not Athens?? I wonder if getting people out of their cars might help with GA abysmmal obesity rankings (46th out of 50 I believe)

You're either part of the problem or part of the solution.

Jmac said...

That's an absurdly simple look at something like three-laning Prince Avenue. Part of the solution or part of the problem? Please ... let's keep some perspective here.

So increased population growth in Jackson County and increased traffic flow on Prince Avenue means ... three-lane and the pedestrians and cyclists will come? It's not that simple. That's merely one (unprovable) part of the equation that is detached from the reality of the situation.

It would be one thing if folks were driving from Cobbham to Prince Avenue. It's another thing with folks from Jefferson doing so.

hillary said...

Yeah. I'm for the three-laning, and I kind of think that reason's crap. The hope is that it will slightly improve safety for vehicles. I don't think anyone who's not already planning on walking will really do so just because of this.

Anonymous said...

Awww, come on guys! I thought you were a lot smarter than this - the Chamber is in favor of public transportation?! LOL! Yeah, right.

The Chamber (and their buds) don't give a golden rodent's sphincter about The Bus or any other kind of publicly funded assistance to anybody - especially the poor. What they love to do and always do is trot out some lame BS like this every time they oppose something progressive and use (well, more like twist) the very words used by the truly progressives in some hope of saying "see? you said you wanted to help with XYZ and this will hurt that cause" - it is not just baloney; it's cheap, past-expiration-date, left out of the refrigerator too long baloney!

Just try increasing the budget for Athens Transit by $90k next year and see what reaction you get from these phoney jerk-offs!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last poster. I laughed out loud at the Chambers advocacy for Transit when I read of it this morning... and after a day of book-sitting (yawn...) I still find this very, very amusing. 590K, lol try the 190 our supposedly progressive M and C couldn't put in this past year. I sat back instead of fighting that part of the budget only because I cannot wait to throw that in the faces of the candidates when they run for re-election. This issue is confusing for me, I don't really see why the hospital and chamber give a rats ass about that intersection. I think all they care about is opposing any priorities expressed by either BikeAthens or GrowGreen. And heavens knows, they're no fans of the Historic Preservation folks, neighborhood orgs like the Boulevard or Cappa efforts, or anyone else remotely interested in advocating for the working people of our community or our environment. So as a progressive, I'm going to dance with the ones who brung me on this, and come down on the side of three laning. I personally cannot stand our Mayor, so I am hoping that this vote comes down 5-5 and she actually has to VOTE on this one, isn't it about time she stopped namby pambying around (I have really enjoyed her avoidance of responsibility for the subsidies for Certainteed and Naga-whatchamacallit) and had to vote on something? I have a feeling she's enjoying sitting back and watching everyone else run for her job, while she bides her time and then smugly assumes that we'll all hump like hell for her again. Not me, nope, I'd work for Keith Johnson first... wait, no, make that Andy Rusk. yup, I'd work like crazy for Andy Rusk... just to see her squirm. At least that would be a sign of some genuine emotion, which the coldest woman I've ever known, in the world, ever only ever expresses to... well, Al, evidently.
See y'all on the tv shortly!


Dawg Corleone said...

PLEASE PEOPLE! Don't tie up 3 hours of my night with your jabbering. Let the Commission vote, one way or the other, and let's all get to bed early. Some of us--mainly the Anti-3-Laning folks--have real, regular jobs that don't involve cooking someone's food or fixing their bicycle tires or designing their tattoos and need to get up early in the morning.

Dawg Corleone said...

Well, no such luck. The masses are out in, well, mass, every single freakin' one of them convinced they have the magic words that will sway the Commission to vote their way. What an arrogant populace we have.

Looks like it's gonna be a long, long night.

Anonymous said...

if anybody is watching the meeting, please post how the vote(s) is/are going - I don't get that channel on my dish.


Anonymous said...

the 3-laning of Prince would have been nice to have but it didn't go. That bothers me only a little.

The vote against local control of Prince and Milledge was deeply disappointing and makes it pretty clear which Commissioners have any vision for the future of Athens and which just have their heads buried in their backsides. We are now at the mercy of GDOT for 2 of our most important surface streets. I can almost hear the chainsaws now - you know that trees present a serious danger to motorists in the Auto Recovery Zones (which many of us only know by their common name "sidewalks").

OK, fight or flee? Elections are less than a year away.

Publius said...

"Awww, come on guys! I thought you were a lot smarter than this - the Chamber is in favor of public transportation?! LOL! Yeah, right."

Sorry, I forgot to turn on the sarcasm font. Obviously this is just a political move by the Chamber, and they cold care less about public transportation. They were just trying to give the M&C a black eye on this one. So I was more applauding the political smarts than the actual position.

"Now that the Chamber is on record as such strong supporters of public transportation though, we do hope they'll continue to fight the good fight." (Meant to be uber-snarky.)

Fishplate said...

Prince Avenue isn't Ga. 400, you know...I'd like to see an example of GDOT cutting trees on urban surface streets before I condemn them.

Anonymous said...

you would?! seriously?!

OK, that might not happen but, it could happen and it could begin tomorrow morning and there would be absolutely nothing that Athens could do about it if those trees are in the GDOT-controlled right of way.

GDOT has already made it impractical for some businesses to make adaptive reuse of existing structures on Milledge and Prince because GDOT is absolutely unyeilding and uncompromising on their standards.

Here's another suggestion some of you may wish to pursue: ask the good (Republican) citizens of Roswell how this has worked out for them.