Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sidewalks: Ferguson, New & Weaver OR Fort Street? Campbell Street?


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Almost four years ago, on Saturday, May 1, 2004, 35 people attended a Fassnight neighborhood assessment workshop held in the Portland Elementary School all purpose room. Here are the results of that workshop. I will bet you didn't know that this neighborhood considered the intersection of Thelma and Minota a unique feature of the neighborhood. You didn't? Not to worry, it is no more. It is now a couple of "T" intersections. Can't quite place the intersection? Look here.

35 people attended. I shoulda gone, my neighbor thinks he should have gone. This is almost like the 350 people who made up Vision 20/20 deciding things for the city or that small group who went to the quarry meeting. We shoulda gone, yep, shoulda, coulda, woulda.


If there is any program the City administers that is geared toward working directly with citizens to improve their neighborhood and give them input, its the Neighborhood Assessment Program.

The trucks came today to paint blue and yellow lines on the ground signaling the location of the gas and water lines.
I AM NOT AGAINST SIDEWALKS. I AM NOT AGAINST SIDEWALKS. I AM NOT AGAINST SIDEWALKS.
I am against waste and unplanned spending. The three streets that are getting sidewalks, Ferguson, New, and Weaver (see them on the map above, they go nowhere. Surely there are more pressing areas that need sidewalks (like Bennett Street from Fort to Kansas) than these three streets. The Assessment report says as soon as a list of needs is received, a determination will be made by Springfield Public Works on where new sidewalk segments will be constructed (Fassnight Neighborhood: History, Tradition and Family, page 28).

In reading this report, things the people in the neighborhood who participated in the workshop voted on ideas that would make the neighborhood better. The #1 thing participants wanted "The City" to do was to "Increase pedestrian safety on sidewalks located along S. Campbell Avenue and S. Fort Avenue by realigning them so they are separated from the street by a grassy parkway strip."

Somehow, in the City Action Plan, this #1 thing disappeared. I think it was incorporated into the following #1 priority: "The Portland Elementary PTA should partner with the Springfield Public Works Department to identify and implement needed sidewalk improvements throughout the neighborhood."

The report continues:

Fassnight area participants were told throughout the Neighborhood Assessment workshop that the city could only focus on a few activities in the short term (note this workshop was held on May 1, 2004). Based on the input and review of the priorities identified by the Fassnight residents (the 35 who attended the meeting, none of whom live on New, Ferguson and 3 of whom live on Weaver), various City departments and other organizations have committed to taking the following 4 actions in the Fassnight Neighborhood Assessment Area:

Issue: The Portland Elementary PTA should partner with the Springfield Public Works Department to identify and implement needed sidewalk improvements throughout the neighborhood.

Response: The City of Springfield will construct some new sidewalk segments utilizing Neighborhood Assessment funds and/or a portion of the 1/4 cent sales tax funds (if any remains from the School/Sidewalk program). The exact amount of sidewalk to be constructed is undetermined because the City does not yet have the school's list of needs. As soon as the list of needs is received, a determination will be made by Springfield Public Works on where new sidewalk segments will be constructed.

Responsible Department: Public Works
I have emailed the Director of Community Relations for the School District asking him for the list of needs prepared by the school and given to the Springfield Public Works.

The guys who were painting the lines on the ground, the 1-800 DIG RITE guys, said the sidewalks were going on the west sides of the three streets. All of the property owners on the west side of New Avenue would rather the sidewalk money go to fix the pension fund. Or, if that isn't possible, that the money be spent somewhere where sidewalks are really needed. These three streets are neighborhood streets as identified in the 25 MPH program.

The #1 thing participants wanted "The City" to do was to "Increase pedestrian safety on sidewalks located along S. Campbell Avenue and S. Fort Avenue by realigning them so they are separated from the street by a grassy parkway strip."

See them cars and trucks in the pictures? Try standing on the sidewalk when they zip by you, and I am sure (wink, wink) they were all going the posted speed limit.

I would rather have my grandsons, Trey and Austin, walk down the middle of the street on New or Ferguson or Weaver than walk this sidewalk on Fort Street.

What if you were a ten year old kid riding your bicycle on this sidewalk and you hit a bump in the sidewalk and lose your balance and fall off your bike. And get hit by a car. Yeah, in my opinion, Fort needs better sidewalks a whole heck of a lot more than Ferguson, New and Weaver. And to those who think they do, What were you thinking? Have you ever walked down Fort, gee, if you are heading south, traffic is at your back. Have you ever walked down Campbell? How about actually fixing something that needs fixing, like potholes on New and Portland?



Here is a copy of the petition being circulated in the three block area. Every property owner on the west side of New signed the petition.
We appreciate the sentiment that lead to the decision to build sidewalks in the 1600 blocks of South Ferguson, South New and South Weaver. However, as residents who live on these streets, we believe that the money expended for this effort would be better spent if it were allocated to the Police and Fireman’s Pension Fund. If that is not possible, we would suggest that the money be spent on sidewalk improvements to South Fort Street and South Campbell Street as identified on page 25 of the Fassnight Neighborhood Assessment Report, accepted by the Springfield City Council on October 18, 2004: “Increase pedestrian safety on sidewalks located along S. Campbell Avenue and S. Fort Avenue by realigning them so they are separated from the street by a grassy parkway.”

NAME ADDRESS SIGNATURE
Remember the tale of the two cows, sometimes known as I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.

2 comments:

dirtsister said...

Jim, we should have went to the meeting.

I never considered the intersection at Thelma and Minota a "feature" of the neighborhood. More of a cluster eff. However, the City did address drainage problems and made MUCH needed improvements there. Thank goodness.

I don't know about sidewalks in your area, but as a frequent walker, they've been a welcome addition in the 'hood.

Want to help out with the neighborhood cleanup in May? We need volunteers.

Busplunge said...

I'm there.

I just snapped these shots of Fort Street, DANG! That sidewalk is close to the street and those cars zip by pretty fast also!