Saturday, March 24, 2007

The North-South Depressway (updated). . .

To update my post of yesterday, it is now clear that different and contradictory versions of the various "alternatives" to the N-S Arterial redesign have been presented to the public.

The Depressed Highway Alternative is shown here:
with the Arterial passing UNDER Court St.

The Multiway Boulevard Alternative is shown here:
with the Arterial intersecting Court St. AT GRADE LEVEL (a conventional intersection or roundabout).

Somehow, by the time they got to the iteration labeled "Thursday, December 7, 2006 7:00 PM," BOTH the Depressed Highway and Multiway Boulevard Alternatives have the arterial passing OVER Court Street!
(See see pages 24 and 32)

So two people could be talking about the "Depressed Highway Alternative" but mean entirely different things BECAUSE THE DEFINITIONS OF THEM HAVE CHANGED.

"Bait and Switch?" "Doublespeak" a la George Orwell's '1984?'

Maybe. . . maybe not. It might just represent evolution of the two plans due to various considerations mentioned in the power point presentation -- and a failure to label the latest iterations as "v. 2" or "revised" to alert a public that does not have time to pour through all the presentation pages that proposals have changed. One thing that is apparent -- and warrants reopening public discussion on this -- is that the changes in the plans for Court Street were NOT widely known. I for one preferred the Boulevard proposal, but felt the Depressed Highway was OK -- based on the plans as presented in September. When I heard that things were narrowed to these two, I thought "OK, no need to get involved." There was no notice that fundamental changes had been made. I was unaware of the changes until a reader called them to my attention. I usually follow the news pretty closely, and don't go to meetings unnecessarily. If I was unaware of the changes, many others also probably were.

To be Nice, Let's call what has happened an "Unintended Bait-and-Switch."

Nevertheless, the Court Street Overpass is a significant change to both the "depressed" and "boulevard" proposals, and for many might make them unacceptable. Certainly we know (from the first two versions of these alternatives) that Grade Level and Depressed Arterial crossings of Court Street are feasible and sound.

Here are pictures of Court Street taken today, and how it might look with an overpass added.

court st now court st 2012

This will, for sure, reduce the redevelopment potential of this part of West Utica, if not eliminate it altogether.

The Depressed Highway, or Multiway Boulevard proposals AS ORIGINALLY PRESENTED IN SEPTEMBER were much better with regard to Court Street.


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