Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Concrete Again Trumps Trees

Here's the view of 100 Central, looking south. Note the porte-cochere jutting out into the street on the left. Now the city has also brought the sidewalk out to the edge of the porte-cochere apparently to give the impression that it belongs there. Also note the black olive trees on the right that shade the street and the R-O-W between the curb and the library walkway. Evidently now that the street has been narrowed, these tree branches will have to be trimmed - likely to be sheared parallel to the curb line.

In the other photograph you can see how the porte-cochere juts out into the street. The curb line north of 2nd St (shown in this photo) used to align with the curb south of 2nd St. The city has extended the sidewalk out to the line of the porte-cochere for the enitire block of Central between 1st St. and 2nd St., apparently to line up with the new porte-cochere. This "concrete chunk" results in the narrowing of the street.

This extended sidewalk area also removes a number of on street parking spots in a area that needs parking. Concrete also trumps parking.

When we asked the City Traffic Engineer what effect this would have on the trees along Central he responded as follows.

Ms. Reynolds:

The traffic will continue to be two-ways on Central Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets and one-way as it has always been between Main and 1st Streets.

The trees on the west side (Library side) will need to be trimmed for trucks to be able to pass side by side. The width of the street is about 24 feet from back of curb to back of curb and that is a sufficient width for two-way traffic in the urban core.

If you have any questions or need further clarification, please feel free to call our office at (941) 954-4180.

Sam Freija Manager of Traffic Engineering

The only question we have is:

Why? Why did we allow this "concrete chunk"?


Anonymous said...

If you ask why this happened, most City officials claim ignorance (big surprise on that one!), but the Department that had direct involvement with the issue is the City Planning Department and Jane Robinson. What I find interesting about Mr. Freija's comments is his claim that the width of the street is "about" 24'. Width of City Streets are mandated by the City Engineering's Engineering Design Criteria Manual (EDCM). I would suggest that SOS check into whether that section of street meets the minimum requirements specified by the EDCM. If they do not- then there is a legal problem that the City should address. Additionally, the stop sign by the Whole Foods loading dock continues to be knocked down by the tractor trailer trucks trying to back in. This situation has been unsafe since the beginning, and the City continues to ignore the problem- as they allowed it to happen. Someone will end up hurt as a result of this. I've already seen at least one car zoom through because of no stop sign. The public parking along that side of Whole foods also appears top have been dedicated now to Whole Foods- no doubt as a quiet acknowledgenment by the City Engineering Department that the loading conditions do not meet minimum requirements identified in the City's EDCM. Someone should hold the City accountable for continuing to negotiate away the public's interests with the Developers that seem to permanently occupy City Official's office chairs.

Anonymous said...

The EDCM Manual specifies Central Avenue in that location as a ST-60-34 street- as a "free movement thoroughfare suitable for General, Center, and Core Zones". Specified pavement width for this street is designated as 34' Pavement Width for two way traffic(table 5-1). It would appear the City is not following their own guidelines.......

Anonymous said...

This saturday there were a number of cars parked along Central in front of Starbucks, there were also a number of cars and trucks parked adjacent to the porte coche. In affect making the street a one lane street.

The trees have been trimmed and the gardens under the trees trashed