First consultation

This morning, Amy and Will from Transportation Alternatives came to take a look at the problem spots in our neighborhood. We gave them a lot to work with. Susan and her neighbor Estelle met up with us at the corner of 51st and Skillman, and we walked my son to school. On the way back we walked around 54th Street and 39th Drive so that Will could see the problems there. Back at Skillman and 51st we met up with David, and Amy joined us; she had made a wrong turn in Blissville. We looked at that intersection and then went down to 52nd where we were joined by Marykate from Eric Gioia’s office. We talked for a while, and then Susan and Estelle had to go to work. The rest of us went into Aubergine and sat down to discuss strategies. Eventually, David and Marykate had to leave, and I gave Amy and Will a tour of the rest of Skillman and 43rd Avenues.

Amy and Will had a bunch of great ideas already: converting the parallel parking on the north side of Skillman to angle parking, converting from parking meters to muni-meters, adding a cycle track, removing parking spaces near corners to increase visibility (known as “daylighting”), sidewalk extensions, well-marked crosswalks. They will digest the notes they took and probably come back at least once to gather more information. Then they will process it all and give us some suggestions.

Marykate had some interesting information. Apparently since he’s been in office Eric has received a large number of letters from people all over the neighborhood asking for traffic safety improvements. They pass everything on to the DOT, but most of the requests get rejected. I also heard from a friend this weekend that some of our neighbors are competing against each other for improvements (“How come she got a bump? I need a bump on my street!”). If we take a bigger-picture approach and work on a multi-block traffic safety plan, it will probably be more effective.

There are some principles that I want to keep to as much as possible in this process.

  1. Keep the focus on our goal: safety. Amy and Will had a lot of suggestions to improve safety, and adding stoplights was only one of them. I don’t want any of us to get too invested in a particular solution and miss other possibilities.
  2. Aim for a united approach. Susan had her petition in Chinese and Korean as well as English, and I think that’s a great idea. We want a plan that works for as many people as possible, and we don’t want to take anyone by surprise.

This afternoon I had to do some work at Berkeley Towers, and Cay Volpe was very interested in some of the ideas. She was intrigued by Estelle’s suggestion to make 39th Drive one-way and Will’s idea of angle parking. If 39th Drive is made one-way, she thougth that angle parking might work well there. She said that we would probably be able to use the Berkeley Towers rec room for a meeting, but was afraid that there would be enough people interested in just the three Berkeley Towers and the Parc Plaza to fill the 90 seats, leaving no room for anyone else!

I also stopped in the corner deli on 52nd and mentioned our project to Kazi.   He liked the idea and wanted to have a say, and said that we were welcome to drop off materials when we need to.  Maybe we can get him a loading zone.

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