Friday, March 02, 2007

Slide closes McArdle until 3 p.m. and Wabash Tunnel Pledges

Landslides are in the news again. Infrastructure crumbles. It isn't any one's fault. It happens.

I do wonder why they have built expensive homes on the edge of the slipping mountain side. I don't think that the city should insure those new construction sites.

Furthermore, the emergency funds (really rainy-day-funds) need to be in the budget. Repairs need to be made. Prevention needs to occur, as prevention is generally less expensive than rushing to the scene of an accident and overtime.
Slide closes McArdle until 3 p.m. McArdle Roadway, the steeply inclined road connecting the Liberty Bridge with Grandview Avenue atop Mount Washington, will be closed today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. so crews can remove debris that remains behind a wall running along the hillside.
I'd rather seem money being spent on landslides and basic infrastructure rather than other boondoggles, such as the twin tunnels under the river for a tiny light-rail extension. So, this is one instance, with landslides, where they need to pick the shovel up. Same too for salt boxes on hills on neighborhood streets.

The Wabash Tunnel, a past boondoggle, is back in the news. Seems Dan Onorato can make an order and lift the HOV (high occupancy veichle) restrictions. Today, autos with lone drivers as occupants get to pass through the tunnel. Generally there are restricted hours so that only cars with two or more people get to utilize the tunnel.

The tunnel provides a long cut so that those on Mt. Washington can come down the back of Mt. Washington and go to Station Square. Otherwise, they get to go to the West End or pass through the Liberty Tunnel.

The Wabash Tunnel provides a often used 'talking point' for many reason. By and large, it is a waste.

The HOV restrictions should be removed from the Wabash Tunnels forever more.

Furthermore, the Wabash Tunnel is closed for two hours every day. Nobody can use it then. Buses, vans, car-pools, and emergency EMS vehicles can't use the Wabash Tunnel then.

In the mornings, the Wabash Tunnel is one-way to Station Square. In the afternoons, the tunnel's one-way direction switches from Station Square. The tunnel takes about 2-minutes to travel its length. But, it takes PAT, the owners of the tunnel, an hour to switch the directions of the one way traffic flow in the tunnel.

This job should take five minutes. It takes an hour. And, it happens twice a day. So, what should take 10 minutes takes 120, wasting 110 minutes of road time.

If I'm elected County Executive, I'm going to close the Wabash Tunnel for more than two hours on one day because that's where I'm going to hold the block party on the day I take office. We won't have an inauguration ball. We'll have a block party in the Wabash Tunnel. One of the block party activities will be a game to see how long it takes to flip the switch to turn the Wabash Tunnel's traffic flow from inbound to outbound. We'll be rocking.

Furthermore, if and when I'm in charge, I'm going to turn one of the two lanes within the Wabash Tunnel into a bike/blade/pedestrian lane. This lane will always be open in both directions. The other lane, for cars, will be open in one direction, as required. The cars that travel in that tunnel, in one lane, don't need two lanes. I'll put that other lane to use, split by a jersey barrier from pedestrians.


End the HOV restrictions at the Wabash Tunnel.

Wabash Tunnel should include a protected, two-way sidewalk that is always open for non-motorized use.

Wabash Tunnel should not be closed for 2 hours a day to change traffic direction when the change merits only five minutes of time twice a day.

Wabash Tunnel will be the site of the inauguration gala -- err, county-wide block party, in January 2008.

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