Our March monthly meeting will be this Wednesday, Mar 6, 7-9 PM at the Strathcona Community Centre. No big agenda as yet, just general discussion of what's been going on with the Community Panel and in the hood. (e-mail Dan if you have something you'd like to add to the agenda).
The Community Panel will be holding its first public workshop the night before on Tuesday March 5 from 7-9 PM. Click here for info and tickets.
Our National/Charles plan is officially on the Panel's table, though there has been resistance to it for the following reasons:
1. National costs too much
Really? We've taken a closer look at the City's budget estimates and question this presumption. For one, the biggest line item in the City's National/Grant option is $160-240M for property mitigation, which we presume includes moving the Fire Training Centre to some primo real estate and also, we've heard, $40M to construct a parking structure to compensate for a few city yard parking spaces lost to the S curve at National and Thornton. We suspect these numbers have been inflated to make the National option appear too expensive. Click here to see our comparision chart.
2. The "S" Curves on Thorton are poor, unsafe roadway design
Really? Aren't they safer because they slow traffic? In either case, we think there's an Even Better Way: NatCha Straight. Why not continue National straight through to Station or Main or Quebec? We've been told that this can't be done because the hospital design is already set in stone - but the hospital's presentation to the Panel said this isn't so. It hasn't even started yet. The hospital prefers Prior, because they don't want to give up land to re-align Malkin and they don't want an arterial at their main entrance. The land along National is less stable for buildings - but it would work for a widened road. Would NatCha Straight work for the hospital? Can someone invite them to our meeting? Read Richard Taplin's rationale. Check out the map.
3. The City will never accept National
This is a rationale that's been repeated by Produce Row and business owners on Charles - and we've heard reiterated by Panelists. The City has yet to directly address NatCha and continues to mash it up with the National/Grant and something they call National Civic just to confuse us with their pros and cons. The Workshop on March 5 won't be allowed to consider Nat/Cha on equal footing with the other options.
But, to their credit, city staff have told the Panel repeatedly that National is on the table and (reluctantly) have allowed them to see NatCha maps. Let's take them at their word.
It mystifies us why this option isn't being embraced, especially by city planners and engineers. It disheartens us that it might be rejected before being genuinely examined by the panel, stakeholders and experts.
Our fifteen minutes to speak to the Panel is up and so we can't present any of this to them. But if know someone who is on the Panel, feel free to forward them this e-mail.
Thanks for your support.