Friday, March 2, 2007 | Congratulations to City Councilman Kevin Faulconer and the Downtown Partnership for supporting local business owners and residents along C Street. The street is preparing for a much needed facelift, but plans to accommodate a trolley that is longer than our city blocks have bogged down planning. As it is now, pedestrians are forced to walk into traffic to get around the trolley because it extends into the street whenever it stops. Very dangerous. To make it worse, MTS plans to add longer trolley cars and run them three at a time, as they do now. This will cause the trolley to stick out into the street an additional 30 feet whenever it stops, preventing both traffic and pedestrians from crossing at all.

Granted, the longer trolley cars are much better at accommodating those needing wheelchair access, but all proposals so far call for either a street blockage, such as a cul de sac in the middle of downtown, or some odd reconfiguration of city streets that will eliminate customer parking and delivery truck access. This is unacceptable. Narrower streets will cause bottlenecks and blocked streets will cause traffic jams. In both cases, limited customer access will certainly cause local merchants to lose business. Some are certain to go out of business.

Faulconer and the Downtown Partnership have come out against changing the outlay of our city streets from that originally designed by Alonzo Horton. There are viable solutions such as simply reducing the number of cars from three to two. Perhaps MTS can run them more frequently. Why not make a special downtown loop using smaller, vintage-style trolley or cable cars? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful addition to the charm of downtown? There are currently four stops along C Street. Maybe we only need three.

To change the outlay of our city streets to accommodate a transportation system is simply bad planning. The transportation system should conform to the city, not the other way around.

The business owners along C Street and 7th Avenue have put up with more than their share of crime, drug trafficking and problems with homeless. They’ve paid their dues to downtown. The city ought not to make them pay more with lost revenue.

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