There’s nothing like the old “one-step-forward-two-step-back shuffle” that occurs from time to time at City Hall.
Trust me, it’s not unique to Sanford, or even government for that matter. Yoga apperal maker Lululemon bumbled it’s way through the last year, first with a product recall, then the CEO claimed the product problems were the result of women with the wrong body type wearing the clothes. What a bonehead.
Sanford city officials are poised to create another public relations gaffe just as they were earning accolades for their response to previous missteps on communicating with business owners on Sanford Avenue (“Sanford Avenue: City’s aid ‘more than hoped for’).
This time it’s residents along Palmetto Avenue who will be lighting up the phone lines at City Hall.
As part of the construction on Sanford Avenue, truck traffic is being rerouted to Cypress Avenue. Regular vehicular traffic can choose either Cypress or Palmetto avenues. An unscientific review during a two-hour period on Wednesday morning revealed most motorists are choosing Palmetto.
Those familiar with driving along Palmetto Avenue, particularly between 3rd and 9th streets, know that the road can be difficult to travel. Cars are parked on both sides of the road, funneling drivers through a space wide enough for a single vehicle.
With increased traffic from the detours, Palmetto Avenue is beginning to resemble I-4 at rush hour. Like the business owners along Sanford Avenue, residents who live on Palmetto Avenue were not previously informed about the increased traffic.
But the situation may get worse.
During Wednesday’s Downtown Waterfront Community Redevelopment Agency meeting, board members were informed that during the Sanford Avenue construction, residents may be restricted to parking on one side of the street to improve traffic flow.
“If we have to eliminate parking on one side of the street we will,” said John Reichardt, the city’s operations manager.
We live in a time of easy and instant communication technology. Failing to get the word out about things like detours and one-side parking to residents is inexcusable.
City staff — Deputy City Manager Tom George, Project Manager Robert Beall and Economic Development Director Bob Turk, among many others — deserve a lot of credit for deftly correcting the early communication issues regarding Sanford Avenue. They’ve done a great job, and the business owners are satisfied.
It would be a shame to lose all that good will so soon after that success.
— By Dan Ping
Before John Reichardt, the city’s operations manager, makes any decisions that will affect the residents of Palmetto Ave., I hope he’ll consult or talk to the people who actually live on Palmetto Ave.
Eliminating parking on one side of Palmetto Ave. doesn’t help the situation, it only exacerbates the problem. It will make it even easier for people going northbound on Sanford to use Palmetto Ave, instead of using Cypress Ave., as they should be. And if the street is easier to navigate, then there will be more speeding.
I mean, why don’t we just eliminate all parking on Palmetto Ave., paint some double yellow lines down the center and raise the speed limit to 35 mph and make it like, well, like Sanford Ave.?
The City had the right idea in the beginning by using Cypress Ave. for northbound detoured Sanford Ave. traffic and Palmetto Ave. for detoured southbound traffic, in that way no one street is going to suffer the crush of this temporary construction traffic.The problem is the City is not “forcing” the northbound traffic onto Cypress Ave. A simple solution would be to put up a “Road Closed” or “Do Not Enter” on 7th St. in the right lane (westbound lane), so people are not given a choice and must turn right onto 7th St.and then left on Cypress Ave.
Considering that Sanford Ave. will be closed for 4 months and probably longer, a better solution would be to temporarily make Palmetto Ave. “One Way” southbound and, if necessary, Cypress Ave. “One Way” northbound.
Cypress Ave. is less congested because there are few cars parked on that street because most of those blocks are empty lots, so one way designation, may not be necessary.
It doesn’t take a traffic expert to figure out a solution, just a little thinking and some common sense.