Around The Clock: More bumbling from City Hall?

Clock smallThere’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