October 30th. Big City Hall Gathering to “discuss” the proposed traffic revision(s). Two of the proposed revisions were roundabouts, so that didn’t actually go away. Of the two other revisions, one involved adding a bunch of lanes just south of Monte Square and a stop light between the coming-from-Olympia off-ramp and Monte Square that would be a four-way, three color light, just like on Main & Pioneer. Gridlock on the train tracks should be fun to watch.
The fourth possible revision actually made some sense and seemed relatively inexpensive compared to the others. It involved expanding the off-ramp coming from the Olympia side and drawing some graphics on it that let the driver know to move to this side if you want to go this way, and move to that side if you want to go that way, and I suppose the city could pick one of the two sides to indicate straight ahead. Not to be mean or anything, but I’m thinking the city could probably accomplish that on both off-ramps in a weekend, without paying too much overtime and using leftover paint from another job.
You might think I’m being grumpy, but I arrived at the “meeting” on time. There wasn’t anything to suggest a formal or even informal discussion with the group was planned. There was no podium, microphone, apparent PA system, schedule of speakers – nothing to indicate any respect for the community from Mayor or City Council.
There was no presentation of a cost-benefit analysis – how in the near term any of this was going to affect Monte Square during construction, nor how it was determined that it would help Montesano as a whole in the long term.
The presentation was approximately as polished as an eighth grade science fair, except the presenters weren’t quite as ready to answer in-depth questions about the costs and benefits we might expect as a city from their assigned projects.
Everybody knows what a cost/benefit analysis is when they’re talking about their own money. When you decide the ’83 pickup will probably get you by for another couple of years, so let’s wait to trade it for ’92 because I really need that money for rent and groceries – that’s a cost/benefit analysis. When you’re deciding to spend other people’s money, it’s even more important because you’re affecting their rent and groceries. This little project has been going on for quite a while now.
I’ve been to a couple of City Council meetings, one town hall meeting, where this issue was discussed. People have asked for a cost/benefit analysis. Now the song and dance at City Hall – a meeting in name only – and still there is nothing.
We have not been clearly presented with a problem for which these boondoggles are a solution.
We do not know how much money and business will be lost by Monte Square or the rest of the city while these projects are under construction.
We do not even have a reliable projection of how much money in the forms of additional business and revenue this will bring the city over the long term.