Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Give input on Woodside plan

Recently, the city of Hailey received a federal stimulus-package grant for improvements on Woodside Boulevard. The city had to define a design to get the grant. So, although two open houses were held on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27, and the city stressed the importance of its input, residents really never had any choice. Any changes would be time-consuming and could very well result in loss of the grant. Although the design may be fine, I feel that the residents should have had a major voice. Perhaps the city should have received comments from Woodside residents, as it did on River Street, before committing to a design.

There are other unresolved considerations associated with this project: Who is responsible for sidewalk maintenance, snow removal, liability for injury lawsuits, and irrigation and maintenance of any green areas once the five miles of improvements are installed? Residents? City? Costs to taxpayers?

This is also intended as a heads-up to all Hailey residents. The design characteristics being applied to Woodside Boulevard—two bike lanes, landscape dividers, two sidewalks, the use of the entire right of way—are part of a Complete Streets ideology up for adoption, and have the potential to affect all residents, especially in old Hailey. Ideologies applied across the board often result in "unintended consequences" on areas that are already developed. Although residents have no legal right to use rights of way, this will impact residents using them for parking or other uses (measure 50 feet from the street centerline in Old Hailey).

Are Hailey's streets dangerous? Is the extent of this design necessary? Will it actually make things safer? Is the cost, effort, use of natural resources and impacts on existing residents warranted? Are you willing to maintain these areas?

Unlike Woodside, other Hailey residents have a chance to provide input into the design process. Adopting Title 18, aka Complete Streets, will be discussed at the Hailey City Council meeting on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14 at 5:30 p.m. This proposal should be available for review online and at the city; see how it affects your property. Whether you support or oppose it, I would encourage all Hailey citizens to attend this meeting.

Peter Lobb


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