Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Win for Me Means a Loss for Another

Good news came to Tiffany and I last week. As somewhat expected, UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) ruled against putting a large highway on the other side of our street, effectively safeguarding our view corridor for, well, a long time to come.

It was a dicey situation for us. We like where we live. We like the people, we like the view, we like the atmosphere. A highway really would have done it in for us. UDOT had said early on that an intersection alongside Bluff Rd. near our home wasn't much of an option. There were too many homes, roads, and schools they would have to mitigate against and would be costly to do so. They gave this information to the city, and with this information, the city council still voted to push the Bluff Rd. as an option. A little more about this decision in a minute.

But as we have been saved, I know there are others that will be impacted by the highway coming through their land, their back yards, their livelihoods. So no matter what relief this decision is giving to me, it is really no win for our community. There is really no great place to put this highway that will benefit the city entirely. There will always be losers in this battle. While I don't consider myself an environmentalist, and even in some ways look forward to this highway coming in (it will cut my commute down considerably) it is really a large impact on a little community that will be felt for many years to come, one that if not brilliantly worked on, will be a detriment to our city.

Sometimes people talk about their city or town 'growing up'. This is often said as a good thing. And while progress in general is good, there is a destructive force behind it which will inevitably live up to its billing. Our little city will no longer be the city we have grown to love. It will morph and change and become something different. Perhaps it will still be loved by those who live here.

Perhaps we won't.

City Council Silliness.

I was at the meeting when the city council voted to request Bluff as the option of choice. While I respect their decision, I think that there was a disservice to the community the way they ploughed ahead with an option that was not even on the list according to UDOT. UDOT had already considered Bluff Rd corridor as an option but came back saying it just wasn't in the cards any longer. With the development that had happened over the last 10+ years, namely a school and a park, roads, homes, and other amenities the community now enjoys would have to be mitigated. The fact that UDOT gave the city council this information, repeated in this same meeting above, caused me to wonder on the councils decision to push the Bluff Rd corridor. One of the city council members stated, 'we need to do the right thing, and not necessarily the easiest' (paraphrased) to which I would agree. But what was right here? Pushing an option that was already taken off the list? And so instead, the City gave up it's right to really be in the decision making, leaving UDOT to name the placement of a major arterial roadway in a community they have no concern for aside from keeping the lawyers at bay? The city had an opportunity to take the bull by the horns and work with UDOT in creating a thoroughfare that would not only fit in the community but help us thrive.

I am not sure it is not too late.

But initially, the opportunity was blown. Becoming a maverick is great when you have the force and ability to create what you want. But to do so against the behemoth UDOT is, is incompetent at best, suicidal at worst.

I hope there is still time to create a vision for our city, and that those who have the responsibility will take the opportunity to make it happen.

(Just a side note about the city council meeting and about this decision. Based solely on the responses the city council members gave, it would have appeared few, if any, had truly considered the impact this highway will have on the city. Of all the decisions that will impact the city, this highway is one of the largest impacts any of them will see during their tenure. As we look to the upcoming elections, I hope that all those that are vying for council seats will think before they act. And the same goes to those that vote them into office.)

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