Post #450: Audio recording, the 11/7/2019 Town Council work session on the traffic study

Posted on November 8, 2019

The minus one still cracks me up.  See Post #364.

Town Council met last night to have their third briefing from Kimley-Horn on the Maple Avenue Corridor Multimodal Transportation and Land Use Study.  I’m using this post just to get my audio recording up, in case anyone wants to listen to it, at this Google Drive link.  There’s no accompanying “index” file for the recording.

We already discussed that … not.

I heard a bunch of fairly surprising things, most of them didn’t make me much happier, but explained a lot about how the current MAC got to be the way it is.  I’m going to put that writeup off to another day.

For now, I’m just going to mention one.  This one was, to me, the single most annoying and weirdly hilarious thing to come out of that entire meeting.  And the single most telling.

In August, Kimley-Horn made a presentation to Town Council in which there were two slides showing their projection of additional cars on Maple, under some modest MAC build out.  (The picture above is from one of them.)  Under the rationale that time was short, Kimley-Horn completely skipped over those slides, said not one word about them.  And as a result, Town Council had literally zero discussion of that analysis.

That result — which Town Council did not discuss — is what I wrote up as “A One-Third Increase in Maple Avenue Rush Hour Traffic“.

Hilariously enough, when a couple of Town Council members tried to bring that up they were told — and I’m not making this up — nope, we already discussed that in August.  Can’t discuss it here, we can only discuss new material.

The consultant said it with a straight face, too.  I couldn’t make up @#$ like that.

And, you could easily tell from various pieces of the discussion, the consultants clearly had been given marching orders NOT to discuss it.  Which they successfully did, with a stunning series of avoidance maneuvers.  As a former consultant myself, I had to take my hat off to them.  I guess this is what we pay consultants the big bucks for.

That said, with with consultants actively hindering him at every step, Councilman Majdi did seem to get some agreement on Town Council about the need to have traffic mitigation linked to development.  He got on the table the simple notion that if development was going to make traffic worse, the Town needed to do something about that.  As vague and tentative as that sounds, that was light-years ahead of where the Town stood prior to this meeting.  That breakthrough occurs around 2:05 into the recording.

Aside from the crude, almost slapstick way in which the consultants avoided and obfuscated this topic, I think the consultant’s behavior around this issue revealed useful information.  That behavior didn’t come out of nowhere.  I think it signals that the pro-MAC forces on Town Council are still not willing to have an honest and open conversation about the traffic issue.  They still haven’t figured out that you get better decision-making by openly addressing all valid points of view, instead of manipulating the conversation to shut down inconvenient facts.

Can we talk about the noise level on Maple some time, and what it means for our “gathering space”?  Because if we can’t have that discussed openly, we can’t discuss building noise abatement measures into the MAC streetscape.

Otherwise, at Councilman Springsteen’s suggestion, the Town came up with a list of “low hanging fruit” for items that the Town can start addressing now.  That discussion begins around 1:40 into the recording.