June 6, 2012 ODOT meeting

Submitted by Oldroser on Thu, 06/07/2012 - 11:59.

Only 13 people were at the June 6 meeting at Sokolowski's. Georgeanne Franko wasn't there, Councilman Cimperman wasn't there, nor was Craig Hebebrand, Project Director for the first bridge. Jason Wise, Project Director for the second bridge was there. Kristin, Cory, the two P.R. ladies, myself and Jason Wise make six. The other seven people included an architect, Mike Sokolowski, the owner of the current ice cream shop (I hear a new one is coming, across from Lincoln Park where the now closed deli was, a black lady in a tweed pants suit who left quite early, the tall, thin young man who is there regularly and I think lives around Starkweather and Scranton, an attractive black haired lady and I think Scott Nagy, he was on the other side of the room and hard for me to see.

Jocelynn Clemmings, P.R. lady for ODOT, announced that they had just found out that the second bridge is now scheduled to be started to be built only two years later than originally planned, and they are trying to find money to start it on time. They still plan on tearing down the old bridge after the new one is completed. Planning for the second bridge is underway already and $5 million has already been spent.

An architect I had never seen there before asked if there is some way a ramp could be built to access the new bridge, especially since the Third Street lift bridge will not be open until the end of this year and the Center Street bridge is going to close. No, too expensive was the answer. The architect, I think his last name was Malone on the sign in sheet, is of the opinion that the second bridge will never be built.

There was no discussion of the "vegetative screening in lieu of noise barriers that Jocelynn said would be discussed during the second half of the meeting.

Cory told me privately that the July 10 meeting about second bridge aesthetics/enhancements, insisted upon by Councilman Cimperman, will probably be at Sokolowski's, and I suggested starting later than 5 p.m. for the benefit of people who don't get off work until 5 and may still have to travel to reach Tremont. He said that they decided against the community garden because it will not be very attractive and they know of no one to maintain it. Because of the maintenance problem there will not be an orchard but will be some fruit trees. He doesn't think there will be any "urban intolereant" sugar maples/ I didn't ask about red maples or golden raintrees.

The "excess land" the fruit trees will be on is the area south of the parking lot marked "future parking." There will not be any future parking lot expansion. He didn't know anything about the sidewalk Mr. Hebebrant promised would be build along W. 14th. The old sidewalk, leading from Abbey to the bus stop on Fairfield and W. 14th, was fenced in by the Greek Orthodox Church, even though it is a public right of way. And part of the parking lot they fenced in happens to be on ODOT land I am told by someone I know who is a long time member of the church.

What the September 5 vegetative screening plan is about and whether it is the same thing as the design consultant meeting with the local community to discuss streetscape options along 14th Street and Abbey Avenue or not I do not know.

I did not see any announcement by ODOT about the June 5 meeting, but I might have missed it. Cory said TWDC not promoting it was an oversight.

The architect told Cory that someone had said what a great improvement he was over the prior director.