Readers will recall the City’s plan first to widen Bronson at the expense of narrower sidewalks, later revised to some widening but still four lanes. Then at the public advisory group consultation last week they reported their initial results of modelling the “road diet” approach requested by the Rescue Bronson group. While not enthusiastically embracing the road diet concept, they did find that it was not impossible, and would not result in traffic chaos. Members of the PAC will be meeting with the planners next week to reassess some assumptions and try to come up with a road plan that will satisfy more than just the rush hour commuters.
Road rights of way are, after all, a scarce resource. They have only a certain width, and in built up urban areas widening these roads is prohibitively expensive, destructive to economic and social life, and then the new road goes … where? So there is some increased recognition that the public right of way is a scarce resource and must be carefully apportioned amongst competing users, and not given over totally to the commuter in a private car. In short, we have to stop sacrificing existing neighborhoods to satisfy peripheral neighborhoods. Slash and burn urban planning doesn’t work.
The slash and burn project that Bronson seems to be is now ON HOLD. That’s right, the City has postponed its plans to rebuild Bronson starting in 2011. The official reason is that it is not a high enough priority in times of austerity budgets. Did widespread public opposition and attention to this 1950-looking project have any affect?
What’s next? Well, the PAC will still meet with the planners to ensure that when the City pulls the plan off the shelf it will actually be a plan that improves Bronson for everybody. And we were enthused about tentative plans to totally revamp the Bronson-Albert-Slater-Commissioner intersection, and want to move that part along too.
Bronson is dead. Long live Bronson.