Notes on the June Greenway Council “Meeting”
June 22, 2016
After a last minute cancellation of May’s meeting (Which was to “respect how busy everyone is these days” – just WEEKS before the installation!), June’s meeting was … bizarre.
About a week before the scheduled meeting, one of us happened across information on the Greenway Council website (not on Facebook, not being promoted) that said that the meeting would be starting a half hour earlier than usual, and that this would be done to allow for time to hear resident concerns.
… would have been nice for them to put that out to the public, right?
So, we got the word out. We had many people lined up to attend… and curiously, they never did put out word.
… and then they changed the information on the site back to a 6:30 meeting start.
The day of the meeting, one resident emailed to double check. She was told that they were initially going to have it at 6:00, they decided to start at the regular time and have the whole meeting be about receiving resident feedback. Again, this change was not put out to the public, though MANY people would have wanted to know that there would be a whole meeting for resident feedback. Many of us decided to show up at 6, as the entire thing felt incredibly sneaky and dishonest at this point.
They did not start until after 6:30, and when they did, it was no meeting. It was an “open house” – two billboards were set up, and people were just milling about. There was a station for the Health Department to take individual feedback, and that was it. There was no forum for group discussion, and no one was really clear on what exactly was happening.
Multiple residents that had come to register their protests with the greenway waited a half hour or more for the “meeting” to start, and left when it never did.
The police officers in attendance told us that they were only told about the meeting AT ALL at 2pm that very afternoon.
As for how the meeting went, I’ll let a Facebook thread do the talking:
Editing to add, we received these notes from another resident:
“Four officers were there, all were upset about the greenway.
In a discussion with a representative from the Health Department, the specific topic being discussed was alley safety. The idea of increased alley patrols came up [side note: they told us MONTHS ago it was already approved] and one officer said “I’m not gonna sugar coat it, but we’re stretched so thin…” and went on to discuss the lack of officer availability for increased alley safety.
Another officer was concerned about the increase in alley usage said that “a lot of crime happens in alleys…”
That same officer’s opinion of the greenway project is that it is “gonna turn out as a hangout spot for people up to no good.” He also said “we were blindsided” with respect to the implementation of the greenway. They had no idea the greenway was happening!
Another officer said it “makes my job harder” and elaborated concerns about reduced access to police, ambulance and fire. One specific concern he had was his ability to go back to his patrol car for other supplies needed. He would potentially have to go a long distance to get to his car and he said it puts him at a higher risk [of danger], his partner, and could be life-threatening to residents.
Among the concerns I brought up to the Health department and Alexis from the greenway project was the need for a system of measurement for this project. The project is listed as being in place for up to a year, but there are no plans for how to decide upon its fate, and when. Whether the project is considered a success or a failure, it needs to be measured and analyzed. A simple vote won’t cut it, but it is a big part of it. People on the impacted route should have a higher weighting to their vote. I, and others not on the direct route, do not have the right to push my opinion on others with equal rating.
I was very glad to see that one of the people from the Health department was taking a lot of notes, from me and others. I truly hope this information gets compiled and analyzed appropriately. I did, however, witness a person from the Public Works department who repeatedly brushed off concerns from residents. He would walk away and shake his head, and held himself in a smug way. You know that look where a guy stands with one hand in his pocket, trying to look powerful, or something? That’s what he did. Over and over again. This does the community a disservice.
I was very glad to see Barb Johnson in attendance, I even thanked her for it. I believe Blong Yang was also in attendance, though I’m not sure if it was him or not as I didn’t get a chance to talk with him.”
Mark Wagner 33 year resident
June 24, 2016 at 6:58 pm
As a resident of the 3500 block of Humboldt I have to admit that I am amused at the outrage over the location of greenway along Irving. We have been interested and participated in the planning since the beginning years ago and were looking forward to a quite street in front of our house. The original plan called for the greenway to run in front of our house on the 35th block of Humboldt. In fact the original name was the Humboldt Greenway until they changed the route. Humboldt ave has been used as a short cut for east bound Lowry traffic trying to go north on Fremont ever since some bonehead in traffic control made Fremont a one way, one block north of Lowry, about 25 years ago. It looks like it turned out to be a blessing in the long run by all the comments I’ve been seeing. Good luck to anyone on Irving trying to get the route moved or canceled. The paranoid side of me has always believed someone on the selection committee bought up a bunch of properties along Irving after the tornado and expected a big windfall in improved property values. As to response of greenway representatives at public meetings I don’t think Iv’e ever run into a bigger bunch of rubes.