Today the RAC meeting was at the convention center at 3 P.M., with the Laskin Citizen Advisory Committee meeting scheduled there at 5:30. After the RAC meeting, I went over to the Oceanfront Library to blog RAC, then walked back over to the convention center for the Laskin CAC meeting.
It was an overflow crowd, with Staff having to go out and bring more chairs in. Before it was over, I had heard more paranoia and b.s. from the public than I had ever heard in such a meeting before. Therefore, I devote this post to taking on what was said that was wrong:
1. There was no notice given to the public of the pending project.
Actually, what has become the Laskin Gateway Project came out of the public input in the charettes for the Resort Area Strategic Action Plan (RASAP). People looked at the North Beach area and asked "Why can't we have 32nd Street mirroring 30th Street?" So, it was from the public in public meetings, hardly a backroom conspiracy.
2. Doing the Project will increase traffic on Pinewood and Holly Roads.
Why would it do that? Given that there are no plans to change land uses up those roads, where would all those additional cars be going?
3. You shouldn't narrow Laskin Road.
The urban redevelopment envisioned in the RASAP wouldn't occur in the street's current configuration.
4. You should do 32nd Street before you narrow Laskin Road.
The timetable for Laskin is driven by the construction of Beach Centre. To demolish the current buildings and redo the utilities, you have to close Laskin Road.
5. You shouldn't demolish the Surf Rider Restaurant.
Two things would be required to keep the Surf Rider in it's present location. First, the curve on 32nd going to Laskin would have to be a maximum 20 mph for trucks. Second, you would have to cut the Surf Rider's road access from Laskin and 32nd, leaving it's only access from Pinewood Road. Yeah, the same Pinewood the residents in the area don't want more traffic on. Obviously such a situation is in no one's interest.
6. You're putting too much density on Laskin.
The land in that area, like most of the Resort Area, was zoned for such density in the 1960s.
7. There won't be enough road capacity in the Summer...but leave Arctic and Pinewood alone.
You had to love it: some of the same people who thought there wasn't enough road capacity didn't want the City changing some streets. Go figure.
The road network in the Laskin Road Gateway was primarily designed for moving traffic from The North End west out Laskin (and vice versa), yet the very residents who would benefit were loudly complaining. It's on nights like that that I understand why some public officials hate public hearings.