My family and I, as well as many other motorists who use the intersection at Pike, Greene and Seventh, regularly are upset and annoyed that the decision to update the intersection has progressed and is now moving forward with little notification. As it looks, there have been only several open house meetings in which, I'm sure, only a few area residents attended if they knew about them. I, for one, did not know about the meetings until after the fact because the meetings themselves were not publicized well; and they should have been for such a big issue that pertains to tens of thousands of citizens, and not just strictly concerning Mariettans. Yet, that may be beside the point.
Much of the disgust with Council moving forward with the project has to do with the functionality of the intersection, the elimination of two left-hand turns, and the major imposed multimillion taxpayer dollar funded endeavor that will leave the city no better off than it is now, except for a deficit, ticked off driver citizens, and less accessibility.
While an intersection may seem like a moot and straightforward project these days, the ideas of the intersection being changed drastically like it might, is an issue in the way individuals travel in Marietta, and to a greater extent an example that government can and will act without the consent of the governed. If the people of Marietta don't want it, then don't do it. It seems like all the comments I've seen, heard, and read, including The Marietta Times' own dissent, is that the intersection will mean more trouble and annoyance to everyone who travels that way. Certainly it would seem, that the input of those who live and work in that neighborhood would be regarded; but it seems as if they were not. How about doing an emergency scenario assessment for those law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMT's who need to access roads from all directions regularly?
Another thing. It seems as if the project is often mentioned under the guise of pedestrian safety as well, and while this issue is important, I wonder how often the rest of the issue like the traffic changes are overlooked by those who feel sympathetic towards those who would like to cross the street. Unfortunately crossing the street is not the issue for those who have to actually travel each day to and from work or home and actually use the roads at that convergence.
In a personal stance, I am wondering why the intersection must be changed at all? What gave rise to the need for a new intersection in the first place? From what I can see about finances that pertain to the project, the majority of the money is coming from the federal and state level from grants (from various agencies and partnerships) which will alleviate the majority of the $3.26 million project. Sounds good, until you realize that the money still originated from the peoples tax dollars and seems like a hefty amount of money that will go toward a project in which the thing that is supposedly being "fixed," is not broken in the first place!
As for the almost 300 grand that the city already spent on designs and consultation, I think that Council should have been concerned with the cost to the many taxpayers who'd be affected by the expenditure before feeling "pressured" to move on with the project in fear of leaving a "black eye" in the way of the Ohio Department of Transportation's help for future projects.
In addition, it seems that the Delphi Technique (and if you don't know what that is, go look it up) has worked diligently to allow only a few "popular and official" ideas to be used as final decision makers in how the intersection might be updated. I am not an engineer, but when I heard about the intersection proposals and the fallacies of the ideas, I got concerned enough to redesign the intersection with all the attributes that make it workable today while incorporating concerns for pedestrians and business access. Yet I can confidently say that only the official ideas have come to light. No acknowledgment whatsoever, and no invitation to address concerns before Council or even the consultants. For the record, I sent my ideas to the W.E. Stilson company, the people who consulted on the designs which TranSystems made.
I have to conclude. To some the intersection may be annoying, but that annoyance will only increase tenfold once drivers truly realize that $3.26 million of their dollars have eliminated their abilities to turn onto the road that takes them home each evening. There is no favor in spending extra time and mileage to get home and certainly no alleviation of accidents or other problems from frustrated drivers. Statistics aren't everything. Individuals matter. Case in point, we think the idea is flawed, unjustified, and simply will not work. Sure, in the long run people will get used to it. However, we didn't have much choice in the decision in the first place.