As we near the end of 2012, and as we witnessed the inconveniences and in some cases devastation caused both this year by Superstorm Sandy, and last year by Irene, we must begin to look at common sense alternatives, instead of simply discussing obstacles as problems, and stating alternatives are either impossible or far too costly. We cannot continue putting off paying attention to infrastructure issues, or competent think-ouside-the-box alternative planning. Here is only a partial list of some common sense much needed solutions:
1. Make Harbor Rd. a one-way street away from Shore Rd., and make Mill Pond Rd a one-way street towards Shore Rd. This would address both quality of life as well as safety issues. Pollution would be reduced by reducing the long line-ups of cars at the intersection of Harbor and Shore, and would enhance safety by better controlling the flow of traffic in an organized manner onto Shore Rd., especially when cars are attempting and often unsafely making left truns from Harbor onto Shore Rd. Yes, there would initially a very minor inconvenience, but it is very slight, and this is both workable and far safer.
2. Make Central Ave. and Columbia Pl. both right-turn only onto Shore Rd. Those on Columbia needing to go to the left could turn right onto Central and then right again onto Main St., and those that need to turn left onto Shore Rd. could simply go down Main St. instead. Is there some minor inconvenience? Yes, but isn't safety more important? Are we going to wait until there is some tragedy there? There are also other locations near where Shore Rd. approaches Main St. where there should be one-way turning, as well, for safety reasons.
3. Enforce the no double parking/standing on Main St. existing laws, as well as the no u-turn on those streets. In fact, why do we have traffic laws if they are largely ignored?
4. If we ever want Main St. to have a chance to become somewhat revitalized and to maintain/attract merchants to this area, we must begin to pay serious attention to convenient parking, and not just pass over this or give it lip service only.
5. Aren't you tired of politicians blaming others, or agencies passing the buck? We keep being told that they can't bury utility lines because of the costs, but isn't it also quite expensive to hire out-of-area workers, not to mention the amount of lost business, spoiled food, people without heat and electric, etc.? In the aftermath of this storm, I continuously read about people considering installing and maintaining generators – isn't there a real cost to that? How about the health issues involved in these interuptions? It is costly to bury lines, and I know LIPA is still in debt because of Shoreham, but someone should come up with a way to spread this cost out over many years (perhaps via government guaranteed bonds or financing), and do this in a proactive instead of band-aid approach. One of the highest taxed areas in the nation should demand a better way.
6. We need realistic and workable solutions to address surges and how they impact the Sound, harbors, ponds, etc. We must demand that there is some sort of better sea wall system that might at least significantly reduce the impact, and this should be for both the harbors and ponds. I, for one, am tired of being told why we can't do anything. Let's find a way to do some proactive planning and implementation.
Can we do this? Sure, we can, and certainly it will not all be easy, but things never get better unless we begin our efforts. Let's enhance our standard of living and services by not taking no for an answer!