It seems that every turn in Los Alamos leads to road closure and detours, which frustrate our daily errands and enjoyment of getting about in our own community.
The four to six week delay in the construction closing Central Avenue announced on the front page of the July 30, 2014 Los Alamos Monitor has overrun its deadline and community patience. As the County Council leads the community in a party to celebrate the construction on Central Avenue, I hope they will consider the following thoughts:
Like many citizens, I am not sure what this complex project will achieve for our community. It seems that the Council has approved the undoing of sidewalks and landscaping just finished a few years ago. The original changes were touted as necessary for “traffic calming” and pedestrian safety. There has been disagreement on that issue, but the community became accustomed to the new layout. Some have said that the current project improves pedestrian safety, but information published in the local news has not detailed the need, scope, cost, and end date of the project. In other words, what are we doing?
If I am not mistaken the only pedestrian fatality on Central Avenue in the area between the Fuller Lodge and the Science Museum occurred during this construction project near the Post Office. It was a perfect storm of frustration created by months of closures and detours throughout the town site.
Construction brings cost and risks, and it is the responsibility of the County Council and the County staff to assess whether the benefit to the community is great enough to warrant taking them on. The public must rely solely on the Council’s decisions in public projects. In this case, the “improvements” will never be worth the life that was put at risk.
Currently traffic from Central has been rerouted to Rose Street, a very tiny residential street with a daycare center and number of senior residents and parents with children who walk along it. We are now left with Trinity Drive as the only main thoroughfare, leading directly to the Smith’s Marketplace just in time for their grand opening specials. I hope that both Council and the community will take the time this weekend to reflect on all that has transpired this summer and how we will prevent unnecessary tragedy in the future.