Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Roundabout is here! The Roundabout is here!

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Originally uploaded by Tidewater Muse.
I missed it this morning; from Janie Bryant in the Pilot:
City officials will gather at 8:30 a.m. today to officially open the newest road into town.

The $2 million traffic roundabout at the southern end of Crawford Street is designed to give a grand entrance to the downtown area.

"It's meant to function as a kind of centerpiece," said Richard Hartman, the city engineer.

The project also frees additional land for redevelopment and simplifies a criss-cross of roads that previously fed traffic coming and going from Interstate 264 and the Downtown Tunnel.

The new roundabout is 110 feet in diameter and is anchored by the nTelos Pavilion, City Hall and the future site of the city's new courts complex.

A citizen committee is working with consultants and city planners to decide what to put inside the traffic circle.

It could be as varied as landscaping and flags, a water fountain, or a sculpture.

The traffic circle also was designed so that it could later connect to a waterfront redevelopment area behind the concert pavilion.

The detour that motorists have followed since construction began seven months ago will be used whenever there is a concert at the amphitheater, Hartman said.
Two million dolars? What the bloom'n blazes is up with that? Like this is something we needed? What about schools or true infrastructure upgrades? Somebody decides we need a roundabout? What, I'm back in England?

That somebody who decided is actually a collection of somebodies, namely the city council. For review, let's run through who our elected representatives are:

DR. JAMES W. HOLLEY III (Mayor) -- Term Expires 6/30/2008
MARLENE W. RANDALL (Vice Mayor) -- Term Expires 6/30/2010
STEPHEN E. HERETICK -- Term Expires 6/30/2008
WILLIAM E. MOODY, JR. -- Term Expires 6/30/2010
ELIZABETH M. PSIMAS -- Term Expires 6/30/2008
RAY A. SMITH, SR. -- Term Expires 6/30/2008
DOUGLAS L. SMITH -- Term Expires 6/30/2010

I wonder what other decisions they've made recently which seem, er, particularly extravagant or self-serving.

I think that for a little while, I'm going to spend some time profiling the city council members and looking at some recent decisions the council has made. If anyone has anecdotes or background information which might be helpful in this endeavor, please contact me.

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