We have to say we are rather perplexed with Brandon City Council’s decision on Monday night to keep Ninth Street a one-way street and to revert 10th Street back to two-way traffic in the 00-block and 100-block.
In our opinion, they only got it half right.
As the Sun reported yesterday, the motion to keep 10th Street a northbound one-way street, along with angle parking, was defeated in a 6-4 vote.
With that defeat, angled parking on 10th Street will now be removed and revert back to parallel. In a press release on Tuesday, the city confirmed that the work to revert back to two-way traffic on 10th Street will be completed within the next week or so, “weather permitting.”
“Crews will focus this week on removing parking stall markings, hatchings at the affected intersections, and then restore the previous parking meter configuration on 10th Street,” city manager Scott Hildebrand said in a press release. “In addition, all one-way signage in the affected area will need to be removed and the appropriate traffic signals reprogrammed, after which new line painting will occur and the ‘jersey barriers’ on 10th Street that currently prevent two-way traffic will be removed.”
Earlier this year, the Sun deplored the ugly cement barricades that blockade several streets downtown, in the wake of what was supposed to be a temporary trial with a pedestrian mall and a one-way loop on Ninth and 10th streets, replete with angled parking that was unfortunately placed on the wrong side of the street.
We suggested that it was long past time to either make the trial streets permanent —with all the concomitant curb and roadwork that would entail, including moving the angled parking to the proper side — or to remove the barricades and let traffic flow its natural way. Apparently, council was only listening with half an ear.
During debate on Monday night, Coun. Garth Rice (South Centre) said he always considered 10th Street a “main artery” and that restored two-way traffic on that street made perfect sense.
While we tend to agree, we find it strange that there was very little — if any — talk around the council table on Monday night to revert Ninth Street back to two-way traffic as well. In fact, the suggestion was even made to convert 11th Street into a one-way street within the same blocks, as a means to carry on with the one-way traffic loop, an idea that appears to have gone nowhere — yet.
Renaissance Brandon has been approached to establish a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to the concrete barriers on Ninth Street between Pacific and Princess avenues, so as of next week, council will have left half of a half-baked idea intact. We simply don’t see the benefit of having Ninth Street remain a permanent one-way street leading out of downtown.
Of course, that decision also suggests the city intends to make the one-way on Ninth Street a permanent feature of our downtown, which makes us wonder if council has just put the cart before the horse.
A little more than a week ago, we reported that the future of Brandon’s aging Eighth Street bridge — one of Brandon’s infrastructure priorities — was still up in the air. City administration was still considering several design options for the bridge, though construction would likely not occur until 2015.
The options outlined in a preliminary design report from Dillon Consulting include rehabilitating the bridge, rebuilding the bridge in the same location, angling the bridge so that it lines up with Ninth Street, or relocating the bridge so it lined up with Fifth Street. The city is also considering whether the bridge is needed, if a fourth lane is ever added to the Daly Overpass.
While we don’t necessarily think the city will choose to connect the Eighth Street bridge to Ninth Street, it apparently still remains an option on the table. And until that option has been counted out — and to date we have not seen any public evidence to suggest that it has — it seems a bit absurd to think that a two-lane bridge would flow into a one-way street, as that was never the design intention.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 23, 2013