Wednesday, October 31
Tuesday, October 30
the senior transportation planner for the city, gave a presentation
on the BID's proposal to convert downtown one way streets to two way.
I will spare you from the entirety of the discussion. However,
remember the city's original estimate of $500,000 to perform the
conversion? Mr. Finch told me that the State transportation
department added some requirements to any conversion that will push
the cost of the conversion to the range of $1.5 Million - $2.5 Million.
Anybody still think this is a good idea?
Saturday, October 27
Monday, October 22
Sunday, October 21
Thursday, October 18
Wednesday, October 17
2201 Northwest Bypass
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Sunday, October 14
The city should do more to prevent bike theft. This is a gateway crime, that encourages punks to think of private property as something that is not worth respect.
In addition to taking bike thefts seriously, Great Falls should follow Missoula's lead and institute a voluntary bike registration program. A bike owner should be able to register the particulars about his or her bike, including serial number, with the GFPD. Pawn shops should be required to check against this registry before they are able to buy a bike. The registered owner should be contacted by the shop or the GFPD whenever a bike is brought into a pawn shop, and it should be returned to the lawful owner if it was stolen.
I understand that the management of such a registry database is a bit daunting. However, the fact that the city just pooh-poohs current thefts is deplorable.
- The 5th-6th Street/ 1st Ave-2nd Ave South reconfiguration idea. Should those streets be converted to two way? What issues and challenges do the candidates see in that reconfiguration?
- Working to Ensure Northcentral MT remains a Medical Center. Many jobs come to Great Falls because of our medical facilities. All of Northcentral Montana utilizes our medical resources. However, I submit to you that the ongoing and continued spat between the Clinic and Hospital reduces both the morale and the effectiveness of these resources. In addition, many elderly residents of communities like Havre, Ft. Benton and Shelby have no way to get to Great Falls, as there has been no regular bus service between our communities for about three years. Our City Commission should work to make sure that our medical facilities remain effective and they continue to serve all of Northcentral Montana.
- Promotion of Bringing Canadian Tourism Dollars to Great Falls. The strength of the Canadian Dollar presents a real opportunity to bring many outside dollars to our community. We should be doing everything in our power to make it easy for Canadians to spend their loonies and toonies here. These currencies will be strong for the foreseeable future. However, many Great Falls retailers will not take these dollars, and even have signs up saying that they will not accept Canadian change. This is largely due to policies at local banks.
We should be be doing more than just promoting our shopping opportunities to residents of Lethbridge and Calgary (however, we should be doing more of that). To start with, we should begin accepting Canadian currency in our parking meters. While I would not support getting the city into the currency exchange business, we should support and encourage those in that business to set up shop here. What will our City Commission and Mayor do to promote Canadian tourism here?
Those are a few ideas off the top of my head. The candidate forum is on 10/17. More information can be found at greaterfalls.com and the Electric City Weblog.
In recent years, Park and Rec officials have stated that they cannot provide firm numbers on the usage of our Golf Courses and Swimming Pools because they do not have a Point of Sale computer system to track entrances to these parks. They have proposed spending about $100 thousand on such a system. Is this a valid concern?
If so, would you support the acquisition of such a system? How much would you propose spending?
If not, would you characterize current procedures as adequate? If not, would you support the implementation of more rigid manual point of sale procedures at our golf courses and swimming pools?
The Riverside Railyard is the most recent park built in Great Falls. It is used by many kids in Great Falls. However, there have been many public complaints about both profane graffiti and hooliganism at the park. Is this a problem, and if so, what would you do to help solve it?
Over the past several months, the Great Falls Police Department has been operating at less than full force. For what reasons do you think that we have been unable to recruit and retain officers? Is this a problem, and if so, what would you do to solve this problem?
In recent weeks, City and State planners have proposed spending $100 - $162 Million on a Southern Arterial, directly connecting 57th Street to I-15. This will require buying and demolishing anywhere from 13 - 21 private residences and building another bridge across the Missouri. Do you support this plan, and if so, how do you envision this road to be used? As a follow up question, what sort of zoning proposals would you support around this new route?
Ninth Street currently has multiple conflicting uses. It is a major North-South thoroughfare through Great Falls, connecting the Riverview area to 10th Avenue South. It also is a residential street, used by hundreds of pedestrians daily. The current location of school zones require pedestrian elementary students to cross this street every day to get to and from both Longfellow and Whittier Schools. Does anything need to be done about the uses for this street, and if so, what?
Last week, I attended the public meeting for the planned Southern Arterial, which would connect traffic from I-15 to 57th Street. Over the past 30 years, this planned road has been thought of as a bypass, but that isn't what city planners are now thinking.
I have been hearing about plans for this road since I was in kindergarten. This route was first proposed in 1968. However, with the downturn in our economy in the early 1970's, the idea was shelved.
Now, it is back. However, this isn't a bypass to allow truck traffic from Calgary to Denver/Salt Lake to easily go around Great Falls and, in the process, stay off 10th Ave. South. Instead, this would be a local road (probably around 40 MPH), with controlled intersections every mile or so. According to city planners, they envision it to be used by people such as medical professionals living in Fox Farm going to the hospital and USAF drivers going to and from Malmstrom and MANG. They don't envision more than 8,000 - 10,000 vehicles on this road per day. This should be contrasted to 10th Avenue South, which currently has about 40,000 vehicles/day.
Now, I don't see an investment like this staying unused. If built, I see something more like King Avenue in Billings. That route has become a mecca for big-box stores, like the ones that were just built on 10th Avenue South at the Mall. Is that the real idea here?
To build this route, the City and State will have to condemn and purchase anywhere from 13 - 21 private residences. The completed route will cost anywhere from $100 - $162 Million, depending on final route configuration. Another bridge will have to be built across the Missouri.
Is this a good investment? Both City and State planners seem to think so. However, if we are not going to really provide a bypass for through truck traffic, what are we really accomplishing here? I look forward to your thoughts.
As of the August 23 filing deadline, the following individuals filed for election to the council. I have marked incumbents with an (i), and listed them in alphabetical order by last name:
Donna Sadler; (i)
Mike Taylor; (i)
Erin Tropila; (i)
Aaron Weissman; (i)
As I am running in this race, I am not going to make any recommendations, beyond asking for your vote (if you live in the downtown area). I don't know anything about the two individuals running for their first term on the council, but thank them both for expressing interest.
The council has five seats. Therefore, one of the six of us that have volunteered our time will not be elected to the council.
I ask for and would appreciate your vote. If elected, I will continue to urge the council to;
- Slow down traffic on 9th Street. This is a residential street, partially as evidenced by the location of elementary school zones that require kids to cross this street to get to and from school. Since the new pedestrian median when in place on 4th Ave N., I have heard complaints that it has slowed down traffic on 9th. Good. I want the city to build more of these things.
- Work to make the Make the Lower North and South Sides a Safe Place to Live, Work and Play. Great Falls is changing. The new courthouse and Medical centers mean that more and more Great Falls residents are working outside of the downtown. However, over 7,000 people live in the Lower North and South sides, and thousands of Great Falls residents work here. As the most 'urban' area of Great Falls, we have our problems. However, none of these problems are insurmountable. We need more police officers patrolling our area, more blocks protected by Neighborhood Watch and more proactive efforts by city and county code enforcement. Especially in the Summer months, this area gets too rowdy. It is up to us to make sure that our neighborhood is clean and safe.
- Keep our Parks Presentable and Fun. Except for the golf courses, most of the city's Park and Rec resources are in the Lower North and South sides. This district includes the Skate Park, the Natatorium, Mitchell Pool and Gibson Park. The maintenance of these areas has significant challenges. These challenges include the profane (the Skate Park), the administrative (Usage of resources like the Nat and the Mitchell is difficult to track because of current cash register procedures) and the mundane (did you know that a Canadian Goose produces 2 lbs. of 'goose grease' per day? Do you know how many geese live in Gibson Park?) While the council has no direct oversight over the Park and Rec department, we will continue to urge the city to maintain these resources.
In addition to these overarching goals, if elected I will urge the council to continue meeting with the Neighborhood Watch and I will begin rotating meetings to locations throughout our council area, including the Lower South side. I am currently attempting to have our December meeting at the gym at Longfellow school.
Again, I ask for your vote. If you have any questions, please contact me at your convenience. A comment on this post is an excellent way to contact me. Thank you.