Crosstalk: The Division St. slowdown…potentially…maybe

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UpNorthMedia Center’s series Crosstalk (UNM)this week is airing a discussion between Mayor Mike Estes and attorney Grant Parsons concerning the City Proposal to dispose of parkland along Division St. They don’t allow embedding, so if you’re interested click over and watch the 30 minute discussion

I don’t have the time this morning to dig into the entire discussion. Both individuals raise some valid points, some points worth exploring, as well as a few points of dubious nature. It’s a friendly discussion, sparingly moderated.

One fundamental difference between the two men has little to do with the stroad of Division. Both of them recognize it as an under serving corridor to the community, although they do disagree about the role the City could play to actually control ever-increasing amount of cars on it. A lot of the discussion explores what the ballot measure actually achieves.

Parsons contends that as much as this ballot proposal was written to distance the City from a commitment to disposal of parkland, by the insertion of the condition that a future City Commission must approve the final plan, the language reads as “disposing” of parkland and thus requires 3/5ths vote, according to City charter. If it isn’t actually “disposing” of parkland, then what does it achieve? Is it an empty gesture by voters to, as he said, “show MDOT some love?” For him, there are too many unknowns to support the measure.

In response, the Mayor reiterates again and again that it is a future City Commission that will make the final decision and that this is the only opportunity we have improving the corridor.  In order to get to that future point, he is asking voters to engage with MDOT and allow them the widened right of way to facilitate a planning and design process.

Again, the program is online and can be seen on TV on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12 at 8pm.

I’m withholding further commentary for the time being. However, I’m really interested in where MyWHaT readers are on the issue.

After last week’s League of Women’s Voters forum and further time to consider and discuss the issue in the community, do you have any major breakthroughs to share? Minor quibbles to unleash? Profound insights to take the discussion higher?

If so, please share. 

Ballot Language

Public Records Concerning Division St. 


Reminder: Please read the comments policy if you haven’t done so already. If you feel you need to rant against the world and raise numerous tangential issues while personally attacking individuals or organizations, consider creating your own blog and tracking back to MyWHaT. If it is of value, you will attract readers. Or, send me a message with all the rants you wish. Otherwise, healthy, friendly discussion is fully encouraged.

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  1. Beverly Gilmore
    October 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I live just off of Division on West 11th. I am voting No to giving the city parkland to be “stored” for up to 10 years. I agree with Grant Parsons. This is more about making the City Commission “look good” than it is about a much needed solution to a horrendous traffic problem. We have no guarantees from MDOT that I am aware of. And parkland given away cannot be reclaimed. This is not the appropriate time to vote on “disposal” of parkland.

  2. Greg
    October 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    It is a strange day when I agree with Mr. Parsons, but the process does not make sense. Please vote No on Division. Didn’t our elected leaders also ask us to trust them when it comes to Dam removal, build a by-pass South of town and leave Division alone, it was just repaired.

  3. Katie
    October 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    The video debate indeed demonstrates how difficult this issue is to approach. However, I think a vote of YES is appropriate. Although Mr. Parsons made some good observations, the end point seems to be that unless this resolution passes, nothing substantive can be done to change Division Street (aka US 31). It appears no other real alternatives exist at this time. MDOT holds the trump card (it is, after all, a state highway!). Although folks might not be comfortable with the ‘trust me’ aspect of it all, seems like voting it down would be like ‘painting yourself into a corner’ — there truly would be nowhere else to go. So, let’s vote YES, and show some support and trust for those City officials that we elected (and, those that we are yet to elect in years to come — people who have a big issue with all of this now can run for office themselves when time comes!).

  4. henry
    October 11, 2012 at 10:27 am

    First, thank you Gary for providing a link to the video. Grant Parsons was terrific: calm, reasonable. He made so many good points. I cannot begin to sum up all his points, but his summation is worth quoting.

    “If you’d start with the idea of putting a bike lane in there….saying we are going to commit to pedestrian-centric, city transportation — not transportation of big smoky things — bikes, walking.”

    Why are we asking MDOT to study the solution for our city streets when we know that MDOT is almost exclusively interested in the transportation of big smoky things?
    Here is my newly-minted position.

    I am against the growth of any more facilities for cars.

    I need to repeat this forcefully. We should build no new roads for cars. We should widen no existing roads to accommodate more cars. We should add no more parking spots for cars anywhere. No parking ramps, no new parking lots.

    For the past 100 years the American landscape has been carved up for cars — roads for cars, parking spots for cars. Enough. Cars are not the wave of the future

    Resources are fixed. The world population is exploding.

    The solution that must be implemented involves no more resources be devoted to promote what will all-too-soon be a mode of transport reserved for the rich few.

    The rest of us are going to need trains and planes, busses & bikes & who knows what other modes of public transport. Good public transport. Public Transport that is punctual, frequent, fast. A wide ranging set of lovely alternatives — as yet unthought-of alternatives.

    There are just not enough resources for private cars.

  5. Bob Atallo
    October 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Why does the city even need to dispose of the park land? Since when is it illegal to build a road in a park? The community, planning commission and city commission should just vote on whether or not to build the road without all this kicking the can down the road. Sure somebody will sue but someone is going to sue no matter what the city does.

  6. Bob Atallo
    October 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    The Division street roundabout study is a sick joke, right? Using winter traffic counts, no consideration of pedestrians or bikes? The only question addressed was speed of moving traffic along Division? I wouldn’t go so far as to say forget the whole thing, but this study is completely unhelpful.

  7. October 15, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Thanks Gary for letting people know about this on-line debate. I thought both speakers, Mayor Estes and Grant Parsons, brought up good points and the debate added useful discussion to the somewhat one-sided LWV forum a few weeks ago.

    I am concerned that so many in our community think we need to dispose of park land before MDOT will sit at the table and discuss how to tame Division Street. MDOT has been at the table, and will continue to be, no matter what the vote is on Nov. 6. That’s their job. To be effective in discussions with MDOT, our city needs to decide when we are going to prioritize moving people, instead of moving cars. Until then, we are just chasing our tails.

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