First, I congratulate The Courier for the excellent coverage given to the meeting on University Avenue at the Clarion Inn on Oct. 29. I only can hope it serves as a wake-up call to the citizens of both Waterloo and Cedar Falls and particularly to the city councils of both cities.
If I were sitting on one of the councils I would want to know the answers to the following questions before a single spade full of dirt is turned over.
Sixteen businesses eliminated: Representing how much in lost property tax?
Eight homes eliminated: Ditto above.
Sixteen businesses eliminated: Representing how much sales tax loss to the state and cities?
Sixteen businesses eliminated: Representing how much street repair tax lost to the cities?
Eleven roundabouts: Representing what extra cost in property acquisition?
Eleven roundabouts: Representing how much in construction costs?
Eleven roundabouts: Representing what increases in maintenance costs to the cities? Remember, the state intends to turn the road over to the cities when it is complete.
Nearly five miles of bicycle/pedestrian trails: Representing what increase in cost for the practically non-existent demand for them?
Since the state DOT absolutely refuses to rebuild the present six-lane setup, I have capitulated that point. I have a much less expensive alternative -- four lanes with continuous center left turn lanes. This arrangement serves both properties and intersections on both sides of the road simultaneously, and probably would be a boost to the businesses now accessed from only one direction.
In the light of the deleterious effect on commerce by the proposed design I am wondering why the Chamber of Commerce hasn't weighed in with alternative suggestions. The planned road could mean a reduction of commerce and possibly chamber membership. And don't tell me the Chamber doesn't comment on "political" matters. When I was on the Cedar Falls City Council the chamber's political action committee was a constant annoyance to me.
Another question the city councils should settle now is: How much cost does the state want the cities to absorb? Our respective city councils, scrambling right now for cash, may want to scrap the whole design approach and stick to simply moving traffic. There are things individual citizens can do to speed up the project and reduce the cost. Sound off! Determine which of our local politicians are devoted to a common sense approach and which are promoting special interests regardless of the financial impact on all of us. The time to get involved is now. Get involved.