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First Abram Street study cost $580. Second unnecessary study inflates to $55,000.

Monday, September 17, 2012; by Buddy Saunders

Before moving on to other issues, we want to make these further comments on the Mayor’s plan to reduce the number of traffic lanes on Abram Street to make room for bicycle lanes.

To that end the City Council voted unanimously on August 21st to pay an out-of-state consultant $55,000 to study the feasibility of reducing Abram between Cooper and Collins to fewer lanes. Yes, we know the Mayor and Jimmy Bennett were absent, but had they been there, they would have voted yes.

There are plenty of problems with paying a consultant $55,000 to do work that a competent city staff (some of these folks have $100,000 range annual salaries) could do.

A bit of history. On 06/14/2011 the City Council approved a Thoroughfare Development Plan (consultant cost $100,000). On 06/28/2011 they approved a $61 million Hike and Bike Plan (consultant cost $250,000).

Arlington has 3,000 lane miles.  So for a total of $350,000 (the cost of both plans), Arlington got a traffic pattern flow study and a whole lot more (including a 400 page bike plan) at a cost of $116.00 per mile.

Now consider Abram from Collins to Cooper—a single mile of roadway—with just five lane miles. The new Abram Street study at $55,000 will cost the citizens of Arlington $11,000 per lane mile. That is simply incredible! And remember, this is just a “study.”  What if the consultant has more integrity than we think he has and reports that Abram should remain as is?  If so, our City Council has squandered $55,000 of our tax dollars.

But now let’s add insult to injury.  This new $11,000 per lane mile Abram Street study is just a retread of the original study of Abram Street (again Cooper to Collins) that was part of the original Hike and Bike Plan.  That original study said taking Abram down to two lanes, despite a 19,000 daily traffic count, made great sense.  Wrongheaded as its conclusion might be, that first study was at least cheap, at $580 for the five lane miles.

What on God’s green earth is at work here?

Creeping cronyism, that’s what.

Arlington risks becoming a city of crony capitalism where the well-connected gain advantage at citizen expense.

Abram Street is a glaring example. There are those who would like to turn Abram Street into a downtown open air mall where cars are no longer welcome. Like the cattle barons of old, these folks want to fence off Abram for their benefit.  And if you have the temerity to think the streets belong to you, the citizen, and that you should be free to use Abram to get from west Arlington to 360, then, bub, these folks have got news for you.  You’re not welcome to pass through.

Intentionally congesting a street and thereby diverting traffic to other streets that then congest as well, all to benefit special interests, is not good for Arlington, and it is not just.


Buddy Saunders
Publisher – Opinion Arlington

One Response to First Abram Street study cost $580. Second unnecessary study inflates to $55,000.

  1. Abel

    September 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Yes, I have only one thought…..STOP voting for them. Stop voting for republicans…Stop voting for conservatives. Support with cash and a good ground game of volunteers and you can get the entire council changed without much effort. Keep away from Zealots and tea party and keep in mind a person ANY one with true American values. But with a will to see get the citizens view and answers with the skill and ability to get people of other views to compromise along with your views. This my way or the high way idea will not fly and not attract a majority of citizens to your cause.

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