‘Better idea’ needed to improve Green Park Road, letter writer says

To the editor:

The elected officials of the city of Green Park are proceeding with implementation of a projected $2.2 million plan to “improve” most of the city’s portion of Green Park Road.

At a Jan. 16 Board of Aldermen meeting, I presented my objections to this plan and asked for its reconsideration. I was happy to learn that I was not alone in opposition to various fundamental features of this project. The most obvious flaw, which also underlies the basis for other problems, is that for the amount of dollars involved it fails to produce significant functionality improvement.

Green Park Road is presently a two-lane, narrow country road, mostly shoulder free, that begins at Union Road on the east, runs west for less than 2 miles and ends at Tesson Ferry Road. It is a throughway that does not lead to or from any of the usual retail or commercial entertainment facilities.

The construction project runs about 1.1 miles or about $2 million per mile. Present limitations are:

• Backed-up traffic during rush hour at each end and at each stop sign/signal along the road.

• This backup poses daily risks to the response effectiveness of emergency vehicles — police, fire and medical.

• Frustrating travel delays for Green Park residents and transients.

If the $2.2 million project is completed, Green Park Road may be tidier looking, but will still be a two-lane road with the same functional limitations and risk factors it has now. The plan design fails to minimize costs associated with the number of property owners impacted by grading, utility relocation/reconstruction and other mi-nor ornamental “improvements” all along the route frontage.

On the south side of Green Park Road, a cursory count indicates about 36 individual parcels of property — a few businesses, but mostly residential. All along the north side of the road, there are about six separate property plots — very few residential, one business, and by far the greatest linear frontage is already owned by city, county and state governments such as parks.

So where does the plan allocate 6-foot-wide sidewalks, movement of utilities, grading and curbing? You guessed it. On the south side. Installing most of this “improvement” along the north side of the road would greatly mitigate the impact on residential properties. The various government entities could work out — and still can — all the gory legal — expensive — property details and minimize costs for a major part of the linear distance involved.

Green Park Road is now nearly destitute as far as street-side parking is concerned. The proposed plan would clear that up — it will eliminate what little is now available.

Finally, it is my estimate that a major proportion of the through traffic does not consist of vehicles going to or from the city of Green Park. Overall, relatively few marginal benefits will accrue to the residents or businesses of this city.

Look around. How many other streets in the city of Green Park have property frontage with 6-foot-wide sidewalks and curbs at least partly carved out of their front yards?

I urge all Green Park residents to call or write the mayor and their aldermen and request a reconsideration and review of this plan before they start moving dirt and bending metal. A better idea is needed here.

Jack H. Harris

Green Park