Saturday, June 07, 2008

Oval Proposal A Big Zero

Final score: 5 to 1.

Thursday evening the Plattsburgh Common Council shot down a proposal by a group of residents on the former air force base to make a street in their neighborhood one-way.

One of the leading proponents of the change is Luke Cyphers, a sports magazine writer who moved to Plattsburgh seeking the small town life.

Mr. Cyphers, welcome to the Burgh.

The street in question is called the Oval, a mile long circle on the old base. Cyphers laid out his reasons for the change in an opinion piece published Friday, June 6, 2008 in the Press-Republican’s Editorial section. He was responding to an editorial by the PR that disfavored the idea.

Cyphers and his neighbors wanted to change the Oval to one-way so that the inner lane could be opened up for non-motorized use, i.e., walkers and cyclists. He stressed the benefits of promoting exercise through a safer location.

His opinion piece in the Press-Republican is well written but smacks of dem dere big city notions. For example, he writes:

“It always irks me to see Burlington [Vermont] lauded as one of Outside Magazine’s top places to live for fitness and recreation enthusiasts.”

Apparently Cyphers has never taken a visual survey of the locals. Endomorphs, not mesomorphs, are the majority. Former mayor Dan Stewart proposed the opening of a Kripsy Krème doughnut shop downtown. Cyphers would be better off advocating that fat proposal for the Oval. Successful lobbying is assured.

In his essay Cyphers says that one-way traffic on the Oval would decrease the probability of an accident. With this point he invokes the term, “common sense.”

Common sense? In Plattsburgh?

Obviously Cyphers hasn’t dealt with too many of the provincials around here. Advising the typical Burgher to use common sense is akin to telling a dead man to work out more often at the gym to stay in shape.

If Cyphers stays here long enough, he will learn.

He will learn that he should’ve moved to Burlington.


Anonymous said...

The Oval is actually already quite pedestrian-friendly. All the City needs to do is fix the sidewalks (most are uneven due to age/tree roots/cracks, etc.)and extend the sidewalk in a few spots (the sidewalk disappears for a stretch in front of one of the large unoccupied buildings and again near the chapel, if my memory is correct). There is not much traffic, in general, though I have definitely noticed speeders -- especially in the late afternoon/early evening. I have to say from my experience living someplace where pedestrians and bicyclists share a travel lane, speeding bikes weaving in and out of families going for a walk isn't much fun. However, kudos to this Burgher for taking on City Hall. It would be nice to have some sort of bike/roller-blade lane.

Anonymous said...

To my well-named fellow Burgher:
That, as my father says, is more truth than poetry. And the truth hurts.
But it's funny.

Luke T. Bush said...


A shared travel lane where speeding bicyclists weave around pedestrains? They already have that here in Plattsburgh: it's called a sidewalk.


Luke T. Bush said...


Fellow Burgher? Sorry. According to the ancient prophecy I'm the Antiburgher.