Letter to the Editor: Does Parking Lot Project Put Safety First?
Is anybody out there paying attention? Plantings vs. People = Winning new design for DeForest Parking lots! (The following letter was sent to City Administrator Chris Cotter)
To Chris Cotter:
I ask that you share the following letter with the Mayor and Council. Yesterday morning, as I was leaving Walkwell Shoes via the back entrance, I saw a frail and elderly friend trying to make her way to Liss Pharmacy via the alleyway. She was stopped by the newly constructed barrier of curbstone created to protect the dirt for future plantings (I guess?), then a two foot wide section of dirt, and yet a second barrier of curbstone created as a further protection for plantings and as a barrier to the alleyway and the shops that line it. Interestingly, city workers were right there continuing to work with a truck parked nearly behind her car, and no assistance was forthcoming.
I climbed up to my friend, and assisted her down to the alley, then to the drugstore, then to the Summit Food Market, and finally back to her car, which she could barely remove due to the city's parked truck. My friend, a resident of 50 years+, asked, "What is happening to Summit? Doesn't anybody care? How am I supposed to get to the drugstore? To the shops on Springfield Avenue?"
Honestly, do you, do the Mayor and Council understand even one of the many unintended consequences of this poorly thought-out new "parking experience" fiasco?
The owner of a shop we passed is one of many who derided this project as "The worst thing Summit has ever done!" It would appear that the city's officials are paying more attention to plants than to people and shoppers - this after taking down many wonderful shade trees in the existing lots. I understand that some thought is now being given to permitting a single access point to the alleyway in each of the lots - and if that is the case, IT IS STILL INADEQUATE!!
The first lesson that all physicians learn is "FIRST DO NO HARM". I believe this should be a lesson for ALL of us, and especially for our elected officials. This parking lot project will do harm to our neighbors, our downtown businesses, our shoppers, our community. What happens to the handicapped neighbor who needs to get to their downtown pharmacy, and other stores? With tens of thousands of dollars being spent on an ill-conceived project, at the very least can't some of those dollars be allocated to the safety and convenience of our citizens?
Hopefully, it is not too late to make SAFETY AND SAFE PASSAGE FOR SUMMIT'S PEOPLE the FIRST PRIORITY. IS ANYBODY OUT THERE PAYING ATTENTION?