New Canaan referendum fatally flawed
Published 5:30 pm, Wednesday, April 13, 2011
1. On April 27 voters must vote "No" on a confusing paving bond referendum that doesn't even mention sidewalks.
2. The cost of installing the Main Street sidewalk extension is equal to approximately half-mile of repaving. Claims that a huge backlog of road paving will be opened up if we stop installing sidewalks are patently false and irresponsible.
3. We need to protect pedestrians in known hazardous areas rather than always waiting for a tragedy before we act. The Main Street and Old Norwalk extensions have been in the works for years and are part of a smart and limited plan to link our schools, parks and commercial district by closing hazardous gaps, like lower Main.
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4. The Americans with Disabilities Act and DOT guidelines for federal transportation financing require that the safety of pedestrians be taken into account during repaving. Sidewalks in poor condition must be repaired and some money must be spent on pedestrians to qualify for federal assistance.
5. New Canaan should not become the only municipality in Fairfield County to adopt a "no new sidewalk" policy.
6. We should not pit neighborhood against neighborhood or permit misleading promises of swifter repaving on "your street" if you just vote yes. South/Saxe walkers pay for buses their children can't use. Seniors pay for schools. New Canaan is a caring community and is willing to make a one-time investment to keep those families and their neighbors safe, especially when the cost amounts to one annual cappuccino per family over the next 20 years.
7. Even voters who are ambivalent about sidewalks need to say "No to the Nonsense" so we can get back to responsible, efficient government. Referendums are not intended to resolve disputes between neighbors -- it is a real stretch and the cracks are showing. It is appalling the amount of time and money that has been wasted when the Town Council hasn't even approved a sidewalk extension. Worse yet, no one entering the voting booth will be able to tell from the language of the ballot what is at stake, and that is just plain wrong. We need to say No to the Nonsense and Vote No on April 27.
8. Unfortunately, NCCRS is playing on the confusion. They don't want a dime of our transportation money spent on sidewalks but have said in the press and on the street "we are not anti-sidewalk." Who know what a vote in favor of their agenda means at this point. Their latest press release does not mention sidewalks at all.
The Main Street sidewalk extension, and any future paving projects should be decided on the merits, not on petty "me first" politics. Vote "no" on Referendum Day.