Restore the balance on Madison Ave.
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:18 PM
"And the winner of the Lamest Objection to the Madison Avenue Traffic Calming Project Award is (drum roll please)...My SUV won't fit in the lane!And you're asking for sympathy? But from the first day, the project that saw curves, cones and other goodies thrown in to slow traffic on one of Winslow's busiest streets was bound to pit competing interests against each other. Its merits depended wholly on what you use Madison Avenue for.If you see it as a speedway to the ferry terminal, the project might as well have been designed by the devil himself. If you actually use downtown as something other than a route to somewhere else - say, as a destination for shopping or other human interaction - the new crosswalks were heaven.Opinions will no doubt vary as to whether the project - $43,000 for a 60-day trial - has been a boondoggle. Certainly a longer trial period would have made the numbers look a little better. (And by our count, the project has generated more letters to the editor than any single island issue in the last decade, save for the Port Blakely Mill Co. housing development - and that dragged on for three years, not two months.)But while it's been clear from the outset that the design could use some fiddling, we hope the city council decides that some permanent changes are merited. Look at Madison Avenue zoning: You can bet that within 5-10 years, every parcel between city hall and Wyatt's Corner will be redeveloped with new retail outlets and housing. Maybe more. On-street parking will be a must, as will pedestrian islands and better sidewalks. And slower traffic.Can engineers strike a better balance between the interests of pedestrians and motorists? Probably. But the vehemence of the project's opponents reflect how out of whack the balance has been to date. Madison Avenue simply hasn't worked for all of the groups that use it.The recent success of the Pedestrian Roadshow, and the huge turnout for this week's bike/ped plan workshop, suggest that in this community, the pendulum is swinging away from the single-occupant vehicle and the gluttonous SUV.We're finding the proper balance. We hope it returns to Madison Avenue.ResultsWho won? Who lost?Local results for the Nov. 7 general election will be available on the Review's website - www.bainbridgereview.com - Tuesday evening. Also, a special election tab that wraps up local races, to be published by the Kitsap Newspaper Group, will hit the streets Wednesday morning. The tab can be found at locations around Winslow, and in the Review office on Madison Avenue.Who won? Who lost? That's up to you.Vote. "