...Then, hopefully, we can sit down and seriously consider an incremental traffic plan that meets the criteria I spelled out in the first paragraph. I really have no idea what can be easily done, or what makes sense or doesn’t. But here is the plan I had in the back of my head when I went to talk to Chief Mikulec as a starting place. Something that can be fixed, corrected, and made into something that would actually work given the realities of traffic flow and the needs of the City.
Before the lights went on I would contact the whole street to let them know what’s up, ask them to call me if they have problems or concerns, and to try to generate a feeling of ownership on their parts. Once the lights were up I then invite them to a preview showing serving hot chocolate or cider. I would ask my immediate neighbors (all friendly, I believe) to voluntarily leave the street parking nearest my house open for visitors, so they didn’t have to block the street while they watched the show. I also have this announcement in my show, “Please don’t block the streets or my neighbor’s” driveways, similar language on my Web site, and I also have a microphone so I can make live announcements.
Traffic Level #1 – We do nothing. Traffic can flow either direction. I will monitor traffic, make adjustments to start and stop times accordingly, and to see if/when we get so much that we need to move to Level II. We need to quantify what “too much” traffic is and what triggers the next level.
Traffic Level #2 – Maybe during weekends once the show it’s the news (I’ll not contact them, including national, until maybe 10-days before Christmas) traffic could simply jam the street in a way that isn’t tolerable. If we get really slammed, it occurred to me that it wouldn’t be too tough to turn 16th Street from Grant to Crestmore and north to 15th, one way or the other, into a One Way street. Or perhaps more properly a street allowing only traffic to pass one way. And in a way that doesn’t require manual traffic control. I wonder if just a barricade, with signage, across the opposite half of the street would work. Then traffic could line up waiting their turn leaving the other half of the street open for fire, police, and residents. Or would people just ignore the intent and double-up down the street anyway? We would have to figure out where we would want the “back of the line” to start. The plan being that, at some point, the volume becomes self-regulating as it back up far enough people don’t want to endure the wait.
Traffic Level #2A - A lot of towns where similar displays are done freely support the heaviest traffic, usually weekends close to Christmas, with a level of manual traffic control, if necessary. I’m not asking for that, and never have. But it’s hard for me not to notice as a result of the time that has been spent on my display before it has ever even gone up, that we seem to have a lot of time available that could be put to use positive use for the City. So I wouldn’t turn it down the support if it were available.
Traffic Level #3 – I’ll shut it down. If my display attracts so much attention that it causes ongoing and regular problems for my neighbors, or puts anybody at real risk, despite our best (reasonable) efforts, I’ll shut it down in a heartbeat and explain that I simply can’t have risks or hassles for my neighbors.
Deb, I might also ask you or the City for help with two other things at this point, if they are easy to do. This meeting is now about two months late. So I’m needing to mail something to my street initially, then follow up with a personal invitation once the lights are up and working. Is there an easy way to figure out the names of everybody through some resource you guys have? Secondly, I really want to invite everyone in the police department, and possible every City employee depending upon how many people we’re talking about, to a “Thanks For Your Service” preview night for them as well. Is there any easy or informal way I can do that? Is there a City-wide employee e-mail system that I could use (or get somebody to use without violating any policies) to that end?
I look forward to seeing you. And, again, thank you for your maturity, tolerance, and friendship. If you think it helps to share this e-mail with anyone, feel free. If I have misjudged the spirit and purpose of this meeting, please just accept my heartfelt thanks and hit “delete.”