Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Say something

You've got one more chance to get in on the ground floor of a plan that will guide the future of the city of Amarillo.

The final community meeting to gather public input for a comprehensive plan for the city will take place at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, at Puckett Elementary School, 6700 Oakhurst Drive. Anyone can join in.

More than 30 residents turned out at Lawndale Elementary School tonight to talk about their vision for Amarillo for the next couple of decades.

Their number was more than matched by representatives of the city -- members of a city Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, the city Planning and Zoning Commission, city staff and elected leaders.

Consultants who are working with the steering committee to draft the plan for led discussion groups. Here are some ideas that rose to the top:

"Amarillo is becoming known elsewhere as a speed trap."

"We have world-class arts and music. But there's a disconnect. People don't always feel like they could be or should be a part of that."

"The southeast part of town is growing. It might be time to look at another junior high, another high school."

"Maybe (add) a police substation in the southeast, northeast."

"It seems like everything used to be centrally located. But now everything is in the southwest. We're the forgotten stepchildren on this side of town."

"The behavior of the citizens governs a lot of where people are going to put things. Restaurants, they'll go anywhere there's money. But if people don't think they're safe or the area is pleasant, they're not going to come."

"The parks staff does an excellent job during the summer. They have all kinds of events and activities (for kids). And the director of Parks and Recreation (Department) is probably the best around -- Larry Offerdahl."

About Alamo Park: "I think they did a great job with it. I've never seen so many kids and families picnicking there."

About the senior park amenities being added to Ellwood Park: "I think we're going to have to do more of that, more projects in the parks where they (seniors) feel safe."

"Our alleys are very bad. ... It's overflowing with trash continually, people just throwing out their couches and tires."

"There are cars on properties, not tagged, no tires."

"With all the new development, the dirt's gone away. Asphalt and concrete has taken its place, and there is a drainage problem."

More about drainage issues: "Especially on the access roads of I-40, it will be from curb to curb most every time we have a rain."

Many entrance and exit ramps to Interstate 40 were designed in the 1960s. And they're short and dangerous.

"Can a lane be added to I-40 to improve traffic flow?"

"Here in the east part town, we have to drive to get to anything. We're the ones who are pretty much on I-40, so we know. Yes, lanes need to be added to I-40."

Newer thoroughfares such as Coulter and Soncy already are congested. Other streets mentioned included Bell and Western.

"While we do have to wait (through lights due to traffic), our son, who lives in Dallas, laughs at us when we talk about it. It's nothing at all to him," one woman said. And then, speaking directly to the consultant, she added, "You're talking to a spoiled people."

To the question, 'Is Amarillo a good place to walk or bike?' came this reply: "There are too many buildings that are terrible. Who wants to be around buildings where we don't know if there are transients."

"There are people parking on the sidewalks."

About the bus system, came a comment about the need for "different routes so people don't have to walk eight, 10 blocks to get to a bus stop."

Another bus system comment: "You have to go all over the place before you get to where you need to go."

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