Column: Living in the city of detours

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Commentary by John Accetturo

Having lived through more than 20 years of street construction in Carmel I thought I was immune to the inconvenience, but that is not the case. I spend almost every day in Carmel and speak to a wide variety of people, and the biggest complaint they have is about all the street construction and detours. The detour sign has become the most used by the street department. Recently, an individual I know called the city engineer to ask if there was a construction-free way for his out-of-town visitor to navigate to his home. The city engineer told him it was impossible.

I do have to admit the street surfaces in Carmel are in excellent condition, and no one is complaining about that. However, driving in any direction in the city people encounter street construction, detours and contractors blocking streets and redirecting traffic at will. It seems if you are constructing something in Carmel you can impair traffic with no supervision by the city or police department. These contractors, along with planned closings and street construction, are a pain in the neck. People are asking: Will this ever end?

Obviously, you can’t go backwards, and some street revamping like 96th Street and Keystone Parkway is needed. However, others like Range Line Road, are not. I drive Range Line daily and the changes have denigrated the traffic flow and make it harder to get where you want to go. By the way, those planters are ugly and a hazard to both traffic and bike riders. Just wait until the snow and ice come.

There are a lot of projects going on in Carmel, but you seldom hear about them until they are being implemented. Carmel taxpayers need to know why these street projects are needed and their merits need to be publicly discussed by the city council before being approved and funded. Just because the mayor wants them is not an adequate reason for the city council to approve them. Aren’t we supposed to have checks and balances in city government?

John V. Accetturo is a former city council member and CRC commissioner.

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