Last Monday, City Council took up the issue of adding an opening in the floodwall at Main Street. It’s been a topic of discussion and commentary here on The Minot Voice since last spring, but it ramped up recently with news that there were also discussions taking place to remove the Anne Street Bridge.
But I think there’s a whole other issue with Phase 1 that hasn’t yet been broached. The planned shared use path on the North side of the river stops at the Anne Street Bridge. And a current pedestrian path — though not well maintained — under the BNSF tracks and along the East side of the river just east of 3rd Street will be eliminated because there’s no outlet towards the Roosevelt School neighborhood.
It’s yet another conveniently located pedestrian-only path that will be sacrificed to flood protection. Ugh.
But the elimination of the path notwithstanding, what do we expect to happen if we create an area on the wet-side of the floodwall nearly 1100 feet long that will see no regular pedestrian traffic or eyes?
This area will be out of sight, out of mind, and walled off from services including police patrols. You think it will attract unwanted elements? You think there’s a chance we created — unintentionally — a beautiful canvas for graffiti? You think we just intentionally designed a problem area inside our $65 million plan?
It’s yet another reason why I’m troubled by the fact that Phase 1 flood protection plans have made it this far. But then again, the plans were never put in front of City Council for formal review or discussion. The last time they had intentionally-public eyes was at the 30%-designed stage.