Long-range plan can help but is hardly infallible

2018-12-13 | New Albany Gazette


his past week aldermen approved work on the first phase of a long-range plan for New Albany, although not all officials see a need for such a new plan equally.

We already have a comprehensive plan, parts of which has been accomplished over the years, but I don't object to a new one, just as long as it deals with needs appropriate to our community, is practical and city officials will actually implement it.

The impetus for the plan was likely the idea that city codes need updating and being made more useable for the average citizen. That's certainly worthwhile.

But what other recommendations may come with the plan remain to be seen, likely the result of some public or other meetings. The old plan was crammed full of goals – far too many to see fruition – and a new plan will probably come up with many of the same as before. That doesn't mean they are not worthwhile, only that there may be a reason why they have not been achieved.

I assume the new plan will make the usual broad vision pronouncements but hope it can tackle some issues in a very concrete way. We still need to deal with parking. Our Carter Avenue access corridor to downtown needs help so visitors don't think they are hopelessly lost. Better access planning is needed if all the city schools are going to end up on Sam T. Barkley Drive and I think something needs to be done about the prior plan's apparent push of commercial development farther west, away from the traditional center of town.

Of course a plan is just that. Planners don't have the gift of prophecy and unexpected changes will occur.

The earlier plan failed to address the mess on Hwy. 30 West other than noting some traffic congestion and even suggested it would be good to add even more offices in the area.

The plan also famously called for the return of railroad passenger traffic between Tupelo and Memphis, an idea that seems nearly bizarre today (but, in fairness, made more sense at the time).

We do need to plan, but plan realistically and still be prepared for the unexpected because it will happen.