By Mike Smedley
Special to the Herald
Why is the city spending $30,000 to lower 400 parking meters to meet ADA specifications if parking is free for people with disability tags/license plates? Seems that removing the meter head, cutting the pipe and replacing the meter head shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, yet they’re estimating the cost at $75 each! Does Sweetie know about this? – Dennis Pierce
Just to be clear, the Americans with Disabilities Act has been a civil rights law for the past 27 years.
Federal laws are not optional, despite the flatulent claims from alt-right fringe groups, pervy Senate wannabes and odious ex-Arizona sheriffs.
Regardless, Durango’s parking meter project is the right thing to do. And it’s actually quite cheap.
The work involves much more than just reducing post height, said Wade Moore, parking operations managers for the city.
Some pipes were rusting, 40-year-old fixtures needing replacement. More than a few were badly bent by crappy parkers. Nearly all needed a paint job far beyond routine maintenance.
“It’s a lot of work, and we awarded the job the lowest bidder,” Wade said. “When you look at the big picture of city projects, $30K is really, really small.”
The project also supports one of the city’s stated goals: to help make Durango look nice and have things that match. “Envisioning a sense of place” is what it’s officially called.
In other words, it rectifies years of willy-nilly projects and the shucks-that’s-good-enough mindset from Durango’s hippie-dippy/cowboy days.
“Now is when we can bring our meters to a national standard,” Wade said.
But it’s really more than that.
What if disabled people are passengers in untagged vehicles? What if they volunteer to pay for parking and can’t reach the meter?
That’s the whole point of ADA: to eliminate these needless exclusions.
As for Sweetie’s awareness of the project, Action Line called her and chatted about all things municipal, not only parking meters but also the public art thingy proposed for the U.S. Highway 550/160 intersection.
Regarding parking meters, she expressed great pride that city staff is “proactive on achieving ADA compliance and helping all members of our community.”
Regarding the highway sculpture thingy, Sweetie is opposed. “It’s a busy intersection that doesn’t need distractions,” she said.
But don’t holler at Sweetie about the sculpture thingy. Folks who want to comment need to contact the city’s Public Art Commission.
Oh, and guess what? The sculpture thingy is not a paltry $25,000 project, as first reported last week.
The 25 grand is a grant. The real budget is nearly $100,000. That’s a game changer.
Check out the budget listed on the city’s “Call for Artists” at http://tinyurl.com/dgo-art-thingy.
So spending $30,000 on 400 parking meters looks like an even better bargain than forking over $99,500 for some decorative roadway bling.
H H H It’s time for the cornucopia that is the pre-Thanksgiving Mea Culpa Mailbag.
Last week’s column boldly proclaimed it was “highly unlikely that roof snow will pile onto neighboring property.” Our good friend Fraser Houston recalls the contrary.
It was the epic winter of 1992-93. In Telluride, precipitation had no respect for property lines.
“In the village, snow slid from a roof striking the sidewall of an adjacent house. The result was 5 to 6 feet of snow in the neighbor’s living room,” he writes, adding, “How’s them apples?”
“Same winter, a mini-mansion visible beside Lift 6 was flattened by snow – more money than sense and likely a Texas architect – shake roof and more gables and roof valleys than seen in all of Disneyland.”
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you know a person who really shouldn’t have a blue handicapped tag but you don’t want to narc on him or her.