It didn’t take long Friday for critics of Paris officials’ efforts to revitalize downtown to voice disapproval of recent changes, including the creation of 17 parallel parking spots along North Main Street. But no matter how scornful the remarks, there’s one thing they have to keep in mind — they’re too late.
Paris teamed up with Toole Design Group last year, and the company set up a series of meetings in June and August to gather public input on a vision for revamping the city’s downtown. From the get-go, Toole Design Group transportation engineer Ian Lockwood shared concerns about the flow of downtown traffic on one-way streets. Because Loop 286 circles the city, he said, there is no need for through traffic in downtown. A square with slower traffic on two-way streets and four-way stop signs were all part of a design plan presented in August.
One concern early on from Paris Planning and Zoning Commission members was the lack of follow up on a 2008 comprehensive plan, and that concern was voiced at the appropriate time, in an October meeting with city and Toole Design officials. After that, the plan was set and work was started.
Critics too apathetic then to attend meetings may feel free to keep snide commentary to themselves.
Those who want a voice in the future of the city must pay attention to City Council. It might not be as exciting as beer commercial horses visiting a city 40 miles to the south, but what your elected officials do has a greater impact on your life.
You can either affect your community or let your community affect you. The choice is yours.