Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is Councilman Esslinger concerned about safety or not? It seems to depend...TAKE TWO

Councilman Paul Esslinger suggested at tonight’s Common Council meeting that safety is a relative term and open to interpretation. That is perhaps one thing I agree with him on. It’s the rest of his so-called “logic” that I find curious, disturbing and just downright questionable.

In discussing the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Murdock and Jackson –which passed by a vote of 6-1, Esslinger being the lone dissenter – he badgered a representative from the DOT with traffic data he’d obtained from the city. It should be noted that, like any data, these traffic records can be interpreted in different ways, as councilor Jess King pointed out. Besides the condescending attitude – which, by the way, bordered on rudeness – that Esslinger displayed to this DOT representative, he made some very odd statements about safety which once again demonstrate how he flip-flops on issues to suit the project or his particular position.

Esslinger stated that for the three year period he had traffic data for, there were 29,000 cars a day which passed through the Jackson Street/Murdock Avenue intersection. He multiplied that out and came to the conclusion that in those three years some 4.5 million cars had gone through the intersection compared to only 30 accidents during that same time period. “Relatively speaking,” he said, he didn’t feel that qualified as an unsafe intersection.

But in the decade or two that the River Mill subdivision has been in existence, residents there can’t recall a single accident. Despite that, councilman Esslinger brought forward a resolution ordering in sidewalks in this neighborhood because of safety issues. This is just more hypocrisy from a man who claims to represent the common man. The more I see and hear, the more I think the only man he really represents is the one named Paul Esslinger.


Blogger omar said...

It is about time someone else sees through the transparent politician that Esslinger is. For as many times as he asks "am I just missing something here." One should answer that he is missing most things. His arrogance impedes any positive change that he may bring and his attitude makes him nearly irrelevant.

July 25, 2007 8:44 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

29 accidents over three years may not sound like much, unless it is you or someone you love in one of those accidents.

That intersection sucks - try turning into Dairy Queen, try biking through it. Try walking with a child through it.

I don't know if roundabouts are better but it can't get worse.

July 26, 2007 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

That intersection never worried me before but now my wife won't go near it since every single time I drive through it or near it we either witness an accident or an accident nearly avoided. Jackson & Murdock never needed a roundabout.

Esslinger was absolutely correct for questioning it's validity. 30 accidents in 3 years with the standard "stop & go" lights versus 24 accidents in 1 MONTH with a roundabout.

Granted it is new to us all but we get new drivers every day and increasingly impatient ones as well. Hopefully other communities will learn from our mistakes, hopefully WE learn from our own mistakes and not construct any more of them.

August 16, 2010 7:19 PM  
Blogger Cheryl Hentz said...

Chris: I'm not sure why you weren't bothered by the intersection before since it was ranked one of the top 10 of accident-prone sites in the city.

Yes, there have been more accidents here since the roundabout was built but roundabouts are proven to have less serious accidents. Moreover, people need to learn how to drive in them. When are you driving through the roundabout that you witness accidents or near-accidents "every single time"? I've driven through here a lot of times since it was installed also and only saw one problem driver.

People navigate roundabouts all over the U.S. and throughout the world every day, and have for years - decades in many places. If people heed the instructions and drive the speed limit there should be no real problems. If they're not doing that then they're a danger on any street and in any intersection - roundabout or not.

As for your final thought, the reason roundabouts are increasing in number is because of their proven safety, so more will be constructed - another 16, I believe, in Oshkosh alone - before it's all said and done, not less. If people don't learn how to drive in them they're either going to have to take a lot of "roundabout ways" of getting places (pun intended) or they'll cause accidents and see their insurance rates increase. The choice is entirely theirs.

Lastly, the overall point of this post three years ago was contrasting Mr. Esslinger's great concern for safety where sidewalks were concerned but not at one of our more dangerous intersections. In that regard, I maintain his position depends on the situation and lacks consistency, like so much else I see with this politician.

August 16, 2010 11:38 PM  

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