Matthew Micetic, owner of Red Castle Games and president of FABA, recently penned a letter in response to a small handful of businesses that have displayed neon-colored posters in their windows proclaiming their disdain for the project. Those posters have grown in number and visibility in recent weeks, even grabbing the attention of local media outlets. Most of the signage states a desire to keep Foster a car-centric corridor with preserved travel times and auto speeds. But the number of businesses who share this sentiment appear to be in the minority, and their common appeal seems toward people using Foster from outside of the community, not those who live and play (and walk, and have kids, and bike, and eat, and do other shopping) in the neighborhood.
While the Streetscape Plan clearly is a divisive issue, the benefits are fairly obvious: pedestrians will now only have to cross three lanes of auto traffic instead of four; crossings will also be improved with curb extensions, rapid flash beacons, and better lighting; a center turn lane will allow for better traffic flow; bikers will now have the ability to share the road; and trees, added lighting, and public art will make for a more visually appealing Foster.
Foster is, after all, a high crash corridor. And though the Streetscape plan may not be perfect, it is a step toward a safer and more vibrant commercial corridor.
The signs at Euro Classic Furniture, Buck’s Stove Palace, Mt. Scott Fuel, and the Sew/Vac shop at SE 67th, all appear to be in favor of maintaining travel speeds. There’s a bit of hypocrisy at play here, as some of the signs at Euro Classic Furniture suggest a desire to prevent accidents and maintain safety as rationale for opposing the plan, something that seems nearly impossible when maintaining current conditions. The message also appears to be advocating for the convenience of those driving cars, not the safety of drivers, pedestrians and bikers this plan is hoping to be fully inclusive of. And across the street at Buck’s, it should be noted that, despite their current and visible opposition to the plan, they sat at the stakeholderss’ table where the plan was voted for adoption nearly two years ago—they shared no opposition then.
While some of the concerns with the plan may have merit, they are not shared by all. And it is for this reason that FABA president, Matthew Micetic, penned his letter. To go further, not only does Micetic reiterate FABA’s support of the Streetscape Plan, but he points out that the quartet of businesses opposing it do not represent the overall business community as they might be suggesting. He goes further to state what outreach has been done since the plan has taken shape, and how he and FABA have and will make themselves available to discuss any questions or concerns about it. (With the outreach that has been done, and with the plan being in the works for years, these businesses should not be as surprised as they are coming across.) It should also be noted that FABA has increasingly been pushing to better promote Foster as a commercial district, and they’re developing strategies to help maintain business during the plan’s construction.
Here is the letter from Matthew: