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Monday, July 6, 2009

Howard Street Closings Lengthen Walk to Post Office -- What's So Bad About That?

Elisa Sand gave the upcoming referendum in Howard a little press in last week's MDL (print only). The referendum concerns the vacation and closure of portions of Farmer Avenue and two alleys in Howard to make room for the Rural Learning Center to build a hotel and conference center that would bring all sorts of business to Howard.

Sand noted that among the reasons cited for opposition to the plan is the concern that folks would have a harder time getting to the post office.

Really? Let's look at the map:

View Larger Map

The Howard post office is at 100 North Main, near the Farmer Avenue intersection. The street vacations approved by the Howard City Commission and referred to a public vote would close West Farmer Avenue from Main west, about two thirds of the way down the block. (See this blueprint of the RLC's proposed new facility.) So as far as I can tell, that argument wouldn't apply to anyone coming from the north, east, or south, or anyone coming from out of town on 34 or the Section Line road. The only people who would have to drive further to get to the post office would be folks coming from in-town locations within a half block of either side of the four-block stretch of West Farmer Avenue. And the maximum detour length for anyone in that narrow zone would be two blocks: an extra block north, east as usual, then an extra block south. In the extreme, closing the specified strip of Farmer Avenue will turn an eight-block round trip into a twelve-block rounr trip.

Hmm... sounds like a good excuse for putting another four hundred strides on the pedometer. Howard gets economic development and one narrow neighborhood gets more exercise. I love a win-win situation!

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