Given three choices for new bridges leading into their community, the residents of Chincoteague, Virginia pressed their town board to seek additional proposals from that state's department of transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
What might amaze local residents is that the grass roots effort to see a major municipal project go back on the drawing board has thus far been a success. Apparently not only will the Virginia CTB look at two almost-new alternatives to the proposed bridges, but another round of public hearings will be held to discuss these new options.
Wouldn't it be nice if much the same thing occurred here, relating to the proposal to erect an elevated people-mover at what we all now know as the Nassau County Hub?
Specifically, one option we'd like to see considered is not having an above-ground people-mover at all. In Montreal, for instance, its mega-mall and surrounding hub is serviced by an underground people-mover system.
From the video we've seen of the mall, the system appears not only to be extraordinarily efficient, but it has almost no impact on surrounding communities.
Now, we can hear the voices of some saying, "But that would be too cost-prohibitive!"
Think about it, though, construction of such a system, which we envision as serving as an internal transportation route inside the hub, wouldn't just be an expense. The owners and operators of the area malls and proposed shopping facilities could, in fact, rent retail space adjacent to the underground people-mover. Think, for instance, of the underground shopping concourse at Rockefeller Center.
In addition, such an underground system would prove of huge benefit to local office workers, who, when the weather is inclement, could hop on the people-mover and travel to hub-area restaurants for lunch, dinner, or shopping.
We well understand the concerns relating to traffic addressed in the hub study, but is the answer really to be further disruption of local communities. Does the cure have to be as fatal as the disease?
Let's all work together and consider all the possible alternatives, not just those set forth in the hub study.
We can make this a better, more livable Nassau if we all remember that it's early yet and we still have time to do this thing right.
Daniel J. McCu