For the last million years or so, the city of Bellingham has been ripping up
one of the streets that runs past our house, due to something they call the
"Holly Street Gateway"
This is the sort of public works project that turns people into cranky tax-revoltists.
They are spending, as far as I can tell, millions of public dollars in
order to tear out what appeared to me to be perfectly functional sidewalks.
And why? To replace them with -- uh, I guess, better sidewalks. And all this
is in order to -- again, I'm at a loss here. I'll let some city policy wonk
"This project will provide a distinctive gateway into Bellingham that more accurately represents the beauty and unique character of our vibrant downtown core."
--City Engineer Rory Routhe
Right. So, in order to improve the visitor experience on one of the major roads
into downtown (a stretch of Holly Street that sees about 13,800 vehicles a day,
according to 2005 Public Works data), they are going to close lanes of traffic
on that road for months at a time. This whole thing started in May or June
-- it's now August, and things just keep getting worse.
And, because they're ripping up the sidewalks this isn't the kind of
road project where pedestrians and cyclists can point and laugh. No, sidewalks
that I walk on practically every day have vanished, and are now an odd
reddish shade of dirt, either choking dust or spattering mud, depending on the
And they ripped up "Spike Punky." This is tragic to me. For as long
as I can remember, the words "Spike Punky" (or, as Paul sometimes
insisted, "Punky Spike") have been inscribed in the sidewalk at the
corner of Indian and Holly. I would look at it whenever I walked by, and wonder
-- who wrote it? Why? Of all the messages that need to be inscribed for posterity,
why "Spike Punky"? Was it a name? An instruction? A haircut? A long-vanished
Now Spike Punky is dead, smashed to bits, and I never even thought to take
I had just gotten over mourning for Spike Punky when they closed off the Holly
Street entrance to the alley behind our house -- the alley that we drive down
in order to park in our back yard when there is no parking on the street. (Or,
when I just don't feel up to parallel parking.)
Which was bad enough -- since that alley is bounded on both sides by a one-way
street, being able to enter from only one side causes much tedious block-circling.
But now, they have started some kind of big resurfacing project on Ellis
Street -- more lane closures and clogged-up traffic and cars going every which
way and GOOD LORD IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR NORMAL TRAFFIC ON AT LEAST ONE
STREET THAT BORDERS MY HOUSE?.
Thank you. Please, finish putting back the sidewalks now