Train Wreck Coming To Springfield City Council
Missouri's state motto,"Salus populi suprema lex esto, the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law," is being put to a test in Springfield's City Council chambers. At issue is a controversial street closure just north of Broadway and Commercial. Local residents are strongly opposed to the closure and succeeded in getting the issue tabled for over a year.
Now the issue is back on the agenda, and if the News-Leaders coverage is any indication, the railroad has regained the upper hand. Today's article quotes the BNSF press representive five times, and only one person opposed to the closure. All of the coverage is concentrated on the closure issue, and ignores related problems in the area, such as the poor condition and anitquated structure of the railroad underpasses in the area. No proposal for renovation of the underpasses gains the light of day. The only sop to the neighbors is a railroad proposal to relieve itself of responsibility for crossing maintenence with a bribe of $65,000 over the next seven years. The neighborhood groups , and ultimately the City, would then be responsible for cosmetic upkeep of the crossings thereafter.
Broadway is also the bike route crossing for the area--another issue ignored. City representatives don't seem to realize that bicycle and foot traffic in the area is often not a matter of choice for the area residents. They're not out for a Sunday stroll. They're stuck on foot or bike by necessity that will be on the rise as gas prices force more people to "shanks mare."
Area residents are increasingly frustrated with the trend of events. A school closure, giving away Grant Beach property to a non-profit agency, and the trainwreck at Broadway leave people feeling they're opinion doesn't matter.
And elected officials wonder why voter turnout there is so low.