Saturday, January 8, 2011

On the Edge, For Months

The residents of the 2500 and 2600 blocks of Cleveland Avenue, who live outside the VA Hospital Footprint, have suffered since the street was torn out.

Fox 8 did not one but two pieces outlining the dangerous conditions that residents faced, such as sidewalks nearing collapse, gullies that required residents to place boards across them to walk out, a lack of emergency service access (the trenches on the sides are sometimes several feet deep), and an inability for trash pickup services to access properties.  

At least one vehicle remains trapped in a driveway, completely cut off.  Residents have also complained in at least one story about significant vibrations from the construction (which is relevant given the housing stock - the neighborhood falls within the Mid-City National Register Historic District).

Unfortunately, the continuing experience for peripheral residents is the result of a lack of adequate planning for the mammoth LSU/VA undertaking. 

It would be one thing if the entire affair for peripheral residents had only taken a week or even a few weeks.  Multiple months is a different story.  The apparent lack of adequate notice to the peripheral residents of the nature of the construction about to unfold in their neighborhood is also troubling.

Concerned residents can reach out at two upcoming meetings.  At 6 p.m. on January 18, 2011, the VA will hold a neighborhood meeting at the nearby First Pentecostal Church at 2525 Canal.  The following day, January 19, Council Member Stacy Head will hold a public hearing in New Orleans City Council Chambers at 2 p.m. to get an update on the site preparation process (Brad Ott of the Committee to Reopen Charity has been instrumental in reminding the City of its obligation under its own ordinance to hold such meetings).

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