Again on Monday evening, I sat through the discussion on widening Hitchcock Parkway at the City Council meeting.
I didn’t address the Council since I expressed my support for the 45 mph speed limit at the previous meeting. I thank the Council for their vote for the plan with the narrower footprint and the 45 mph speed limit throughout the entire length. This is a good compromise.
However, I left the meeting very disturbed and frustrated, as I have before, because of a small, loud and vocal group of bullies.
I find the arguments by the leading opponent, Robert Gilbert, mostly to be superficial.
He does not take into account the growth that Aiken is likely to experience over the next decade that will require much higher capacity on the main artery that serves the west side of Aiken. I learned nothing new from his presentation that he hasn’t said before. Contrary to his argument, it is unlikely that the Parkway will ever look like East Pine Log Road, since that is a commercial artery, and most of the land along Hitchcock Parkway is protected from further development.
Many of his supporters are seniors who might not be driving by the time this project is complete, rather than those who use this road on a daily basis.
I hope this angry minority does not stymie a much needed project that could easily cost twice the current estimate if it is again delayed for a decade or more.
I hope this project is completed as soon as possible, with a stoplight and left turn signal at Dibble Road to allow traffic on Dibble to make left turns onto the parkway easily, and for the horse trailers to turn onto Dibble Road safely.