That was the topic of two major discussions by Honesdale Borough council on Monday night.
The first issue has to do with line painting in the downtown area.
Let's be clear here, the lines need painted. There are so many examples where the lack of lines can cause accidents they are too many to list here.
As is almost always the case, lack of funds seems to be the biggest obstacle.
The borough is considering contracting out line painting. But at what cost?
It could be $100,000 or even closer to $200,000 to get the job done.
That seems ridiculous given the fact the lines will only last two years or so — and the borough doesn't have that kind of money.
So what is council to do?
That is not clear. If they spend that much, it could cut very deeply into the budget of the department of public works.
That could mean very little money left for plowing snow or other crucial work which needs to happen.
One option might be to have the crew at public works put in some overtime hours and get the streets painted internally. There is a policy about no overtime in place in the borough, however, if it would cost significantly less to pay overtime than to hire an outside firm, that option must be explored.
At least doing it that way would keep the money within the borough and give the employees a little extra cash to spend.
If that is not an option, something needs to be done. The danger which looms each and every day in the downtown area is not good for anyone.
Page 2 of 3 - Also brought up at the meeting is the ongoing issue of the one-way streets.
A sub-committee was formed last year to take another look at whether the one-way streets work or whether the borough should consider asking the state to take them back to two-way.
There was $2,800 approved Monday night to study wrecks on Church and Main streets. The study will apparently compare accident types when the streets were two-way and since they have been one-way.
Since the committee was formed, that money should be allocated.
However, the core question remains as to whether or not it is worth spending any money on trying to change the streets back to the way it was before.
Many argue the one-way streets are fine, it's how they are configured which is the problem. There is also a lack of signage which is crucial in making it work properly.
At a committee meeting a few months ago, the overwhelming majority of the public supported keeping the streets as they are — one-way.
Yet the makeup of the committee is overwhelmingly in favor of taking them back to two-way.
That in itself seems wrong, especially given the fact those who bothered to come to the meeting said they think things are better now but some improvements need to be made.
We question the makeup of this committee and think the council needs to rethink who is on it and how it operates.
Committee chairman Bob Jennings said Monday he wants the necessary materials in hand "when" the council petitions the state to go back to two-way streets.
That's a red flag right there.
Jennings should not be taking any sides in this matter and should rely on public input. That input, so far, has shown a desire to improve on what we have and not to make another radical change.
Page 3 of 3 - Council president F.J. Monaghan also said he favors going back to the way it was before.
He, too, should not be taking sides and should listen to public opinion.
It appears to us that money is being spent in order to complete an agenda the public does not support.
We certainly think money could be better spent on other issues rather than rehashing this street debate. If anything, the money and energy should be used to see how we can improve on what we have at this time.
The ideas have been presented on how to improve the one-way streets but those have seemingly fallen on deaf ears.
It's time those ears be tuned in to public opinion and a real debate take place.