I moved away from Muscatine in 2009 and had the opportunity recently to visit family and friends for about a week. In general, not much has changed around the sleepy little river town known as Muscatine.
Then again, that’s kind of the attraction of a town like this. When you pull into town, you know the river will be slowly flowing by, most everyone you know still lives where they did the last time you were here, and when the sun sinks into the western sky, a gorgeous sunset over the Mississippi is left to enjoy by all.
There is nothing glamorous about living here -- no celebrities, no Disneyland, and no overcrowded mega-plex malls. Most residents appreciate there are no major housing developments exploding with thousands of new houses, and no skyscrapers being erected. There is no rush-hour traffic jams to worry about, and no horns beeping.
For the most part, if you grew up in Muscatine, left 20 or 30 years ago and then returned, you would know instantly it is still good old Muscatine, the historical little town known for clam shells, and the Mississippi River running along the edge of town.
Having said all of that, I was kind of taken aback when I drove along River Drive and noticed immediately what use to be an easy to maneuver four-lane road has now been converted into a two-lane road with a high median and high curbs.
So, if for some unforeseen reason, a person would have the ill-fated luck of having their car stall along this area, wouldn’t traffic pretty quickly back up creating a traffic jam? How would a tow truck maneuver to your stalled car? What happens if there is extremely slow moving equipment rolling through town? What about emergency and rescue vehicles being slowed or stopped by a stalled car? If your spouse or child was waiting on an ambulance would you want it needlessly slowed or stopped? And the list goes on and on.
Was the question of safety addressed by the Muscatine city government when this project was being planned?
Then, there is the back in parking. Granted, I have not navigated the entire world, but in the areas I have been, I have never seen back-in parking -- and for obvious reasons. It appears if you want to park, the motorist first has to stop, thus halting all traffic behind them. Then, with traffic stopped, attempt to back into a parking place. There is no end to the accident scenarios that could arise in a situation like this.
Here again, was the question of safety not addressed at all when this project being planned?
I could see a grammar school child coming up with the plans for this project, then, of course, responsible adults would quickly come to the rescue. My only question with the riverfront project is where were the responsible adults?