A “welcome mat” for the neighborhood

Man alive, the Spruce Street and Toole Avenue area is getting, err, spruced up. First, new and cleaned up buildings, and secondly a miniature roundabout.

I drive through that intersection a lot to head up Scott Street. You wait, wait, wait, wait, wait … and then GO! And HOPE!

Wouldn’t it be great if the roundabout, or “mini urban,” gets folks through with less stress? And faster? And more safely?

Anyway, Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken has talked about that intersection before, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect with her yesterday until it was too late for the print edition.

The amazing assistant news editor Cory Walsh got part of Wolken’s comments into the online version of the story (more on that in a minute), and I wanted you to read the rest of it ’cause I thought part of it was kind of neat.

“I believe, with an attractive design, it can serve as a sort of welcome mat into the Westside neighborhood,” Wolken wrote in an email.

A welcome mat! That sounds so cozy. Here’s the rest of it:

“I’m very excited about the recent additions to the Westside neighborhood.  There are a lot of great people who live here who are excited to support local businesses and neighborhood improvement projects, such as the roundabout at Spruce, Scott, and Toole.  The folks I have heard from are supportive of the roundabout and feel it will make it a safer, more accessible intersection for walkers, bikers, and pedestrians.”

I called the Bike Doctor for the story ’cause they’re right on that corner there, and they have been for a while. I was curious to hear what those folks would say.

Eric Cline, an owner there, is skeptical it’ll be better: “I think it’s likely to anger and frustrate more people than it’s likely to please,” said Cline, who noted his perspective comes from a cyclist’s.

I had been hoping to get Wolken’s feedback, too, because she lives close to the crossing, and she’s talked about it. I called her and couldn’t get through because, as I later learned, she was on an airplane.

Instead of leaving a voicemail, I shot her an email asking for comment if she was available. She sent it after 10 p.m., I read it after 11 p.m., close to 11:30 p.m. I know better, but I emailed it to Cory anyway, probably while the presses were already running.

What else? I text him. To make sure he gets it. (Yes, one of *those* reporters … )

So get this. Cory is already off work and watching probably the best television series on earth, “The Wire.” Yet he pauses. He stops his evening to add part of Wolken’s comments to the online version of the story.

How great is that? It’s pretty great.

I might have ignored me.

– Keila Szpaller