May 10, 2005

Faits accomplis ou coup de main?

I live at the end of a street. To be more precise, I live on the last block of a many-blocks-long street. My house is the only residence on this last block. Across the street from us is rational drug design company. That same company purchased the complex that blocks the end of the street, then, in the parking lot that used to curve around behind our building, they built a corporate headquarters. All this is well and good, assuming I don't care to ask what's in my air and water (kidding. This land used to be a shipyard, they're probably cleaning it up) but for one small niggling thing. There's a small street that used to pass through along the back side of that second building, in a 'T' intersection where my street ends. One leg of the T is still there; you can make a right turn at the end of my street and come out a driveway-looking exit onto the next street over. Taking a left, however, now drops you into the parking lot and loading dock of the headquarters building.

I notice that there is a publicly-accessible walkway between the headquarters building and the blocking building, though - along where that street used to run. I asked an acquaintance about that, since she's been around town for years and years and served on city council. "Oh," she said, "that's because legally that's still a street. They can't block public access to it."

Excuse me?

Yep. Apparently it's still a street.

Well, not really - now it's a narrow pathway between their emergency generators and the loading dock door, which opens up into the pavilion between their two building entrances (no vehicles). But according to maps, it's a street.

In a related note, parking on my street is 'unregulated' because commuters from that company park there during the day, meaning no parking permit is required. This is a good deal for us, since we can park there during the evening when they've gone home without a problem. However it means that my friend, who is somewhat infirm, had trouble getting a spot in front of our house, because with her parking permit, she wasn't guaranteed one - and if she left her car there overnight, legally, she was liable for a storage infraction.

We also noticed that our street didn't really get cleaned very frequently. The street cleaning crew would come down the street and turn short of our block. When we inquired, they told us it was because our block was a 'private way.' No, we told them, it's not. Oh, they said, disinterested.

I should note, in the interest of fairness, that *** corp is, in fact, an excellent neighbor. I have no complaints at all about them from the POV of living next door. Quite the contrary; I commend them highly, speaking only as a property owner who has coexisted with them side by side. They've never done wrong by me, and their facilities crew are top-notch to deal with in the infrequent event of problems or during the inevitable issues that crop up ("Oh, the fence is going bad. Hm, shall we split the cost? Sounds good to me...") with real estate.

Recently, our town began to do a multi-year upgrade of its sewage and storm drain systems. Our street (along with every other street in the area) has been ripped up at least four times in the past couple of years. Finally, a week or so ago, it was paved nicely for 'the final time.'

I came home today and noticed a sign posted at the entrance to our block, in official town Construction Orange, on a signpost embedded in the new tarmac.

PRIVATE ROAD
***** CORP ACCESS ONLY

Fucking excuse me?

Don't think so. I pay taxes for that street. I live on that street. I have had to endure it being paved four times, had to endure that process breaking my condo's water lines, had to deal with it not being cleaned, had to petition to have town parking signs put up on it just so the cleaning crews and garbage pickup crew wouldn't bypass it.

Nice try.

Couldn't get the signpost out of the tarmac all the way (it's at a 45-degree angle) but a crescent wrench got the sign right off there. I left it leaning against the building. Wouldn't want to be accused of stealing.

Posted by jbz at May 10, 2005 11:12 PM | TrackBack

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