Ginger Nelson’s campaign for Amarillo mayor sent us an item we received in the mail today.
It was a mailer containing a list of some of her top priorities if she wins the mayor’s race on May 6. One of them jumped right off the page; it stuck out like an orange “Road Work Ahead” sign — if you get my drift and I am sure you do.
Nelson pledges to “negotiate an enforceable maintenance agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to clean up and improve curb appeal along I-40 andI-27.”
Can I hear an “Amen!”?
Interstate right-of-way curb appeal has been a recurring theme of this blog.
My take on it? The freeway interchange stinks! It looks like hell. TxDOT did a lousy job of landscaping it and there’s been next to zero upkeep on it since the highway department rebuilt the interchange more than a decade ago. I-40 in either direction from the interchange looks shabby as well, as does I-27 southbound toward Loop 335/Hollywood Road.
Thousands of motorists pass through the interchange daily and many of them are passing through, perhaps never to see Amarillo ever again. I’ve long believed that it is important to at least present something of an attractive appearance to those passing through.
That’s not what pass-through motorists are getting when they zip through our city.
How does the mayor “negotiate an enforceable maintenance agreement” with TxDOT? Surely the mayor can find some common ground that somehow splits the cost between the city and the state agency. How about placing a phone call to our neighbors in, say, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City? Have you seen the interchanges in those cities?
I get that improved curb appeal doesn’t necessarily provide for better service to our city. We still have to pay for cops, firefighters, water and sewer service and trash pickup; we still need street lights that work properly and we need parks where we and our children and grandchildren can relax safely.
Interstate highway appearance, though, does matter at some level.
It matters to me, at least. I’d bet real money it matters to other Amarillo residents, too.
The rest of Nelson’s campaign mailer today contained routine boiler plate stuff: creating jobs and cutting red tape. Who doesn’t support all of that?
Improving the looks of this city to those who blast through ought to take a little higher place on the city’s political pecking order.
To that end, I wish Ginger Nelson well in that effort if she becomes our next mayor.