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Monday, January 30, 2006

I-69 Fence Draws Graffiti

Sound Barrier Along I-69 - One Big Long Canvas for Graffiti

Over the next two days the legislature will be debating the merits of a plan to finance a range of transportation projects in Indiana. Very good economic models exist that measure how adding highway capacity through the addition of lanes or other means will increase productivity.

That is, there are some very good tools to make a cost/benefit analysis of highway improvements. Then there are highway expenditures that don't increase transportation productivity.

The I-69 fence is one of those projects. There may be other benefits advanced by its advocates but those benefits aren't easily calculated. The benefits may flow to private residential property owners. Then there are some losses that attach to certain commercial properties. (e.g. businesses located between the Lima Road and Coldwater Road interchanges).

The benefit to the residential properties are generally going to be related to the property's ultimate resale value. The commercial losses are of two types. One is a decrease in property value relative to the value of the property with the benefit of visibility. The other is the loss of commercial traffic which results in an ongoing loss of potential income.

And, of course, not all of the costs are included in the initial construction contract. There are costs of maintenance and reconstruction. (The hard surface of the fence has already been a factor in one fatality along I-69).

One of the other costs is illustrated above.

The photos were taken January 28, 2005 between the Illinois Road and Jefferson Boulevard/US 24 interchanges.

I, for one, would love it if they would put some of that "obtrusive" sound barrier between Coldwater road and the LSI building near the I-469 ramp. I would much rather see graffiti than listen to 18-wheelers traveling 70MPH at 1am.
amen, I would love to see that wall extended north of dupont where our houses are almost against the highway. It sounds like the trucks are rolling down the sidewalk.
Want a wall? Pay for it yourselves. If the benefit is to private property owners' resale value, then, obviously, this is an investment, and it is not the place of government to spray around tax dollars as investments. Let the free market determine the existence of such items. If it is truly necessary, then the private property owners should be free to form a partnership or corporation to fund such walls. But it is not the proper place of government to play games at indirect distribution of wealth.
Those walls are ugly and costly. The Interstate has been around for what, 30, 40 years. When you buy a house near/or by the Interstate, you know that's one thing you're going to have to deal with. I think those walls are just another government boondogle. I wonder who's cousin/in-law/friend owns the company that got the contract for those walls. Probably someone related to Kernan/Bayh/O'Bannon.....
Bolstering property values adds to the overall equity and viability of Indiana as a whole. I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but the Hoosier State can use all of the economic bracing it can get! Fighting against municipal/county/state projects just for the sake of waving the flag of fiscal conservatism can be short-sighted and self destructive. Don't get me wrong, conservatism is sweet, but a good fiscal conservative does more "due diligence" than just throwing stones at spending. INVESTMENTS do exist within the parameters of governmental spending, it is our job as constituents to scrutinize them objectively.
Grafitti on a school would only get you a suspension. You can't even get expelled for vandalism.
Off topic here. What happened to Fort Wayne Observed???>
I've been wondering the same thing. Something to do with posting the Fraser book, maybe? (That's just a baseless hypothesis, for the record -- I don't have any inside knowledge.)
The crankiness of the rapidly aging Hoosier population reared its ugly head when those god-awful walls were built.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. And intelligent young people will avoid bitter, dying communities like Fort Wayne because of the implicit messages that walls like ours send:

"Welcome to Indiana. Now don't bug me."
To Anonymous...

A. What does your comment about getting expelled from School for vandalism have to do with graffiti on sound barriers?

B. You are wrong, students CAN and WILL get expelled from school for this exact type of vandalism. See FWCS records for 1998 for examples.
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