Sep 4, 2016

Just fix it 2!

This makes me outrages!

The upcoming November will be the 2 year anniversary of Väven, the center for cultural arts located in the city center at the Umeå River waterfront. This is a building questioned by many during the long process before the decision making it a reality, as well as meanwhile it was built. One of the arguments against it was of course money, another that it wouldn’t be central enough. 

Now, Umeå is a place of about 120 000 people, so a good size small city. It’s pretty spread out, as land is not something we are lacking here on the 64th latitude. The city center though, is quite compact, 7 blocks x 6 blocks. And the core of it 3 blocks x 2 blocks. In fact, if your business isn’t located around Rådhustorget (the City Hall Square) right in the heart of those 3x2 blocks, you’r kind of out, that’s how narrow-minded we are.

Now, Väven is located one block south of Rådhustorget. Too far away according to many. We wouldn’t find our way there. This is ridiculous of course. And proven wrong too. The new city library in Väven is well frequented. Yet, to some, Väven really is far away.

If you have trouble walking, one or two blocks can be as insuperable as a Mount Rainier hike. Therefore, of course, you need a bus line passing and bus stops at the entrances. Or at least at one of the four entrances. But that is not happening!!!

To people who were skeptical about the accessibility of Väven I was - extremely confident - arguing that there naturally would be buses. Before Väven this wasn’t a bus route so if you are lacking ability of mind altering images, I can understand the worries. But when moving the city library and adding on new community space, of course you would need and want to make it available to everyone. That’s my take on it.

Well, it turned out I was wrong. The reason? The streets are too steep!

At this information… I don’t even know where to start…

First, this is not Seattle or San Fransisco. This is Umeå. A city flat like a football field. Yes, the streets west and east of Väven are a slope (actually the location of Väven is a lot like Beneroya Hall, the concert hall in downtown Seattle). But steep?!?!

Second, was this unknown facts at the development?!?!

Third, Umeå is widely known for being a great bus city, the public transport system is a pride. How on earth can it not be a given to make a route to this award winning new landmark?!?!

Fourth, how is it that the City is not interested in making a much questioned multi million investment containing the new city library and city subsidized movie theaters available and accessible to everyone?!?!

There is a political decision securing public transport to Väven. Since that hasn’t yet happened, the Left Party in Umeå has demanded the City to look in to the issue and investigate how to make it a reality. This week the City Council dismissed the proposition.

I don’t have words. Beside the fact that Storgatan and Strandgatan, the streets embracing the north and south of Väven are as flat as the rest of Umeå (or the north-south surface streets of downtown Seattle), a flat NO from the City in this matter is so damned stupid it makes me want to gather the crowds, paint signs and march downtown Umeå in loud protests. I am dumbfounded, but my heart is raising! Just fix it!

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