Opinion: Clint’s Clips: Frazier Avenue has gone from description of one nightmare to another

Staff Photo By Ricky Young / This was the scene on Frazier Avenue last weekend while Chattanooga police investigated a two-vehicle crash in which two pedestrians were killed and one seriously injured.
Staff Photo By Ricky Young / This was the scene on Frazier Avenue last weekend while Chattanooga police investigated a two-vehicle crash in which two pedestrians were killed and one seriously injured.

Reconsidering Frazier?

Seven years after shelving the idea to narrow Frazier Avenue to two lanes and install bike lanes, the city is rethinking the proposal after a crash killed two pedestrians and left one in serious condition last weekend.

But in 2016, Chattanooga, which went ahead with most street narrowing despite users' complaints, stepped back.

"For those that didn't believe we were really listening," said then-city transportation director Blythe Bailey, "this may restore some faith in city government."

At the time, the city's transportation consultant, Alta Planning and Design, said Frazier Avenue with two lanes would still be within Federal Highway Administration guidelines for traffic volume, but would be on the "higher end." Of course, the growth of the city means that "higher end" now is even higher.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga mayor, council members, residents respond to crash that killed two pedestrians on Frazier Avenue)

It also said the intersection of Cherokee Boulevard, Market Street and Frazier Avenue would be the most complicated intersection in the area "due to its high volume during the peak hour."

Business owners at the time called the proposal "a nightmare" and "a dumb idea."

Time well tell if people have changed their tune.

(READ MORE: Police: Driver in deadly Frazier Avenue crash was aggressive, fighting first responders)

Where you live may matter

You might have noticed a news story earlier this week that said U.S. life expectancy rose last year but had not yet reached where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control said the rise in 2022 moved life expectancy to 77 years, 6 months — about where it was two decades ago. Until about a decade ago, the life expectancy number rose a little bit each year. But the trend flattened, and in some years declined. And then the pandemic lowered it from 78 years, 10 months in 2019 to 76 years, 5 months in 2021.

But we're not all the same, right? What the life expectancy is in Chattanooga is not the same as in New York City, San Francisco, or Brattleboro, Vermont.

Five years ago, The Sycamore Institute calculated a map of life expectancy in Tennessee that even delved as far as census tracts. The map has a few gaps, but in Hamilton County it showed life expectancy ranging from 66.3 years in Census Tract 16 (Westside, including College Hill Courts) to 84.9 in Census Tract 112.03 (East Brainerd/Collegedale/Apison). That's 18.6 years' difference. Of course moving from Census Tract 16 to Census Tract 112.03 is easier said than done. Stay healthy out there.

EV uh-ohs

President Joe Biden's requirement of having at least 54% of all new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030 and as many as two out of every three by 2032 got a double whammy of bad news this week.

Following information that GM and Ford are cutting back on projections of electric vehicle (EV) sales and and lowering production targets for the cars and batteries, a coalition of nearly 4,000 auto dealers sent a letter to the president explaining why his mandates are unworkable.

They said "the supply of unsold [electric vehicles] is surging, as they are not selling nearly as fast as they are arriving at our dealerships — even with deep price cuts, manufacturer incentives, and generous government incentives."

But that wasn't all.

In a rush to get the EVs to market to satisfy what they believed would be a government-directed surge of sales, manufacturers may have skipped on efforts to make sure all parts worked together well and would last. We say that because a survey out this week by Consumer Reports indicates EVs have been far less reliable than vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines.

The comparison wasn't close, either. The survey said 2021-2023 EV models experienced nearly 80% more problems — battery and charging systems, especially, but also fit and finish — than gasoline-powered vehicles.

If a Republican is elected president in 2024, all of Biden's EV mandates will be wiped out, but in the meantime some dealers may have to do some convincing to get people to bite.

'I'm from the government ...'

We'll leave you this week with another example of the tone deafness of the Biden administration.

One of the reasons the country is so down on President Joe Biden is because of the intrusive hand of the federal government in too many aspects of our lives. But Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is apparently oblivious.

In a speech earlier this month to western state governors, he said, "I think it was President [Ronald] Reagan who said, 'We're from the government. We're here to help.'"

The Republican Reagan, no fan of federal government intrusion, had a completely different thought when he made his observation during a 1986 news conference about agricultural policies.

"I've always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

Even the left-leaning fact-checker website Snopes couldn't help but conclude: "Political pundits accused [Cardona] of 'butchering' or 'misappropriating' the quote, which is fair to say he did."

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