Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Queen of Candlewood

The rich are different from you and me. They have more money, but they also have an irritating sense of entitlement to whatever they want and a callous disregard for the concerns of others. This was demonstrated once again this week during the Fayetteville street committee meeting to hear citizen comments about bike lanes on Crossover Road.

Eva Madison, president of the Candlewood Property Owners’ Association, said the current design will have a negative impact on the entrance to the exclusive subdivision and the wealthy residents would like to see the proposal for bicycle lanes abolished. Developers spent more than $ 200,000 to make the entrance look impressive, and the residents have spent another $50,000 to maintain it, she said. With the bicycle lanes in the design, the entrance will have to be adjusted, she said, and replaced with a design much less to their taste.

The Candlewood property owners are very opposed to bike lanes, she said, and they find the idea unrealistic. Madison said the bike lanes were an "unnecessary expense" given the $860,000 cost and the lack of bicyclists using the busy street. “How many people actually use bike lanes,” she said with a tone of disdain. “It’s expensive, and the money could be put to a better use.”

There are houses in Candlewood on the market for more that $900,000, so the idea of a waste of money might be relative, especially to people who drop a quarter million dollars on an entrance to their exclusive neighborhood. As Josh Thompson and Jerry Bailey explained, it is too dangerous to ride bicycles on Crossover without bike lanes, but adding them would allow cyclists to use that north-south route without as much fear from being hit by fast-moving Hummers and Escalades roaring out of Candlewood.

The Street Committee supported the construction of bike lanes, 3-1, with Alderman Bobby Ferrell voting against them. The final decision rests with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, and Eva Madison’s mother is State Senator Sue Madison.

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