Julia Glanz: A greater story to tell in city roundabout

Salisbury City Administrator Julia Glanz gave the following address at the ribbon-cutting held Thursday for the new traffic circle in Downtown Salisbury. — Editor.

Good morning, everyone! Thank you all for taking a few moments out of your day to join us – whether that’s here, in person, or online – we’re grateful to have you with us as we celebrate the completion of a project which has been a textbook example of sound planning and management from day one.

Whether you call it a roundabout or a traffic circle, the structure behind me is utilitarian in that it provides a smoother flow of traffic, easing backups along Carroll Street, Mill Street and Riverside Drive.

It is a functional piece of the cityscape, and could have been nothing more than that. But there’s a greater story to tell. 

We stand here today because a generation of Salisburians looked around at long-neglected, aging infrastructure and said, “We owe it to our children to fix these things.”

Julia Glanz.

They looked around and saw intersections which, though adequate in years past, were now clogged with frustrated commuters, and they said, “We owe it to our citizens to improve these throughways.”

And so, they set about crafting a long-term plan to re-shape our city, with emphasis on this, our urban core. They envisioned a more beautiful and pedestrian-friendly Main Street. They envisioned tree-lined boulevards which would invite travelers into our Downtown, rather than steering them around it as had been the case for so many years before.

And they envisioned a traffic circle at this, the site of the former four-way intersection of Carroll, Mill, Riverside and Camden – an intersection which had one of the highest rates of traffic accidents in the entire city, and one which performed at a failing level by State Highway Administration standards.

They envisioned solutions which would someday be implemented – little did any of us know that someday would arrive on and around the same day.

Yes, traveling through the heart of our city has been more of a challenge over the past couple of years, but the kind of work being undertaken here is the sort which happens on timelines which are influenced by so many complex factors – bids being submitted and accepted, asphalt plants being open, contractors balancing multiple jobs, municipal funding … it can be, and in our case is, a reality that multiple projects come online at once, leading to frustrations and inconvenience.

But in our case, there is a bit of an unexpected twist which has made this roundabout something truly special.

As part of the Main Street overhaul, the Adkins Memorial had to be removed to allow for reopening of the street, and the construction of sidewalks which are up to modern code. By having these two projects underway simultaneously, we were able, at the direction of our Mayor, Jake Day, to give the memorial a new, more prominent and more deserving home.

Rather than mothball it, the obelisk you see behind me is now the focal point of what I believe is a truly iconic piece of our landscape.

Where once stood rusted poles adorned with sagging streetlights, there is now a visual so beautiful, so appropriate, so perfect for this location.

It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful things ever constructed in Salisbury, and I am honored and excited, on behalf of Mayor Day, to stand with our Director of Infrastructure and Development Amanda Pollack, and our Contractor George & Lynch, to cut the ribbon and officially welcome all of Salisbury to your new Riverside Circle! Congratulations!

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