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Smart System Proposal

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MUSA Council
MUSA Council

Joined: May 15 2008
Status: Offline
Points: 7008
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Smart System Proposal
    Posted: Jan 27 2019 at 11:03am
"Middletown could install a ‘smart city’ network in its downtown. What would that mean?"

Middletown will consider adding a technology network to its downtown that would make it more responsive to its citizens’ and visitors’ needs while also helping officials make decisions about those areas from data they collect."

"Such “smart cities” initiatives have started in places like Monroe, Dayton, Fairborn, Cincinnati and Columbus. The nodes in the system can help cities communicate with visitors about things like open parking or even help police determine the direction of gunshot reports"

But downtown Middletown isn't Fairborn, Columbus or Cincinnati as to downtown activity. At any given time, one can go downtown and find a parking space here. Columbus, Cincinnati and Fairborn, with Wright-Patt in it's backyard, is more congested. Apples and oranges comparison IMO.
Perhaps this new system will help the police in gunshot direction. That may be feasible.

"The data gathered in these initiatives can be used for public safety, infrastructure, and public works. In short, an app on a user’s smart phone would connect to a node to send and receive data."

Is this really needed? How often would this be used?

"For Middletown, O’Donnell and Kellams outlined a proposal that would deploy 50 nodes in the proposed area that would have a benchmark cost between $1 million to $1.5 million for equipment, construction installation, and commissioning and maintenance."

A lot of money for another system that may or may not be needed for a town of this size and for a downtown area that is lacking in normal activity and interest. Not sure if the investment in a million+ is worth the outcome or reward. Would this die on the vine in a few years and the city would be out another million dollars?

"City officials are also interested in possibly expanding the area to include Smith Park and the Middletown Regional Airport because they are venues that attract large community events."

How about trying it in the downtown area first before thinking about expanding the service. And what is there it learn about large community events that hasn't been learned after all these years? A tad bit antzy, aren't we?

"Much of these initiatives are modest such as traffic cameras and traffic signal coordination and other public safety or public works applications. Others offer free wi-fi services in specific areas of the city or public buildings"

Already have signal coordination. Already tried cameras for revenue purposes in the past. That was illegal. Would there be that many people using wi-fi services in the downtown area where this is being proposed to justify the cost? Or will we spend a million bucks for fifty people to benefit?

"Councilwoman Ami Vitori said Cincinnati Bell already has three nodes covering four blocks in the downtown area and that places such as Miami University Middletown and St. John XXIII Elementary School already have fiberoptic connections."

And what have the Cincinnati Bell nodes done for the downtown area to date? Who uses this service and how many people benefit from this? Is this costing the city any money?

"Some cities have used this to manage their stadium infrastructure to help people have the best fan experience and utilize their smart phones in a confined area with huge numbers of people. O’Donnell said many stadium venues in soccer’s English Premier League are being retrofitted with this technology because of fan experience and the ongoing trend of two-way data streaming from mobile devices."

We have Barnitz Stadium here and high school football and soccer. We are not the big time. Sitting in the stands, are there really that many people using their smart phones to "enhance their game experiences" or are they just watching the action on the field? Would you say there are "confined areas" or "huge numbers of people" at any given high school or soccer game here in town? The venues this guy is talking about are on a professional level with professional level crowds on hand, not high school game crowds.

"Cincinnati has multiple initiatives deployed such as a communications network along the downtown Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar route which established for communciations networks for public citizen wi-fi access as well as citizen usage/traffic data."

But this isn't Cincinnati and this city does not need the communications networks that a larger city needs.

"Dayton and Fairborn use these systems in conjunction with their city apps users download to their smartphones or if people opt to use the city’s public wi-fi system. This enables cities to collect data on in their city and can gauge various infrastructure needs based on actual, real time usage."

Is this city that large that we can't monitor this without this new system? This isn't Dayton either. Is collecting infrastructure data in this city that insurmountable that we need this?

"Kellams said Fairborn used their system to assist local retailers to adjust their business hours based on traffic counts that was collected. Dayton has used a similar system to assist with traffic management."

Traffic counts in Middletown? The traffic isn't that overwhelming that it needs to be monitored that closely and the business owners in this town already know when peak business times are. They know they can just look out of the window (or monitor foot traffic) to adjust business hours based on traffic counts. The traffic in this city is not so overwhelming as to warrant this scrutiny is it?

"“We agree that this is a very exciting project for the City of Middletown, and think it can position Middletown well for its future,” O’Donnell said."

Well certainly O'Donnell thinks it's exciting for Middletown. He is in the business of selling this million dollar system and comes natural for him to say that it "positions Middletown well for the future".......but does it really????

Is this a good fit for the type of town we have or the amount of activity that we have in this city? This is a lazy, laid back town compared to larger cities. The amount of activity here pales in comparison to larger towns. The sidewalks roll up at 9PM here. No need to pretend we are a vibrant active city that attracts people from miles around. That ended decades ago. We are a sleepy quiet little blue collar town now with very little going on in the way of activity after suppertime. This new proposal will do little to change that and will cost the city a million+ to find that out if they decide to proceed. Think long and hard before you waste more money folks. If money is burning a hole in your pocket, a million bucks could be spent in a more fruitful way and benefit many more people along the way. JMO

I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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buddhalite View Drop Down
MUSA Citizen
MUSA Citizen

Joined: May 11 2017
Location: Middletown
Status: Offline
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote buddhalite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 27 2019 at 9:02pm
The whole part here that bothers me is....."positions Middletown well for the future"

The problem is that this city and its leaders can't even define what that is!

All solutions in their minds lead to downtown.  


The roads don't.
Commerce doesn't.
Restaurants don't - unless you are a bar or your main source of revenue is alcohol sales.

And therein lies the issue.  I'll bet that if our fair city spends 1.5M of our HARD EARNED TAX DOLLARS on this here fancy dancy new fangled shmangled technology - that it will be capable of doing some pretty cool things.

Will said technology actually improve foot traffic?  No.
Will said technology bring new business downtown? No.
Will said technology expand the hours in which our downtown experiences commerical activity?  No. (Read the article)
Will said technology help the police track the sound of gunshots?  Yes.  GOD HELP US that this is necessary in a civilized area!

The future of this city lies at the gates of the I-75 corridor.  Look at every community in the corridor between Dayton and Cincinnati and tell me it's not true.

Want to spend 1.5M on something - how about recruiting business to fill all that land out there on I-75 and fill the empty mall spaces and get commerce rolling again in our city?

I was in Monroe today.  I sat and watched how even with the 'improved' bridge they built and all how their lanes to get on 75S were BACKED UP with a good 100 vehicles or more with every light cycle....drove home to Middletown to find 3-4 cars at ours.  Dead.

The city council is powerless.  I've had one of our elected tell me flat out that they were told by some lawyer who came in at a meeting and told them they have no say in anything - all they can do is vote up or down.  (Of course, voting down or even abstaining gets such ugly looks from the Mayor and the Manager when it is done and then there's that pregnant pause where you know they're thinking, "What do we do now?" - because they've never seen such a thing before...)

We need to scrap this current charter that handcuffs our elected officials to an UNELECTED official who is the Grand Poo-Bah of the City and get back to a strong mayor system where our elected officials actually conduct some business.

I'll bet if we did that - there'd be a mass exodus out of One Donham Albatross and we might just see some people stand up in our community and lead.  Right now there is not one incentive for ANYONE to run for ANY council seat.

Well - maybe one - there's three seats up for grabs this time...but it would have to be a power coup and it would take and AWFUL lot of money to overcome this monopoly.

Sad.  It really is sad.  I fully expect that our council will allow our manager to recklessly spend this $1.5M dollars like it's rainwater - and in 6 months - no one will be using it.  Except maybe that whole gunshot thing - but that grim reality saddens me to my deepest core.
"Every government intervention [in the marketplace] creates unintended consequences, which lead to calls for further government interventions." -Ludwig van Mises
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