Before even getting to the substance of the content, my first comment on the second draft of the Washington Street “Vision” was on the difficulty of actually reading it. Maybe it works better on one of those huge double-wide computer screens (anyone got one?), but on my MacBook Pro, the document is in a windowpane (is that the term?) embedded in a Planning Department web page, one quarter of which is taken up by other city links, leaving only limited space for viewing the document. You have to either scroll both horizontally and vertically to see even a single page at a readable type size (let alone a double-truck map or graphic), or click the ‘minus’ key to reduce it to where you can see the whole page, but in teeny type.

You can print out a copy to read, but because it’s in double page format, what you get on 8-1/2×11 paper is a vision test of how well you can read small type: 5pt type with 7pt leading. (For comparison, you’re probably used to reading 10 to 12pt type in newspapers and documents.) But if you want to read people’s comments (by clicking on the yellow circles), and comment online yourself, you have to go back to scrolling in the window.

There are 188 pages of Vision Plan and 228 pages of Zoning Code for Washington Street in Draft 2, with a one-month comment period with a deadline of March 13 for comments. Does the Planning Department really think this is a reasonable method and timeframe to get public input? Or is it designed to get people to give up in frustration?