Our roads need to be repaired!
Original post made by Diana Diamond on Oct 20, 2006
Just driving through town daily, I know our roads are bad and in need of much repair, but I had not realized how far behind we were in paying for repairs. The $28.7 million figure is a huge amount of money, especially since the city talks about budgeting a mere $2 million a year for road repairs. At that rate of spending, we will never catch up.
For the past 10 years, residents have been complaining about the condition of our roads. In fact, a city survey reported that more than half the residents think their roads are in "poor" (18 percent) to "fair" (34 percent) condition. Given that residents rated other items in the city much higher, Erickson decided to conduct a study to see why the public perceived the roads were so bad.
Her conclusion: The roads have been neglected for years. Either the money slated for repairs was spent on other things, and/or the Public Works Department's request for more money was not addressed.
It's now seven months since Erickson's report, and there's no plan in sight yet as to what the city can do to come up with the money. City Manager Frank Benest and Director of Administrative Services Carl Yeats presented a report to the City Council's Finance Committee Tuesday night, saying not only does the city need money for street repairs, but it also now needs about $3 to $5 million in new long-term spending for retiree health costs, as well as a lot for building repairs. And the city is also facing a potential loss in utilities tax revenues.
City Manager Frank Benest suggested the city find new ways to get more money in, such as asking residents to partly finance sidewalk repairs, or charging a development impact fee for roads, boosting hotel taxes, or charging more for city classes, but none of these will bring in a lot of money.
The Finance Committee instead told Benest to go back and start looking for some real cuts in this city, including possible cuts in city services. A big hooray for the committee!
We don't have much choice left.
I don't know what the solution is, but I know some of us have been waiting for repairs for years. In the meantime our roads are getting progressively worse, particularly in old Palo Alto. We already are paying for these bad roads through the daily wear and tear on our cars. How much does an alignment cost?
on Oct 20, 2006 at 10:05 pm
"Bryant the Bicycle Boulevard" is quite a challenge
for us people on narrow two wheels! That stretch
between Embarcadero and Oregon really needs attention.
on Oct 21, 2006 at 11:33 am
It's about time to look at replacing the Public Works Director. Just observe a Public Works operation. Most of the people are standing around, and it takes several days to do a project that should be done in hours. A good portion of the workers time each day is spent going back and forth to the Service center on East Bayshore. The street repairs are not coordinated with the utilities repairs so we have several instances where a street is resurfaced and then shortly thereafter torn up for utility repairs. We wasted the street repair money for several years by not doing the work that should be routinely done. If we don't change the management, the roads will continue to get worse. Additional money given to the present management will be continued to be used inefficiently.
on Oct 21, 2006 at 3:04 pm
The council a few weeks ago voted the city employees an increase in benefits & salary; that was money that could have been used to fund more infrastructure needs - road repairs, new police station, library overhaul. I'm disapointed that the most recently elected council members like Klein, who campaigned on the issue of city management didn't make a stand on this.