banner1gif.gif

The Talk of the Town

In spring, when the world is sensually wonderful —the budding trees, the chirping birds, the burgeoning wildlife — Mother Nature beckons us outdoors. But no sooner than we are outside taking in all the splendor do we find ourselves: not being able to safely cross a downtown street, noticing the piles of garbage carelessly tossed outside many commercial buildings, tripping over yet another sidewalk in poor repair.

 

By Tom McDermott and Robin Jovanovich

 

In spring, when the world is sensually wonderful —the budding trees, the chirping birds, the burgeoning wildlife — Mother Nature beckons us outdoors. But no sooner than we are outside taking in all the splendor do we find ourselves: not being able to safely cross a downtown street, noticing the piles of garbage carelessly tossed outside many commercial buildings, tripping over yet another sidewalk in poor repair.

 

So we decided to take our complaints and concerns to the top; we called City Manager Marcus Serrano and made a date to walk the town and drive through a few neighborhoods last week.

 

As we walked downtown, we pointed to the trash receptacle next to the pay station in Parking Lot 2 that was, per usual, overflowing; the newspaper boxes filled with as many soda cans as newsprint; the jersey barriers that remain along Theodore Fremd Avenue, long after the major floods; the busy intersection of Theodore Fremd, Purdy Avenue and Purchase Street, which is difficult for pedestrians to cross safely because of a lack of a flashing walk or don’t walk sign.

 

The section of Station Plaza by McCullough Place is in dire need of repaving, and there is no safe or obvious place for commuters to walk from the train to their parked car or a waiting car.

 

While the City Manager was safely buckled in the passenger seat, we asked him where the City planned to spend the budgeted $1 million for road repair, and how the Sidewalk Replacement Program was going? According to the City website, there is a backlog of over $10 million in repairs to our 52 miles of roads. (Full disclosure: one of the authors lives on Milton Road in a stretch that received the lowest condition rating in the 2014 Pavement Management Study.)

 

Regarding sidewalks, the empirical evidence is that most homeowners have decided not to repair theirs, even though it is their responsibility and the City is willing to do the work and bill the homeowner. Meanwhile, if you want to report a broken sidewalk, call DPW at 967-7464.

 

We were hoping to pass the usual complement of idling vehicles, typically 20 in a municipal parking lot or on a street in the Central Business District, but the idlers were all out walking on that beautiful spring day.

 

Mr. Serrano shared the fact that communication with the MTA is irregular, making improvements like fencing, signage and yellow lane markers hard to come by.

 

Passing the RowAmerica facility next to the Boat Basin, the City Manager asked if we’d heard complaints about the early morning and late afternoon traffic tie-ups at the increasingly popular facility. (Indeed. The situation has reached a neighborhood tipping point, as noted in this week’s Police Blotter.)

 

While we didn’t come away feeling that our town would be newly paved the next morning — or the following year — we are pleased to report that the City Manager listened patiently. And before we went our separate ways, he asked us to send him a list of all the things we’d talked about, especially our pressing concerns. We’re working on it.

 


Add comment


Security code
Refresh