Monday, September 29, 2014

Ballard Administration Blames Council For Failure To Fix Pothole-Riddled Streets

I'm not sure why Mayor Greg Ballard needs so many high-paid, full-time people being paid at taxpayers' expense to serve as spokespersons for him. The Indianapolis Star pretty much writes press releases for his administration on a daily basis and calls them news stories. City beat reporter John Tuohy has a story explaining why so many streets riddled with potholes from last winter's harsh weather remain unrepaired despite the council approving $24 million for emergency repairs last spring. In short, it's all the council's fault.
This summer’s rocky ride on pothole-strewn streets could get even bumpier next year.
Streets were ravaged by the record-breaking sub-zero weather last winter. The cold froze the ground for long periods, and when it thawed, water seeped under surfaces, causing them to fall apart.
City officials said Wednesday that none of the “worst of the worst” streets targeted for repairs with $24 million in emergency funding has been fixed yet. And only about 15 percent to 20 percent could be revamped before the construction season ends.
That means yawning, leftover potholes and those that have been patched could resemble lunar craters when spring rolls around next year.
Blame it on the sometimes slow wheels of the legislative process and a bit of politics.
“There is no way to get 200 lane miles resurfaced in one month,” said Stephanie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works. “All things being perfect, we expected to get 15 to 20 percent done.” . . .
Republican Mayor Greg Ballard’s office said the council moved too slowly to approve the 200 lane miles of repairs to get all the roads done this year.
“They waited for months to pass the funding, so late in the construction season, that DPW can’t guarantee they’ll get them all fixed,” said mayoral spokesman Marc Lotter. “The council waited while playing games with the money.” . . .
Of the streets targeted with the $24 million, contractors have been hired to repair just four stretches so far, with the other 125 segments expected to be bid out by Oct. 16.
The department has received guarantees that the first four stretches will be completed by year’s end. They are:
• Washington Street from Southeastern Avenue to Emerson Avenue. 
• Westfield Boulevard from Meridian Lane to Kessler Boulevard East Drive.
• Westfield Boulevard from 75th to 79th streets.
• Kessler Boulevard from Illinois Street to Allisonville Road.
Department Director Lori Miser said council members seemed to underestimate how long it takes to line up firms for construction projects — a process that can take four to six months . . .
One of the biggest complaints I've heard is that the City has repaved certain streets repeatedly over the years that weren't in need of repaving work at all while ignoring streets that have received nothing but patchwork repairs for more than a decade. Leah Orr is quoted in the story as asking why North Alabama Street near downtown was repaved yet again despite being in relatively good shape. Miser told Touhy that it was scheduled as part of DPW's regular maintenance plan and was not included in the emergency repair list. That should tell you everything you need to know. If you live on a street that hasn't been repaved for a very long time, it's not because the City lacked money for the repairs; it's because the administration had other spending priorities. When the administration spent the hundreds of millions in Rebuild Indy money like drunken sailors, it made sure that every street or sidewalk that was anywhere near the downtown area was repaved or rebuilt for the umpteenth time just to impress the out-of-town folks coming into town for the Super Bowl.

If someone wanted to complain about something, they should be complaining about the piss-poor job the contractors hired by the city to perform the repaving work do. I don't know how many times I've noticed a newly-paved street have standing water every time it rains because the contractor didn't take the time to do the work right so water could drain into the storm water drains, which causes the pavement to deteriorate more quickly. As long as the contractors are making their pro-rata share of contributions to the mayor's campaign committee, the contracts will keep flowing regardless of how poorly they perform their work.


C. Roger Csee said...

Ballard then continued, "The first I heard of it was, just like you, when I read it in the newspaper."

Anonymous said...

I was in Minneapolis-St. Paul recently, and I noticed how their streets were in really great shape, despite having a much worse Winter, every year, than Indianapolis.

Here's the difference between Minnesota and Indianapolis: When Minnesota gets a dollar in the public treasury, the government considers "What does the public need this dollar used for?"

In Indianapolis, when a dollar lands in the treasury, the government thinks "How can I squirrel this dollar out the back door and into an account controlled by my cartel?"

Every dollar Indianapolis spends on a street repair or a park is a dollar that can't be given to the power elite. Sports, police, hotels, etc., all have a very vocal and powerful hand dipping into the City's till.

A million small voices driving on embarrassing and dangerous roads is a concerns that's easily managed, because Hoosiers are raised to be submissive and non-demanding. In most cases, Hoosiers frankly don't know good from bad and have never been anywhere else to learn how a real city runs. They simply don't know enough to complain, and their self-destructive upbringing trained them to be meek and mild.

Indianapolis is perhaps America's greatest example of government-for-profit.

Indianapolis will do only the bare minimum maintenance necessary to keep the City functioning, because it doesn't make anyone rich keeping your street in good repair and repaved every few years.

Anonymous said...

Get this: the little teeny College Avenue bridge over Williams Creek around 7700 N. College has been closed for over six months for replacement.

We all hoped the replacement would be sufficient to handle College Avenue traffic and would have at least the four lanes necessary to handle the flow of a major North-South street, but they replaced it with another teeny, tiny two-lane bridge that still isn't open.

How does it take over six months to put in a teeny, tiny bridge over a waterway you can't drown in?

Given that Indianapolis has no North-South Interstate running right up Meridian to Carmel, like it should, everyone in Indy has to take surface streets to get from the North Side to Downtown.

What incompetence would leave one of these major routes to Downtown as a teeny, tiny two-lane bridge, instead of having the foresight to use the bridge repair as an opportunity to widen the road to four lanes, plus a center turn lane, all the way from 62nd to 96th?

The Ballard Administration is dangerous, stupid and incompetent.

Anonymous said...

How many streets could have been repaired if they did not waste all of that money on the Frank Straub Regional Operations Center?

How many streets could have been repaired if the city didn't waste money on the Greg Ballard Cricket Field and Neighborhood Well Draining????

How many streets could have been repaired if they didn't waste money on bike lanes that the traveling public hates?

Anonymous said...

Like Greg Ballard, I attended the old Cathedral High School under the Brothers of the Holy Cross. I attended class, I received instruction on how to critically think, and I learned how to be a real producer in the civil society.

After almost eight years of Ballard deceit, I really do have to wonder where in the hell Greg was during HIS years at Cathedral High School. He must have left the building after the first morning bells and the morning announcement Br. Douglas might have made.

Honest, I am really not intending to be hurtful...but anyone with just one functioning brain cell can see what a complete and utter failure this guy has been as mayor of a city whose non-urban core areas become more dilapidated and unattractive and dangerous by the day.

Unless you are a pay to play insider and a "GRAND" old party friend.... you'd say the ex-marine been a smashing success.

Anonymous said...

Admittedly off-topic but I can't erase this from my mind: ...Candidates I noted who took the time to visit (yeah, and campaign too) at the Saturday Oct. 27 AIDS Walk --> a candidate for Secretary of State, a candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis, and a City County Councilor hoping to retain a seat.

All Democrats. No Republicans far as I could tell. Not one- as far as I noted and I was there from about 3:15 pm to table breakdown. Wasted opportunity to be among everyday people.

Maybe the "R's" tried to drive down but got flat tires from the poor pavements.... I'm just saying....

Anonymous said...

The City and State intentionally avoided using the grade of asphalt for repairs to save money...A whistle blower produced results many times over the last ten years that pay to play buddies got the contracts for lower grade asphalt to save money...

Anonymous said...

The administration wants everyone to believe the roads targeted for "emergency repairs" suddenly went to hell in one winter season. Anyone who's driven these roads knows they've been terrible for years. The inability to get these projects out to bid indicates the city is doing a poor job of planning ahead and managing its needs. Asphalt plants shut down for winter in early November so if construction isn't already underway don't expect improvements until 2015 or later.

DPW allegedly has a $1.5B list of infrastructure projects. The administration is still holding tens of millions in the Rebuild Indy fund, in addition to tens of millions in City and federal matching funds typically spent on road work in this city every year. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of road work happening this year - and all we hear is how the Council is holding up the Mayor's precious Rebuild Indy II by not borrowing another $100M++ over 30 years to do more road work. I've heard the administration is holding this year's funds hostage to try to force the council to go ahead with RBI2. And who the hell takes a 30 year loan to pay for basic annual needs? Road and bridge infrastructure doesn't all last 30 years, especially the way this city's spends money. Roads paved on Ballard's watch are already falling apart - why haven't Democrats pounced on this?!? Thank half assed design and lacking inspection during DPW's "blow and go" project approach that allows contractors to do whatever the hell they want. What happens? The same crony contractors get to redo the work a few years later!

Anonymous said...

The road pavement / repair / build projects are a scandal that needs to be exposed. I've point out failures I see constantly to them, but I can't follow every project they do, so invariably they get away with it.

The citizens have to inspect our own roads, because no one else is doing it. The DPW people are paper pushers, pushing money out the door for haphazard work.

Guest said...

They say they really need to spend that money on Pre-K instead.

Gary R. Welsh said...

When I worked for the Illinois legislature, a freshman legislator had a great idea to mandate that IDOT use an asphalt grade different than what the state was using to pave roads that was demonstrated to last much longer as a cost-saving move. He got paid a visit by Bill Cellini, the lobbyist for the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association, and educated on how things were in Illinois. His bill never got a hearing. Cellini later did time in the Terre Haute federal prison for his role in helping the Blagojevich administration shake down a pension fund manager for a share of the state teacher's retirement fund portfolio.

Flogger said...

Mayor Blowhole on one of his many junkets over seas should have asked why streets and roads in Europe are such good shape compared to Indianapolis.

Here in Indy we have at least two forces at work. One, if it is downtown street for the most part it is by Indy Standards in good shape. Two, move out of downtown and the quality rapidly deteriorates. The roads outside of down town are patched with what appears to be a mixture of melted chocolate and some gravel. Drive west on 10th street from White River Parkway as an example or MLK Drive north of 10th Street.

Anonymous said...

Good call on the mayor/roads/junkets.

Let's be honest,Mayor McBurger & Cheese isn't genuinely inquisitive. Does he have a functioning brain? I'd be surprised if he can even wipe his own ass without the help and direction of the DT Mafia. He just wanted to be mayor so he could be treated like a rockstar-- instead of the impotent hilljack he seems to really be.

Btw,the roads in Louisville and Cincinnati are in great condition.

It really says something about the mayor and his administration when the roads in O'er The Rhine are in better condition than the roads in Indianapolis.

We pay a heavy price for subsidizing the Simon's,the Irsay's,et al.