(A name given to me by the City Controller since I regularly attend the Council Meetings and 14 Budget Hearings)
Roads in South Bend
According to the Director of Public Works, there are approximately 2,200 lane miles of roads in South Bend and 50 to 80 miles of them were Level 4 or worse. Why is that? The short answer is they weren't in the Budget. The problem with neglecting roads too long is then the problem becomes structural and costs even more. Would you like to know which roads were paved and how much it cost?
NOTE: 2018 isn't available yet as of February 3, 2019. Source of the PDF's above are from the City of South Bend.
Did you know...
Part of doing "Smart Streets" was the City took over the streets from the State. This means now the South Bend taxpayers have to fund paving, painting, fixing and snow plowing them forever. This adds an additional burden to our Budget. Additionally, those bump outs and median planters mean our snow plow trucks damage the plow blades since they can't see them under the snow. This adds to our equipment maintenance and limits how snow can be plowed off the roads.
Part of putting in a bike path along Lincolnway near the "Crooked Ewe" restaurant will mean taking over that from the State also.
The new Chocolate Cafe complex being built means taking over part of a State road.
We aren't funding, paving and fixing the ones we have to what most residents think is an acceptable quality level.
We recently received a $5,000 grant from Domino's Pizza to fix potholes in South Bend. That will probably address 60 - 80 potholes, depending on their severity according to the Public Works Department.
One of the most frequent complaints I hear is, "I called 3-1-1 more than once and it hasn't been fixed" and "I had damage to my car because of the potholes." One man told me he has to memorize where the potholes are on the way to work or take a different street.
Maintaining the basics is what people expect.
My suggestion in the Budget Hearings was to look at Public Works and fund it FIRST so our roads, sewers and water are a priority. The Mayor sets the Budget and the Council is expected to vote it in. The Mayor's priority has been to spend millions on bike paths instead. While that is nice for parts of the year, the reality is many people drive to work. Poor roads are also are hard on the many City vehicles.
Planned for the Near Future
933 Corridor Improvement (See South Bend Tribune Article on February 15, 2019)
Holladay Properties is planning a project that would involve the City taking over a 6.5 mile stretch of road from the State and narrowing it down like it was done for the Downtown. They want this done since they are building 252 apartments, 52 town homes, commercial offices and retail shops.
Traffic from downtown South Bend to Notre Dame would be slowed significantly to "enhance pedestrian traffic" and "allow for wide multi-use bike paths".
This continues the "Smart Streets" planning to cut down on traffic with narrowed streets and will add to the City burden of maintaining more roads - paving, striping, curbs, paths, lighting, plowing in the winter, etc.
Citizens need to ask how much this new development will add to the TIF burden and how many Tax Abatements are planned. This would be an excellent opportunity for PRIVATE INVESTMENT ONLY, rather than taxpayer handouts and Abatements.
NOTE: This deal would also "relinquish a 9.5 mile stretch of 931 in the Southern part of the County".
My Council Meeting Notes from 5/15/2018:
Eric Horvath updated the Council on roads, curbs, sidewalks and ADA Ramps.
The City is receiving monies from the Gas Tax. That money can be used to plow roads, paving, curbs or sidewalks. It goes into two of the designated City funds.
There is an additional $2M coming in. $1.5M to Motor Vehicle Highway and $500K to the Local Road and Streets.
BY THE NUMBERS:
$100K is the cost to pave 2 lane miles
$600K is going to be done by outside contractors this year, which is about 6 to 8 lane miles.
20 lane miles will be done by City crews this year.
There are approximately 2,200 lane miles in the City.
NOTE: A "lane mile" is only 10' to 11' wide. That means in most cases curb across to the other curb is at least 2 lane miles.
2016 there were 36.5 lane miles done
2017 there were 15 lane miles done
2018 there are 26 lane miles scheduled.
That's only 77.5 lane miles in 3 years out of 2,200.
That's an average of only 25.83 lane miles a year or 1.174% of the total roads in South Bend. At that rate it will be 85.17 years to attend to all the roads.
NOTE: Most roads are not designed to last 85 years. Poor spending priorities will leave most roads in less than ideal condition.
If there are 2,200 lane miles and less than 25 miles are getting fixed / maintained / paved a year, then it will take 85 years to get around to them with most road surfacing is lasting maybe 10 years? This is not realistic.
I think these things need to happen:
It is my goal as an Advocate to involve YOU in the process.
If these are your priorities, I need your VOTE and Donations!
My campaign is a grassroots one. Donations are appreciated and helpful.
NOTE: My donation app is by ActBlue. Your receipts will come from them.