Thursday, May 10, 2007

Metro Public Works Jockeys for Enclave's 2007 Worst Metro Services to Neighborhoods

After last year's anemic showing in providing services, Metro Public Works is jockeying for a position around the first turn of 2007 that would make it the absolute worst cellar dweller in the field of local government service losers.

As you may recall, a few days ago I related another erosion event on Hume Street during rainstorms that caused some of the gravel from Metro's half-ass attempt to repair an alley without paving it. I warned them before the rainstorm that gravel would erode. I took a picture of the intersection after the rain to document the debris.

Obviously, making scant progress with the paving underlings, Frick (Paving Manager) and Frack (Paving Scheduler, who never returned my phone message), I went back to Public Works Director Mark Macy (with whom we have spoken face-to-face in the past) via e-mail on this past Monday:
Mr. Macy:
I understand that after much confusion, the alley between 5th and 6th Avenues in Salemtown is scheduled to be paved now in either October or November after originally being promised as this past spring. In a phone call with and in an e-mail to the Paving Manager, Don Reid, I warned that the loose gravel in the mix that Public Works put down as a temporary solution to the dirt road that the alley had become would erode down Hume during the next rain storm. I based this on past experience we have had with a developer on 6th and Hume who refused to use silt fence, and as a result was cited by Metro for allowing gravel and other debris to wash down to 5th and Hume (while he was cited once, erosion occurred on several occasions).

Sure enough, thanks to the rain events of the past few days, a significant amount of the gravel that your department put down on the alley has washed down to the intersection. I have attached a day-after picture. The intersection had been gravel-free before the rain. Could you please send a crew out to 5th and Hume to clean up the eroded debris? Is there any other way for your department to contain any future erosion if we cannot have our alleys paved until the fall?

I'm also trying to understand your stated policy of paving roads in the spring and waiting until fall to pave the alleys. If that is indeed the policy, then why was a Germantown alley between 3rd and 4th Avenues freshly paved within the past few weeks? Mr. Reid couldn't answer that question. I left a voice mail message for your Paving Scheduler Tim Young 10 days ago, but I have yet to get a return call from him.
As I write this and as God is my witness, the gravel still sits at the intersection. Several neighbors have told me that they have skidded on the gravel while driving through the 5th and Hume intersection. No one has cleaned it up. And until I wrote Mr. Macy again this morning asking him if he had received my prior e-mail, I heard no response from Public Works.

But after the latest query, he wrote me a terse response saying that I need to work with Customer Service on this issue. My past experience with "Customer Service" is that it is a bureaucratic black hole designed to screen the people who make things happen in Metro from people who rely on Metro services. I have responded to Mr. Macy that I did not appreciate being bureaucratically volleyed to an entry layer of government when we had been dealing with the people who are supposed to make things happen for two years now.

I also made it clear that I will go to whatever length necessary to have my questions answered, including coming to his office. Somebody should tell me why at the time Salemtown was being told that alleys are not paved in the spring, a Germantown alley was being paved. If I do not get the answers by e-mail, I'll just go knocking on actual Metro doors until I find an answer.

UPDATE: Customer Service, with whom I've been e-mail sparring today, says that they will clear the debris from 5th and Hume.

UPDATE: Mark Macy e-mailed me to say that the alley on my block will be paved this month, and he wants to meet me there tomorrow morning at 8:15.

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