Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Urban leaders ask Metro Pubic Works to maintain federal investments in their neighborhoods

Several neighborhoods are concerned to learn that despite MDHA utilizing HUD funds to install quality of life streetscape elements, Public Works refuses to help them maintain those elements after vandals strike. So, they asked for a meeting with Public Works and other officials yesterday to seek resolution. Via the Salemtown e-list, here are the notes from that meeting:
11/23/09 Meeting Notes
Decorative Neighborhood Signs and Public Works: A Discussion

In attendance: Benny Word from PW; Linda Howard from MDHA; residents from Cleveland Park, McFerrin Park, Maxwell, Chestnut Hill, South Inglewood; CM Karen Bennett, CM Jamie Hollin

Absent, but interested: CM Erik Cole, CM Sandra Moore, residents from Salemtown

Concerns / Ideas
- The cost of installation for the number of signs that are coming down in our neighborhoods is prohibitive. These neighborhoods are low to moderate income (and that’s why MDHA invested the money).

- We request help from Public Works for the installation of our neighborhood signs

- Some of the locations where decorative signs have fallen have had standard stop signs but NOT street signs installed. (the intersection of Stainback and Evanston is one example)

- It costs PW a certain amount to come out and replace our decorative sign post with a standard sign. Can we apply that cost to the re-installation of a decorative sign?

- What would be most ideal would be for PW to replace and install the decorative signs. We recognize that isn’t likely, but the question was asked, what would be ideal.

- Perhaps we can keep basic parts on hand for the most common breakage which appears to be a simple tube insert that the decorative posts (which typically remain largely unharmed) are mounted on. Neighborhoods could purchase the parts, storage could be arranged, and Public Works could use those parts for re-installing the decorative signs

- In the future, PW could indicate to residents at the design phase that if they choose one of a small number of decorative sign posts, PW will be willing to do labor on those. If residents want to choose a different style, they cannot expect PW to provide assistance. In particular, there appear to be two kinds of bases, which is where most of the problems have occurred.

- Neighborhoods need Public Works to be willing to pick up and store the decorative signs until they can be reinstalled. This needs to be a longer period of time than 30 days.

- Installation of sign blades seems pretty straightforward. If neighborhoods provide the parts, can PW do this?

- Once a sign has fallen, is there a way to retrofit it so that it is at the stronger breakaway point that has now been approved?

- Can PW come inspect our neighborhood signs (the ones that have fallen) so that there can be a context for the discussion?

Next Steps:
- Benny Word will talk with Mark Macy about the concerns and ideas above
- Mr. Word will be in touch with CM Bennett and CM Hollin and they will disperse the info
- CM Bennett suggested that a follow up meeting for the whole group with Mr. Macy to discuss the outcome should take place—that date needs to be scheduled

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