Friday, July 8, 2016

Review of the City Commission Work Session on Infrastructure Oversight held on July 7th

After you're finished reading the blog post below, return and use this link for Katie McGiveron's outburst at this meeting. McGiveron is Chair of the CAUT PAC that defeated the 2014 "LW2020" bond to fix the roads. Note that in the 2 years hence she and her colleagues have yet to offer any alternative to the "LW2020" bond.

Below is a playlist of the four videos* of what transpired at this workshop session on the condition of our City's roadways. At the top left-hand corner is the icon 1/4; use that to switch between the videos:

Click here for the back-up provided for the meeting on the City's website.

At the beginning of the meeting the Public Works Dir., Jamie Brown, outlined the condition of the City's better roads. He said that for the past two years the City continues to apply a variety of patches for potholes but this is not the ultimate solution. The City roads range in condition based upon the way they were constructed originally (techniques and quality vary widely), their use and age. You might remember this chart from the Lake Worth 2020 information:
Time is not the City's friend. It is estimated that, on average, a road loses 3 points of its Pavement Condition Index (see above) each year. There are two spreadsheets which compare road conditions and the resulting cost of repairs from 2014 and 2016. Those that were just above a PCI of 56 in 2014 are now below that level and require structural improvement, rather than just maintenance. 
Cost for improving the "Better" Roads in 2014.
Cost for improving the "Better" roads in 2016.
What does this mean? It means that the cost of addressing the City's roads increased by $9 million since the bond vote failed by 25 votes in 2014. Those that "won" that vote had two years to come up with alternative proposals to address the problem. There is no doubt among Lake Worth residents that a problem exists. In fact, some of the most vocal critics are ones that supported a "No" vote on the bond issue. Here's one example in the form of a letter to the editor that appeared in The Palm Beach Post recently:
Do you feel much sympathy for this letter writer who worked so hard to defeat the "LW2020" bond in 2014?
Every day it costs everyone $12,328 more to address the problem. This is on top of those roads that were already identified as needing substantial improvement that would have been repaired by the bond issue.

How did those against the bond issue use their time since their victory in 2014? They complained and offered no alternatives even with the ball being completely in their court. Those two years could have been used to do what was suggested by Commissioners Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy at last night's meeting. Maier and McVoy, along with their supporters, could have organized community meetings, charrettes, or any other out-of-the-box solution to a problem that is apparent to anyone that uses roads in this City.

But instead they did nothing.

I'd like to share a few observations on the term "charrette", a word used by Maier, McVoy, and McGiveron. You can hear Mrs. McGiveron's ranting tirade which closed the meeting in this video. Being a professional, certified urban planner I have been a participant in many charrettes and even facilitated some. We had a well-remembered community charrette at Compass when the City was considering going back to its own police department. A charrette is when a group of people come together to identify problems and address solutions. Usually, but not always, it's to address a redevelopment plan for a specific area.

Then why have a charrette when we already know what the problem is and how to fix it? The problem is poor roads and we need money. My opinion is the call for charrettes is a delay tactic. Why didn't Maier, McVoy, and McGiveron call for charrettes 2 years ago? A year ago? Six months ago or even a week ago?

We agree there is a problem and the roads need to be fixed. We agree that sidewalks need to be repaired and/or replaced. We agree that we need better bicycle infrastructure. We agree that utility work should be done at the time a road is redone so we don't end up spending extra money. The City performed an objective survey of the roadway condition. We know it will take a substantial amount of money—estimated between $40–$50 million. What is there really to discuss any more?

What ideas would come from "charrettes" other than more pages torn off the calendar—at a cost of $12,328 each day?

*Use this link for my Lake Worth YouTube channel. Click the red "subscribe" button to receive notice when new videos are posted.