Written by Peter Gailunas
You’ve seen them. Orange cones and no parking signs all over town. The city is in “fix -it mode”, repairing the sidewalks and handicapped ramps in Southie. The other day I came home to find out the sidewalk in front of my house made it on the list to be fixed. The sign posted read, “No Parking 7am-5pm May 7th-May 17th.” Within ten days, my sidewalk will be fixed. Ten days. (That’s worse than cable saying they will be there between the hours of 9am-6pm. Could you narrow it down a little bit, for me?) But the sign was a glimmer of hope that within ten days, my broken sidewalk saga was about to come to an end.
About eight years ago, I called the Mayor’s Hotline and requested the tree in front of my house be removed or replaced and the sidewalk fixed. The tree roots caused the sidewalk to be cracked and uneven not to mention the tree had seen better days. The tree was quickly diagnosed by a city “tree doctor” as “sick” and ordered to be removed. Two years later, the tree was removed. I’m not really sure why it took two years but they cut down the tree and left the stump. Seriously? I put in another request with the city to have the stump removed. Another two years passed and a couple of guys – the stump removal guys – came removed the stump with a grinder but left the sidewalk still screwed up.
At this point, I’m on to the city’s game. They want another constituent service request so they can pad their stats. You know three different requests means the city gets credit for three different issues to respond to. I get that and I have no problem with it, I just wish I knew this eight years ago.
I think the tree/stump/sidewalk repair project is finally coming to an end – I hope. I left my house today just before 8am and came back about 10am. Someone came and jack-hammered an outline in the sidewalk area to be repaired. There are now two signs that read, “No Parking from 7am-5pm 5/7-5/17” and a shit-load of caution tape. My first thought is, “Great – this is finally done.” My second thought is, “Why is this going to take 10 days?” I mean it was just jack-hammered by 10am. It should take less than an hour for a back hoe and dump truck to remove the sidewalk. Then I’ll give them three hours to pave it. One day project right?
Or how about a three day project? One day each for jackhammer, removal and paving. Or how about just scheduling each part of the project? Put signs up that say No Parking on 5/7, 5/11 and 5/17. That ways there is less inconvenience to residents. But now there are about three parking spots in my neighborhood where people have to make sure to move their cars before 7am and not park there until 5pm. (I highly doubt an work crew will show up any day after 3pm.) And what about street cleaning day when those three spots are in huge demand? I guess I should be happy that the city is responding to my requests event if it is eight years later.