Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to Repair Streets the Best Way

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road
and celebrate the journey.
Source: Barbara Hoffman.
This just drives me crazy. The City of Richardson is facing numerous serious challenges. The redevelopment of Main Street/Central Expressway Corridor is just the latest major project kicked off by the city. The redevelopment of the West Spring Valley Corridor and the greenfield development around the PGBT DART station are two others that are still supposedly underway. I say supposedly because they haven't been on the council agenda much lately.

After the jump, what the city council thinks is more deserving of its limited weekly meeting time.

What was on the city council agenda? A detailed review of the relative merits of asphalt versus concrete for repair of potholes. Really.

Admittedly, you can add repairing aging streets and alleys and sidewalks to the list of challenges facing Richardson. But is it a wise use of the city council's time to be micromanaging how potholes are filled? If so, look at those redevelopment projects I mentioned earlier. There are a hundred or more details in those plans like the asphalt versus concrete decision. Why isn't the council spending time on all those details? Because time is scarce, that's why.

Richardson has a council-manager form of government. Day-to-day city operations should be in the hands of the city manager. Policy development should be the focus of the city council. The city council needs to provide oversight to city operations, but not try to micromanage those operations. Each hour the city council spends learning about asphalt versus concrete is an hour diverted from setting and reviewing strategic direction. Time is scarce.

Again, there's no dispute that repairing aging streets is a challenge. The city council needs to ensure that this function is being carried out efficiently. The presentation given to the city council contained about ten minutes of good information for the council to fulfill that responsibility. My advice to the city council: challenge city staff to chuck the asphalt filler and get right to the concrete. Figuratively, that is. Set time limits to force city staff to focus on what's really important for the council to know. That frees up time to get to more of the important topics. Like Main Street redevelopment, for which the council should be regularly reviewing progress and plans. Unfortunately, at the current rate, it'll be another six months before the city council hears anything more about it. Instead, we're all sitting through a tutorial on pothole repair. That just drives me crazy.

1 comment:

Nathan Morgan said...

Sounds like somebody is not doing their homework.