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Sorry, but I’m an infrastructure junkie, and when I see or hear about things that are not quite right, well . . .

Case 1:  The City has installed traffic calming improvements on Fuller Street between Commonwealth Avenue and Chestnut Street.  These protuberances narrow the street at several places and are designed to slow people down. The concept is sound. But here’s a problem. If you are driving from Comm Ave to Chestnut Street on a dark, rainy night, you can’t see the first protuberance. Yes, there is a sign 50 or 100 feet in advance of it saying “Road Narrows,” but that is not helpful at 30 mph. (At 30 mph, you are going 44 feet per second.) Here’s a daytime picture.

The white painted line on the right side of the road is too faint to be seen at night; the curb is not painted; and there are no warning signs (as there are on the bumps that follow a bit further down the street.) Also, at night, the crosswalk marker is not there, nor is the “bag drop” sign for the golf course. So the new curb is invisible.

I know this because a friend of mine, going the speed limit on a dark rainy night, did not see the extended curb and popped her right front tire as she hit the curb.

Solution: Make the pavement painter line brighter and/or add a warning sign on the extended sidewalk that would be visible to drivers.

Case 2: The city has a policy that, when a street is being repaved, a property owner has the option of asking for a granite curb, the cost of which is added as an improvement fee on your regular tax bill until the cost is paid off. But when a property owner chooses not to do that, the rest of us pay. Water seeps through the berm and erodes the soil, undermining both the sidewalk and the road pavement. Then, we also pay because the city has to come by and rebuild the soil in the berm.

Apparently, the owners of the Paul Street apartments opted out of the curb installation in front of their building when Paul Street was last repaved. I’m guessing the condo association or the building manager said, “Huh, why should we pay for that?”  On July 15, I used 311 to report erosion of the berm. I was notified that this kind of work takes place on a regular schedule, and indeed, I noticed a work crew the other day, bringing in heavy equipment, several workers, and several yards of soil.

And, today, the 311 folks sent a note saying the job was done. Here it is:

My point? I think it should be mandatory, not optional, that multi-unit housing owners pay for the granite curbs in front of their buildings when streets are repaved. These buildings tend to have more frontage than a single family house; and when they choose not to have a curb installed, it results in damage to sidewalks and streets, plus extra costs to the city to replace the soil that’s just going to wash away over the coming weeks and months.

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