Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Road Conditions

I went for a drive through town this afternoon to see how the streets in other neighborhoods compare with the ones where I live. Here's what I saw.

The worst street I saw was Park Place, downtown, used by patrons of the Mattatuck Museum, Girls Inc. and the YMCA, as well as some residents. If my stretch of Wood Street didn't get full sun all day, it would be the same right now.

Next is Wood Street, between Walnut and Cherry Streets. This is a two-way street. That means traffic travels in both directions at the same time. At least it's supposed to. Right now that is completely impossible. There is no sign that the plow driver even considered making the road wide enough for two vehicles. Bear in mind that this photo was taken after several days of warmth and sun which melted much of the snow. Before Sunday, this stretch of Wood Street looked just like Park Place does now.

Think Wood Street is bad? Below is a shot of Putnam Street, also with two-way traffic. That truck you see is parked as close to the right side of the road as the driver could get. In order to get down this street, I had to back up onto Willard Street to allow another car past, then very slowly drove up onto the icy snow bank, with just barely enough room to get by.

This is not an unimportant road. This is a road that leads to an elementary school.

 So, if that's how a road connecting to an elementary school looks, how do you think a dead end street will look? If it's in Waterville, it looks just fine, like there's hardly been any snow at all.

Next stop: Town Plot, specifically Hutchinson Street. Looks great. Nice and wide. Plows made sure both lanes were clear.

Here's Oronoke Road,  running past the Waterbury Country Club. They must not have gotten as much snow as other parts of the city. The road is so wide! It's even wider than some sections of Wolcott and Homer Streets, which both have four lanes, not just the two lanes that Oronoke Road has.

Robinwood Road is also looking great.

Off of Robinwood is Arden Road, just a little road connecting Robinwood to Fern. Again, the plow driver took the time to clear both lanes. If it was possible in all these other places, why not in my neighborhood? Why not Wolcott Street, which is missing lanes and has a dangerous hard ridge of ice running down the middle of the road?

After what I saw today, I stand firmly by my earlier blog post. The city has done a great job with most of the city, but it has truly dropped the ball in my part of town.


John Murray said...

That's real journalism. Get up and investigate..
Excellent job.

Bryan P. Baker said...

Another wonderfully written piece!

I have a few things to add in support of your concerns.

First, the poorly plowed streets are not just in your neighborhood. If you look at Beecher Ave between E Main St and Meriden Rd you will find quite a few sections that resemble the pictures you took on Park Place. Like Wood St, Beecher Ave is supposed to be a two way road.

Also, if you drive along Union St between Silver St Expressway and Mill St you will find at least on instance in each direction where an entire lane of road simply disappears under a snow bank. The first case is as you are heading North (towards Downtown) past the entrance of the mall. The plow driver apparently assumed that the right lane was an entrance only and stopped plowing. Also, as you head South (away from Downtown) there is a spot across from Timexpo where the Southbound lanes shift to the right, but the plow driver simply kept going straight. What is most surprising about this is that no one can debate that Union St is a major thoroughfare for the City of Waterbury.

The argument can be made that the city hires private contractors to plow certain sections of the city. However, there is no doubt that the City can and should demand better from those contractors. Furthermore, the citizens should demand better of its city.

Anonymous said...

Neighborhoods in which most people park in driveways are almost always going to have better-plowed streets than neighborhoods where people park on the street.


Anonymous said...

re: ironrailsironweights

I can certainly see that argument; it makes sense.

The only thing I would say in response, though is: how can we explain the many, many streets and thoroughfares in this city where there is no street-side parking that now has fewer lanes? Even major commercial avenues, such as wolcott street? Where is the enforcement of parking bans?

If people know they will suffer no consequences, surely they won't bother following the law -- at least, that's what it seems. Combine that lack of enforcement with poor oversight of contractors hired by the city, to say nothing of their own workers, and we end up with inexcusably poorly plowed streets. It is a massive failure of city leadership, an attitude of 'we just don't care' that filters down to every level of city worker, and frankly, even to some elements of the citizenry.

Joe said...

I have to agree with Peter. The most obvious explanation is that there are cars parked (or buried) on all of the poorly-plowed streets in your photos, while there are no cars parked on the well-plowed streets, except for the two vehicles you captured. I doubt those were there when the plows came through, or else you would see the same problem.

Waterbury Girl said...

That's exactly why the parking ban was invented and why it should have been enforced.

Also, it does not explain why entire lanes were not plowed on Brass Mill Drive, Homer, Chase, North Main between Chase and Lakewood,and Wolcott Street.