Sunday, November 2, 2008

City of Berkeley Continues to Perpetuate Blight on Shattuck Avenue

If you recall, in late July we reported on the status of Shattuck Avenue between Ashby and the Oakland City border. We reported that this section of roadway had severely deteriorated to the point where it represents a public safety problem and detracts from the community, creating an appearance of neglect and blight. This section of the road is filled with so many ruts and potholes, that it is a significant public safety concern for bicyclists and motorists. In fact, it presents a significant liability for the City of Berkeley to maintain an unsafe roadway and it costs taxpayers in the form of additional maintenance on their motor vehicles/bicycles.

This issue was brought to the attention of the Berkeley Public Works Director, Claudette Ford. Ms. Ford stated, "The Public Works Department has...been investigating what could be done... We are in total agreement that the section of Shattuck that you refer in your email is in bad shape, but given the other pressing needs it was not on our scheduled repair list at this time...we feel fairly confident that we will be able to do something to improve the overall condition of the street. As we get closer to the actual work date, you and others on the street will be getting notification from the city/contractor".

So what has the City done in the last three months since this issue was brought to their attention? Apparently very little. In the last week or so a disgruntled resident fed up with these third world conditions has highlighted most of the potholes with bright orange paint. The intention appears to be a warning for motorists and bicyclists so they can take evasive action or perhpas to mark the potholes for the Berkeley Public Works Staff. Shortly after the markings appeared, the potholes were filled in with asphalt. We assume this was done by the City of Berkeley. While this might be a reason to cheer, it really signals a rather pathetic effort on the part of the City of Berkeley. The filled potholes simply add to the rough and distressed performance of the road. The real solution is to grind the asphalt and repave.

Who has the responsibility for addressing this problem:

  • Claudette Ford, City Manager
  • Lisa Carona, Deputy City Manger
  • Max Anderson, City Councilman

The big question remains; how on earth can the City let such a major thoroughfare, such as Shattuck Avenue, crumble into endless potholes as if we lived in a third world country while other less significant surface street that are in better condition are routinely resurfaced?

While Ms. Ford promised that the City would do something, she has yet to deliver on her promise. Ms. Ford, the community is still waiting. But that seems to be a common theme with South Berkeley and City services.

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