Roads

The roads in this city don't enough attention during election campaigns. Yet they're a major part of our lives that most of us use practically every day, and some of them are crumbling. There are potholes all over town that have been around for years, and if you know of one, I encourage you to send me that details. I'll give you an example from right here in Ward 5: Gordon Street is one of the city's major arteries, and for the past few years, a fairly large chunk of it has been missing. If you've driven south from downtown, you know what I'm talking about. But, it hasn't always been this bad. Thanks to Google Maps' history feature, we can take a look back and see what the road used to look like.

In May 2009 it was just a baby pothole, and a little patchwork had been done in hopes of keeping it that way:


However, by October 2011, our little baby pothole had started to grow and was definitely in need of repairs:


Jump forward to June of 2014 (prior to the previous election), and it had become a fully grown adult pothole with little baby potholes of its own:


Now, you'd think that in the subsequent four years, someone would've said "Hey, there's a huge chunk of Gordon Street missing. We should probably fix it," but here's what it looked like a week ago:

What was once a couple tiny holes that you might not even notice if you drove over them, now takes up the entire lane. It's so big that I'm not sure it even technically qualifies as a pothole any more. There's literally no way to avoid it short of weaving into oncoming traffic, and while some might say "That's just one pothole, it's not a big deal," there are two more spots within a five-minute walk that also need substantial repairs:
At least this one's had a bit of patching done, although it didn't last

An entire term has nearly come and gone, one of our main streets is crumbling, and our councillors have done nothing; things have just gotten worse and worse. That's shameful, and, frankly, I'm embarrassed for them.

So, what do we do?
1) Fix Gordon St. as soon as possible. A nine-year-old pothole -particularly one of that size and prominence- is both a disgrace and a vehicle hazard.

2) Prioritize the repair of potholes and road damage by age. Dangerous and large holes in high-traffic areas should still be the top priority, but once those are fixed, we should focus on the oldest holes. No one should have to live with cruddy roads forever.

3) If necessary, increase the budget for road surface maintenance until the backlog of damage can be cleared. We've seen what happens when the city neglects infrastructure for too long, and we don't want to be paying a special road repair levy in ten years.

4) Consider requiring alternative asphalt formulations during road resurfacing. This one's a bit radical, but there's a professor at Queen's who believes road strength and longevity can be greatly increased through the use of better asphalt. Not everyone agrees with him, however I think it's probably worth a small pilot project.

Fixing the roads won't grab headlines like building a new library (it'll happen someday, they swear!), but in order for the city to work well, we need to do the little things, too.