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The Pothole Challenge for Summer-Autumn 2021

  • I am challenging the DPW to fill as many potholes as they can manage by October 2021 -- we'll see what their capacity is, so we can justify hiring new DPW staff and increasing the "pothole budget".
  • I reported 100+ potholes during the summer, between Independence Day and Labor Day -- you can see each of the 100+ potholes in the list below.
  • Sometimes the DPW removes "duplicates" and sometimes other things go wrong -- so I reported a total of 113 as of Sept. 8, 2021 -- even with problem items removed, the final total should exceed 100.
  • I'll check back in October to see how many of the 100+ potholes got fixed. The DPW tells me they have fixed some already (in August).
  • I asked DPW to NOT prioritize my pothole reports (yes, they noticed what I was doing, in July!) -- just treat them as normal pothole repair requests -- so that we can all get a fair measurement of DPW's capacity.
  • Since I used the recommended reporting method of "See/Click/Fix," this will test the capacity of the DPW -- with existing labor and equipment, can they fix 100 potholes per month? Maybe the result will indicate that DPW can fix 50 per month -- then if we double the budget, we could increase that capacity to 100.
  • You can join in the "Pothole Challenge" by reporting your own potholes on See/Click/Fix -- a dozen people told me where to go take photos, so they're all under my name "Town Councilor Jesse Gordon" in the system. But I'll list yours, too, if you send 'em to me.
  • I estimate that there are about 500 potholes around Randolph, just like the set of 100+ potholes that I reported. I stopped photographing a street after a few potholes on that one street -- and I missed a lot of streets too! Also, I didn't tag any crumbling sidewalks -- just a couple curbs where they impinged into the street -- and I'd estimate are another 500 of those. Hence even if the DPW capacity is 100 per month, this is a full-time gig forever (since they can't work in winter, and new potholes form every year!). And actually I think DPW capacity is below 100 per month!
  • The See/Click/Fix system uses "geotagging" on your photos to identify the nearest house address. All of my photos are reported at their geotagged address -- there is no connection to the residents of those addresses!

The Street Repaving Challenge for 2022

  • Have you heard all the talk in the news about the "federal infrastructure bill"? It'll end up as something like $1 trillion to $3.5 trillion for infrastructure improvements -- and I'd like to get our fair share for Randolph!
  • Street repaving is one of the most basic infrastructure challenges. Randolph's streets are crumbling, and this gigantic trillion-dollar package is our opportunity to fix 'em all.
  • Our street repaving process is explained above. The Randolph DPW doesn't do full street repaving themselves -- it's contracted out. That means we make a deal with a street-repaving company to repave, say, a dozen streets for two million dollars (yes, that's what it costs -- see specific figure for Silver Street above!).
  • Well, if we make just one contract in a year, we get only those dozen streets repaved -- but we could make 2 or 3 or 20 contracts in one year. Of course, repaving 20 dozen strets would cost something like $24 million -- a quarter of the town's annual budget -- that's where the "federal infrastructure bill" comes in.
  • The feds WANT to spend trillions on infrastructure -- it's how we're recovering from the COVID Recession. The trick is, to get the feds to spend some of those trillions in Randolph! I call that "getting our fair share." Our fair share of a trillion dollars is about $100 million -- of which I think $24 million dedicated to street repaving is an appropriate usage!
  • So how do we get our fair share from the feds? I don't know yet -- because the money isn't allocated yet, and it'll be distributed to states and counties and municipalities sometime in 2021 or 2022 or maybe even later. But we need to prepare now! By setting up town agencies to get our fair share when the time comes.
  • I've suggested that we set up a "Master Plan Implementation Steering Committee" -- citizen volunteers plus town staff -- to keep an eye on the federal and state infrastructure grant-writing process. The Town Manager concurred at the August 2021 Town Council meeting that "having more eyes on the process" would increase our chances of getting more federal infrastructure funding.
  • The town needs to hear from residents on this issue, because without a real push, we'll get just a few million instead of $100 million. Please come to Town Council meetings, or write emails or letters, saying that the town should focus more on maximizing Randolph's share of state and federal grants. This isn't a "tax and spend" issue -- our federal tax money is already being spent, and this is all about WHO gets it! President Biden calls this a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" -- I agree -- but if we don't push for Randolph to get our fair share, our neighbors certainly will, and we'll miss this opportunity.

Pavement Management Report and Jesse's 100+ Potholes

Committee to Elect Jesse Gordon, 52 West St, Randolph MA 02368

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