Entries Tagged 'Public Works' ↓

I thought we killed this?

My only suggestion on this would be to put very large signs about 40 feet from the front doors of public facilities that says ‘NO SMOKING BEYOND THIS POINT’ with smoker posts (outdoor ashtrays) attached to them. The city already has a sign department that can make these signs very easily. But it seems like some people with the city cannot let this die;

“The intent is never to make this about the enforcement, the consequence of being caught, it’s really that education and creating that environment that is a healthy environment,” Michael stated.

Well then instead of making rules, laws and ordinances, do your job and EDUCATE!

Are snowgates working for you? And is it on the books?

Councilor Stehly offers her help when it comes to getting snow gate service properly;

I reached out to our Public Works Director Mark Cotter, and he assured me that his department is 100 percent committed to using snow gates citywide. We must understand that these gates are not meant to remove all the snow, but to help alleviate the majority of snow left behind.

Director Cotter and I would like to encourage you to reach out to us if there are problems with your service in the future. Councilor Theresa Stehly, 929-8783 and Public Works at 367-8255.

Let’s keep working together to keep Sioux Falls a great place for all people to live.

With a winter storm expected this next Friday, the phones should be busy.

There was something else in the letter I found interesting;

Snow gates are mandated to be used in all residential areas according to a voter approved city ordinance in 2014. Just as we have an ordinance requiring citizens to remove snow from their sidewalks, the city has an obligation to provide snow gate service.

Well, not really. As we found out this past week, the city legal team of crack attorneys at Sioux Falls city hall seem to have this policy of not putting those kind of things on the books, only when they want to harass you about doing something like scooping sidewalks or trimming trees (GAWD I HATE PROJECT TRIM). But it seems Sioux Falls may be the exception when a municipality doesn’t want to follow their own rules. In Bismarck, ND they actually take responsibility for laws passed by citizens;

Ordinance

10-02-05. Snow Removal. Notwithstanding the authority contained in Section 10-02-03, whenever, in the opinion of the director of public works, accumulated snow and/or ice creates hazardous road conditions or is likely to create hazardous road conditions which impede or are likely to impede the free movement of fire, health, police, emergency or other vehicular traffic or threaten the health, safety or welfare of the community, the director of public works may take the following actions in order to open and maintain the streets:

1. Post certain streets in need of snow removal for no parking. The signs must be posted at the times specified in Section 12-13-23(2)(l) before the snow removal is to occur. Any vehicles parked in violation of the posting shall be towed to facilitate snow removal.

2. When necessary to maintain the streets in good and safe driving conditions, goods and services may be purchased without complying with chapter 7-01 of this code. The board must be informed of any such purchases at the next following city commission meeting.

3. When necessary to maintain the streets in good and safe driving condition, temporary snow removal personnel may be hired. The board must be informed of any such hiring at the next following city commission meeting.

The City of Bismarck shall use snow gates or other devices to prevent snow, in an amount that prevents usual access, from being plowed or placed into driveways or their openings to public streets. This section shall cover City employees and contract employees. Any additional costs caused by this ordinance shall be paid by the City Sales Tax of the City of Bismarck. This ordinance shall not apply in the event of a snowfall of such magnitude that a snow emergency is declared.

(Ord. 4588, 03-15-94; Ord. 4644, 10-25-94; Ord. 5294, 06-13-00, Initiated Ordinance).

Imagine that, when citizens actually pass an ordinance, the city’s legal team does the legal thing, put it on the books.

I have suggested that the city purposely doesn’t put the snow gates on the books in Sioux Falls so citizens can’t sue the city if they don’t use them. While that is clever, it is also very sneaky.

Are public notices in newspapers a waste of money? Sometimes.

As you know, I am big on open government, and public notices are important;

A bill that would allow South Dakota’s 17 largest cities to publish their public notices such as meeting minutes online instead of in the local newspaper was defeated in committee on Thursday.

HB1167 would have allowed cities with populations of more than 5,000 to publish their public notices on their websites, freeing them from the current requirement that notices be published in the local newspaper.

Rep. Greg Jamison, R-Sioux Falls, the bill’s sponsor, said the state’s larger cities are already posting their notices online, as well as broadcasting the meetings.

HB1167 “makes it so it doesn’t have to be in the newspaper,” Jamison said. “That’s the big difference here.”

While I agree alternative methods should be ‘explored’ I do agree with the SD newspaper industry – to an extent;

Justin Smith, an SDNA lobbyist, said that having a third party print the notices ensures that the government “cannot come back later and change them.”

In his work as a lawyer, Smith said, he has at times needed to check on notices published as far back as the 1950s.

“There is forever a record of that information,” Smith said. “1167 would destroy this permanent archive.”

While their arguments are fine and dandy, the issue I have with the way it is now, is that it has to be in a ‘paid subscription paper’ and the problem with our local paper is that they print it on a weekday (not as many subscribers) and in 4-point type. It should really be in the Sunday Paper in at least 6-8 pt type so people don’t have to get out a magnifying glass. I also don’t see a problem with it being in a weekly shopper that doesn’t have subscribers, it may get MORE readership. Right now, the government entities are subject to when the newspapers decide to print the notices, and that isn’t right either. Just Sayin’.

Copper Lounge Collapse, lots of questions little answers

Here are some leading questions after the collapse;

• Will Downtown businesses be reimbursed for lost business by the construction company’s insurance? Most of these businesses are family owned, they don’t have a lot of buffer like national franchises especially during one of the busiest shopping times of the year.

• Will the city be reimbursed for the enormous cost of the rescue and security efforts? While most would argue this is part of paying taxes, sometimes those costs go above and beyond.

• If the city was aware of construction issues with Hultgren, why wasn’t the Lewis project monitored more carefully, especially after complaints?

• What is the signifigance of the meeting on Monday between the city, OSHA, Hultgren and the families affected? Will they be talking about a private settlement?

• Since Legacy Development was one of the companies to bid on the future parking ramp, were they chosen? And if so, will the city pull the contract? Will the public ever be told? Do we have a right to know?

Who are the private investors in Legacy Development?

One of the biggest questions that has been boiling to the top all week – did any of the city councilors, county commissioners or even the Mayor have investments with Legacy, Hultgren or with the PAVE or Lewis project? And if so, isn’t this a conflict of interest, especially since the construction company has gotten quite a few ‘passes’ from the city’s planning/building services office? This speculation comes from the city’s decision to launch NO investigation of their own and a desire to not press charges unless OSHA finds serious fault. Think about it, Cameraman Bruce was arrested and taken to court over a stack of shingles and the possibility of a couple of mice, something the city called a health/public nuisance. Doesn’t it seem silly the city is worried about a couple of mice, but not that a man died in a construction accident? It just doesn’t add up.

I will tell you folks, this goes deeper, and I think some people with some serious connections are involved. Notice the rancor coming from the city lately about the media stirring the pot, they are trying to squelch the message and kill the messenger.

It will be interesting to see who is holding the bag when the smoke clears . . . it may just be one of the biggest scandals this city has ever seen, it will make the secret million dollar settlement on the EC look like vandalism under the 10th Street bridge.

City of Sioux Falls Foresty Division doesn’t even trim their own trees

Makes you wonder if it is cheaper to use an independent contractor then to have city employees do the work? If that is the case, all the more reason to use contractors to implement a free of charge Project TRIM.

trim-trees

Bump Out Mania! Phillips to What?

Another meeting the city of Sioux Falls should have covered but they forgot their Handicam at the office. The town is going to spend over $1,000,000 per block rebuilding Phillips Avenue in downtown and a couple of people show up at the Public Library on November 29, 2016.

A few things to note in this presentation are the continuation of the bump-out and trees but to where and why.  Those of us in the audience didn’t disagree in principle with the plan but so few showed up to talk about it. This is one of those needed updates to the underground infrastructure but the frosting on top still leaves long stretches of parking lots to prevent long walks between possible shops.

Notice the expensive Saddam Arch of Questionable Dreams gets a fancy approach on 7th Street. Will Raven feel like giving up some of their property to allow it?

The planners actually would like your feedback. Overall it will improve the stretch of roadway above and below ground. Let’s all join the moderator of the event in scratching our heads over it a bit.

 

Let’s Face It, the Mayor and the Director of Parks had NO plan before opening the indoor pool

This whole thing about the swim teams, and elitism is total hogwash. The fact is the mayor’s ‘peeps’ had NO plan when they opened the doors. Now they are spinning what was being said about the swim teams and the media misleading people. I think the media was very clear; The Mayor talks out of both sides of his mouth.

Also, I loved Sneveawonderful’s tweet about the empty suit B-N-B is, and his spelling challenged* producer, Too-Late Todd.

*Todd often spells names of politicians wrong in his posts (I’m not perfect either) but one day he had three different posts about councilor Stehly and he spelled her name three different ways, none of them correct. No wonder he doesn’t pracktuce lawe anymoore. Remember, in journalism, it IS the little things that count.

twitter-war

Solar Speed Signs just make sense!

imag0346_1

Besides people shooting themselves over a meth deal in Sioux Falls these days, we have another epidemic, speeding in residential areas. If I hear one complaint more from residents about crime, it is people who speed through sensitive areas (mostly school zones). There is a solution, and it is quite effective, and rather inexpensive. Small towns across South Dakota have been using solar powered flashing speed signs. Not only are they pretty frickin’ handy, they can also be moved quite easily using a bracket system.

Councilor Stehly is pushing for ‘testing’ these signs. She was voted down during the budget process, but she tells me that she is still pushing for them. Like snow gates, Theresa won’t give up until they are implemented or at least tested.

Our chief traffic engineer responded to a series of questions from Theresa;

From: Hoftiezer, Heath
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2016 10:52 AM
To: Stehly, Theresa <TStehly@siouxfalls.org>
Subject: Responses to Speed Trailer Questions

1. You indicated that we are using the speed safety signs on poles within school districts only. The city currently does not own any for residential areas.

That is correct, so far we have limited usage to School Zones.

 2. We talked about the areas that are high complaint areas.  Right now, how often do we put the speed trailers out. How many speed trailers do we have and how long do you let them sit in an area? How do you decided who gets to have the speed trailers?

There are three speed trailers that are moved around to different locations on a weekly basis from Spring thru Fall.  A list of speeding complaint areas that is generated by calls to Police, Public Works, City Clerks, Mayors Office and received CRM’s is used to determine where the trailers are placed.

 3. We talked about the speed trailers we currently have sticking into the roadway. It is also my understanding that they are bulky and labor intensive to move.

Depending on location on narrower streets the trailers can influence traffic quite a bit due to protruding into the driving area (this can be good and bad).   The trailers generally take up a parking spot in order to be placed so they are not able to be placed at locations that do not have parking.  It takes approximately one day for a person to pick-up and deploy the three speed trailers that the City currently has.

 4.  You seemed to view the addition of pole mounted solar speed signs in notorious complaint areas as a possible benefit for our community. You said you would appreciate it and they would be used  if they were available.

That is correct.  We have explored the concept of what you are proposing a couple of years ago and our biggest concern was what the expectation would be for relocation timelines.  The 3 month rotations that you were talking about would be reasonable to work with.

 Please let me know if you need anything else.

 Heath R. Hoftiezer, P.E., PTOE • Principal Traffic Engineer City of Sioux Falls

Stehly also got an estimate from a traffic control company;

ESTIMATE FROM:  Radarsign, LLC

Price estimate for 10 solar 400 speed signs for Sioux Falls South Dakota.

Dimension 4ft 5ft

35mph

Signs 10 $–3,595 per sign $35,950

Brackets Included

Postage 160 per sign $1,600

Traditional speed limit sign $25 per sign $250

Customer Discount -$5,000

Total cost $32,800

Warranty……..2 years

Easy to Move

Low Maintenance

Tracking information available for $ 250 per sign / $2,500

Can be mounted on light pole or traditional pole

Testimonial;

Image

Eight Years Later, some things never change

SD-WEEK-89-FLIP-COIN-SNOW-ALERT-12-17-08

Do you agree or disagree with the city deciding not to plow residential streets?

I will say this, I do understand why the city decided to NOT plow the residential streets. Next week it will probably be warm enough, that it will melt anyway. But what was told to us is questionable. When the city decided to not plow the residential streets they did say they would hit ‘troubled areas’ of residential streets with sand and chemical. I have not seen that, and many people are saying they have not either. Also, take into account the latest announcement that for the first time that I can remember, the city doesn’t have the staff to plow the streets so they are reaching out to part-time independent contractors (mostly farmers) to help with snow removal over the winter.

There has also been this ‘skip it’ attitude over the past couple of years with plowing the residential streets if;

• It is early winter and it may melt

• It is a small snow fall

• It is early spring, and it may melt

While I am all for the city saving money, I question the damage being done to vehicles because the city isn’t providing a service we pay for, snow removal and maintaining safe streets.

Seems odd we can scrounge up over a million a year to subsidize a luxury like an indoor pool, but we have to drive over chunky, icy streets to get to this pool.

The question that is ringing in every one’s ear – is the city going broke when we have to pinch pennies with snow removal? Next thing you know the city will be tapping Labor Ready to run the Finance and Engineering department. Hey, I guess if it is good enough for the Events Center, it is good enough for city hall.