Entries Tagged 'Public Works' ↓

Did anyone observe the Painted Snow Plows on Saturday?

I had a family event yesterday and totally forgot to go to the ‘Paint the Plows’ event at the Mall parking lot. I did go over to the public garage today and saw a few of them parked by the fence.

If anyone attended, could you send me picts?

These were the schools that participated, 6 of them were private Christian Religious schools;

Anne Sullivan Elementary
Christ the King Elementary
Cleveland Elementary
Discovery Elementary
Edison Middle School
Eugene Field A+ Elementary
Fred Assam Elementary
Frontier Elementary
Good Shepherd Lutheran School
Laura B. Anderson Elementary
Lutheran High School
McCrossan Boys Ranch
O’Gorman High School
Oscar Howe Elementary
R. F. Pettigrew Elementary
Roosevelt High School
Sioux Falls Lutheran School
St. Michael Elementary

The Big Reveal is coming

I guess we will find out next weekend how many Jesus plows will be cleaning our streets this winter.

Could we see a lot more Jesus snowplows this winter?

A SouthDaCola foot soldier tipped me off recently that they saw several snowplow blades parked in different Church parking lots throughout the city. Normally the blades are painted by public school kids and some private Christian schools. Not sure if the blades are parked at the churches for this reason, but it will be interesting to see how many Christian themed snowplows we see this year.

I wonder if mayor Paul will ask volunteers to plow the streets this winter?

City of Sioux Falls to present their pilot idea for on-demand transit on Tuesday

You will see how the city plans to implement a pilot program for on-demand transit. As I have posted about recently, while the people using the on-demand service love it, it really isn’t equitable and doesn’t help more people. A total overhaul of Paratransit and regular bus routes would be where I would start instead of on-demand.

The presentation compares it to On-Demand movies and is you look at their scenarios you will see the cost goes up (at least that is how interpret it). I guess I will wait to see the presentation to fill in the blanks.

Is Microtransit the solution to fixing our public transit in Sioux Falls?

If you have done any research into the topic, the short answer would be a resounding ‘NO’.

But before we get to that, I have been saying well before PTH and the innovation crew rolled into city hall that the first priority to fixing public transit is fixing the gorilla in the room, Paratransit. The city must find a way to make it more affordable and nimble. I certainly DO NOT have all the answers on how to do that, but a few things I think we could ‘look at’ are 1) coordinate the ride shares better 2) have an advanced dispatch system the drivers can use 3) use smaller vehicles (like vans) 4) try to contract some the transports to private companies 5) have the mega-hospital systems become bigger partners in transporting patients to appointments.

I have no doubt we NEED paratransit. Keeping disabled people active and in the workforce is good for the economy and I’m sure in there somewhere the numbers add up to show that eliminating the public service would be detrimental to our community, but I do think it can be more affordable and reliable.

So let’s move onto this idea of microtransit. It’s been tried in cities across the country, and has had very little success. Don’t get me wrong, the people who use it, love it, but in the bigger picture of transit, while it makes a handful of riders very happy, it really doesn’t help the larger percentage as a whole, and, it is expensive.

There are several articles out there about it’s failures, but this one, written by a transit consultant really lays out the issues with microtransit;

In this reality, should transit agencies really focus on ways to move tiny numbers of people more expensively, to deliver them a special “customer experience”, as the microtransit idea proposes? Clearly that’s not the path to ridership.

We know how to increase ridership. It’s by offering useful, civilized, and cost-effective mobility to large numbers of people, not obsessing about the customer experience of a few. And while ridership is not the only goal of transit, it’s hard to get to microtransit from any of transit’s other common goals either.

While I encourage you to read the entire, extensive article that goes into great detail about labor costs, etc., the bigger point of the article is that cities, including Sioux Falls, who have public transit issues should concentrate on helping the masses first and making it more affordable.

I really think the city’s innovation department is missing the boat by going straight for the jugular on the microtransit idea. As I already mentioned above, Paratransit needs to be fixed first, than we can move onto regular transit, which I think the city should experiment with a grid system.

While I consider myself a progressive open to NEW ideas from YOUNG minds, I also know enough to look at what has worked and what has not. Read the multiple articles on microtransit – while it keeps a handful of people happy, it does nothing for the greater good of all the riders and makes it less affordable while costing the taxpayers more. The innovation department needs to bail on this idea before moving forward.

Isn’t the 2nd Penny supposed to be for roads and infrastructure?

I was glad to hear PTH talk about dedicating more money to roads and infrastructure. In the case of the water department and reclamation, we really have no choice. As for roads, the 2nd penny is SUPPOSED to be mostly dedicated to these kind of projects, but we have gone off the rails a bit over the past 16 years building play palaces.

When it comes to streets, what I would really like to see is more money being dedicated to engineering the streets better. The city needs to partner with local contractors to build better roads by investing in research and development. Instead of sending our Public Works director to a 3rd world country to teach people about Jesus and running water, we need to be sending him to Europe to learn how they build stronger, better roads. We also need to start making contractors warranty their work. Will this make our roads cost more? Yes, but the payoff is that they will last longer. I have often joked that our pothole hotline should be called as much as the Maytag repairman, this happens by building roads that don’t crumble every Spring when we have a slight temperature change.

While I appreciate the bigger investment in roads (even though it is what the money is really supposed to be used for) I would like to see more innovation building those roads. Wouldn’t it be great if the city became the leader in the Midwest for building rock solid infrastructure and roads. Wouldn’t it be great if people visiting our city talked about our modern euro-style roads instead of our money sucking Events Center?

I would also like to give a thumbs up to whoever decided to finally fix the roller coaster ride on Cliff Avenue in front of Avera last week. It only took them about 5 days to fix something that has been horrible for around 3 years. The only other question I have is ‘What took so long?’

City of Sioux Falls brags about filling 2.875 potholes per hour

I guess I have never filled potholes before, so I don’t know how long it takes but;

City of Sioux Falls Street Operations Manager Dustin Hansen tells KELOLAND News city crews have filled more than 2,300 potholes since March 1.

Hansen says that there are “about five to six crews out” every day right now.

So lets do the math, 2,300 potholes in 20 days = 115 day. 5 crews at 8 hours a day = 40 hours a day.

That equals filling 2.875 potholes an hour.

Like I said, I’m no expert, but I’m not sure if I would be bragging about those kind of results.

Start your engines

As of 11 AM today, it seems the city’s maintainers (plows) are all still parked. I did see a sander/plow out on Cliff Avenue though. Those are the bigger dump trucks to the left of the picture. I guess our new Street Manager is a REAL conservative, saving us $$$ 🙁

Click to Enlarge

The Pothole Math (H/T – CHB)

A foot soldier decided to do some ‘Propaganda Math’ when it comes to potholes, and it is interesting, this is what they sent me;

Paul TenHaken FB page as of Monday March 18, 7:34am:

“With the flooding beginning to subside, we are now dealing with the increased washout on roads that have already experience a very tough winter. As a result, we are taking an all hands on deck approach.”

◾️Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of six crews addressing potholes.

◾️Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight and from midnight to 8 a.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of one crew addressing potholes in high-traffic volume areas.

◾️Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of three crews addressing potholes.”

City Council Meeting Tuesday March 19/19 Mark Cotter testimony:

We are running 6 crews M-F, 3 crews on the weekend, one at night.” 

City of Sioux Falls Facebook page as of Friday 3/22/19, 10:42am (this information was time stamped as being posted 16 hrs. prior to 3/22/19 10:42am. . . . so these stats apparently reflect pothole repair progress M-Th, March 3/18 – March 3/21 approximately 6pm):

We have cleared 413 potholes this week so far. We have four crews out every day 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and one crew out 4 p.m. to midnight. We will have four crews out this weekend as well working from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.”

In terms of quantifying the pothole repair process, one variable missing in these three repair crew schedule announcements is the number of men on each crew. And, there are some inconsistencies in the specifics:

a) Mayor TenHaken’s info from Monday 3/18, claims SIX daytime crews M-F, TWO night crews M-F, THREE daytime crews Sat/Sun.

b) Cotter info from Tuesday 3/19, claims SIX daytime crews M-F, ONE [not two] night crew M-F, THREE daytime crews Sat/Sun.

c) siouxfalls.org from Friday 3/22, claims FOUR [not six] daytime crews M-F, ONE [not two] night crew M-F, FOUR [not three] daytime crews Sat/Sun.

Ok. All that now having been itemized, Public Works is allowed to modify the pothole repair crew assignments over time, or as conditions change/improve, or as impending flood priorities may change. These figures do claim that an additional crew has been added Sat/Sun over first two reports, so that’s a positive. Therefore, these inconsistent reports may be a moot point. However, in attempting to quantify the rate of progress the siouxfalls.org data shares, I’m uncertain what the most accurate math would be to quantify the progress in terms of potholes fixed per day or per hour. One equation I came up with from the siouxfalls.org 3/22 stats is:

A) [4] daytime crews x 8 hrs/day = 32 crew hrs/day

B) [1] evening crew x 8 hrs/day = 8 crew hrs/day

C) Subtotal: 32 + 8                    = 40 crew hrs/day

D) [4] days {M-Th} x 40 crew hrs/day = 160 total crew hours work for Mon-Thurs.

E) 412 repaired potholes ÷ 160 crew hrs = 2.575 potholes fixed per crew hour? If legit, seems like slow progress.

DL: Either this means pothole stop sites (and not actual potholes) or there is a heckuva a lot of miscommunication going on.

Major Fail – City of Sioux Falls Engineering and Public Works

From a SouthDaCola foot soldier;

I 229/26th Street/ Southeastern Drive Reconstruction Project


In order to begin this massive road and bridge project, Rotary-Norlin Park needed to be relocated from the east side of the river to the west side.

The majority of this work took place in 2018.

In conjunction with the Rotary Park Project the City needed to do underground work on the utilities (storm sewer, sewer, and water).  The residents who live in the Riverdale subdivision (which is just across I 229 from Rotary Park)  saw that utility work was being done last summer/fall in Riverdale Park.  This is where the new utility lines were being connected to the existing lines.

At approximately the same time the work was being done in Riverdale Park, residents in Riverdale subdivision began to experience both low water pressure and sewer backups in their homes.  In some homes, sewer backups have happened multiple times since last summer/fall.

Today, we finally may have an answer as to why this is happening.

The City probably should have invested in a lift station when the work was done last year.


After reviewing the documents related to the I 229/26th Street/Southeastern Drive Project on siouxfalls.org, it appears the elevation needed to construct the overpass for the BNSF railroad will also be a factor in this major blunder of not building a lift station.

Phase I of this Project is set to begin in a few days. Should the project be allowed to go forward before resolving the issue of the lift station? Good question.