Rant – potholes on West Seattle roads

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    well, let’s just throw the baby out with the bath water and have a tantrum.

    seriously? instead of addressing the way vehicles are valued, we’ll just hamstring the budget! stupid government!

    it’s like killing a mouse with a howitzer.

    now, i’d be interested to see how much that pothole work would cost if we hired private contractors to fix them.



    that is an interesting inquiry what would it cost to use a private contractor versus city forces? my gut sense is that the private contractor would be more cost effective.

    the governor had a chance to step forward and address the valuation issue before it was voted on but did not. the valuation issue alone irked a lot of people.



    no, hooper.

    see, since SDOT crews are union, then their wages are the prevailing wage for street work in seattle.

    add in a private contractor’s 10 – 20% profit margin.

    the city has to expend time and manpower to shop bids. then we have to deal with questions like, “do they have certified flaggers?” “is their license/insurance/bond up to date?” in short, can they fulfill – safely! – a contract with a government agency?

    let’s leave the potholes to SDOT. no profit for anyone but the wage earners and the driving public.

    re: vehicle valuation: i was talking about tim eyman’s knee-jerk tantrum over licensing fees, when – according to you – MVET was fine. it was the valuation that was screwy.

    so why didn’t eyman address the valuation issue through the initiative process – instead of nuking the MVET like a petulant child?

    answer: because he’s a horse’s ass.



    the governor could have stepped to the plate on the valuation and if had done so the measure may have been defeated.

    private contractors are more efficient, because they eliminate dead wood on their staffs



    I called the city and reported the potholes 3 weeks ago. Yesterday I hit one on Sylvan near the Home Depot entrance and ended up with a flat tire. I just put new tires on my vehicle in November.


    Genesee Hill


    Did you hit one of the potholes you called about 3 weeks ago, or a new one?

    Sometimes, a follow up call is necessary.

    Sometimes my wife has to ask me twice to clean the gutters. OK, sometimes more than twice.



    I’ve lived in a number of places in the US and several countries overseas.

    I’ve never been anywhere that the people were not complaining about potholes or the poor condition of the roads. Not anywhere.

    And if it makes you feel any better, I’ve seen roads worse much worse than anything around here. I once saw a pothole in a city street in Baku Azerbaijan that was big enough to swallow an entire bobtail truck. Gaping hole it was. I think I was so impressed I actually took a picture of it….

    Carry on.



    The Tim Eyman issue is separate. All cities in WA are effected equally by any initiative or funding shortage. I’m still confused why Seattle roads are in terrible condition and roads in other WA cities (Renton, Tukwila, Everett, etc, etc) are in so much better shape than Seattle roads.



    because Seattle spends more per person on social services that leaves less for basic government such as street maintenance



    there are more people, more cars, more damage here on the west side in the big city….it’s apples/oranges…good grief.It’s not just the spending habits IMO. If you’re gonna put that out there, back it up with facts and numbers, please, thank you. In other words, prove it :)



    Seattle budget Human Services $176,476,000 with population of 563,374 yields $313.25/person

    Bellevue budget Human Services $7,581,446 with a population of 126,626 yields $59.87/person.

    Renton budget Community Services $14,258,275 population 86,230 yields $165.36/person

    The data was obtained via looking at each City’s budget data available online; thus it is clear Seattle expends substantially more per person 5+ times more than Bellevue and almost twice as much as Renton per person. The streets in Bellevue and Renton are in far better shape than they are in Seattle.



    thanks…I wonder if the difference is the affluence of the areas. Bellevue has no real poor inner city area…it falls on Seattle to absorbs them. Just a theory. Seattle is a much older city than B’vue., too. In my opinion, one can’t just say we don’t spend right and call it a day. There are mitigating factors in the differences that have to be studied, too. And roads, well, there are simply more people and more cars in the Seattle city limits, I would think, that simply do more damage. Of course, I could be full of it, too, you know – lol…I’m always the first to admit that :)



    hooper is backing up his claims with data. that’s a pleasure to see.

    you may change some minds yet, hooper.

    happy new year!



    Renton is an old City also with a lot of traffic passing through it and its Human Service spending per capita is half of Seattle’s. Thus if Seattle simply spent per capita what Renton does the City would have about $83,316.475 more dollars to spend on basic government such as maintaining streets. The City has failed to properly fund maintenance for years!



    It’s all a matter of spending priorities. If you had about 4x more people in your city than close sister cities, would you spend your bucks on the people of your city or would you spend your bucks on the roads? There are only so many bucks to go around, so what are the prioities? People or roads?

    There are also many possible options to this grave and menacing problem. I can think of 5 right off the top of my head. Can you think of others?

    1. We can sit around and gripe about how bad the roads are and how our money continues to be spent on people, but that doesn’t really solve the road problem.

    2. We can wait for another election and try to elect people who will completely change the spending priorities of the city, but it takes a lot of time and money to change an electorate and government spending habits while our roads continue to fall apart.

    3. We can give up and move to another city and live happily where the roads are more of a priority.

    4. We can gather together as residents of the City and try to find a way to solve the problem without government… maybe set up a road fund where city residents can chip in voluntarily to help out in some way.

    5. We can demand that the City raise our taxes for local streets in some way, so that a few more people will be driven to move to cheaper cities and we’ll have nicer roads.

    So many options…



    or we can prioritize maintenance appropriately using existing resources.

    remember TDe i ascertained spending level per capita and Seattle expends twice (almost) as much as Renton on human services and far more than other local agencies and our streets are in poorer condition. thus i would propose adjusting per capita spending on human services to the same level as say Renton (Bellevue expends even less) and use that money for basic maintenance.

    the residents of seattle need to contact the electeds and let them know that they want human service spending to be more in line with other local agencies on a per capita basis and make basic maintenance a higher priority.



    you keep quoting “per capita”..now quote me the numbers of people who actually live in these cities who are getting these “human services”. That makes a difference , too, IMO. We have more in need here…so we spend more.

    Another option…give up your car, stay off the roads as much as possible (I do it), and stop adding to the problem.



    Very insightful analysis Hooper. And good job going through data. Thank you.

    My thoughts – Seattle has a great deal of poverty (per capita) compared with other cities, so Seattle has to spend more money in human services (per capita) and less on roads.

    You’d think Seattle would have the best roads because it is a dense city. So the miles of paved road per taxpayer in Seattle is much less than basically any other city in the state.

    I actually do more that just complain on forums, though! I also complain to officials :-) I have written to the Mayor, the councilperson in charge or the transportation division, and the SDOT. The letter to the mayor went unanswered. The councilperson and/or SDOT (can’t remember which) wrote back that Seattle has a 30 year backlog of street repair and there’s not much we can do about it with existing funding levels.

    I’ve only lived in Seattle for 3.5 years but once I have more experience with the city, I may contemplate a run for city council. I am significantly more conservative than the typical Seattle voter, though, so I’m not sure how much chance I would have.



    JanS i provided you the data you had requested and it is clear the city spends more per capita than other city’s in the area. and arguments can be made that the services attract people from outside seattle. maybe seattle ought to limit services to people who have lived in the city at least say a year (and of course they should be limited to physically and mentally challenged people only).

    the city has deferred maintenance on streets for years and it shows in the poor quality of many streets.




    In that article the example of a woman blaming a pothole because she fell down and broke her arm (?!) is pretty absurd. That’s like walking face first into a light pole and blaming the pole for your broken nose. I’m additionally amused by the increasingly default “where I just moved from is better cuz thats what I’m used to” followup.



    there is a big article today in the seattle times regarding potholes



    An occasional pot hole doesn’t bother me that much… but a new one every couple of days year after year is ridiculous!

    Sylvan Way is repeated problem and needs long term fix. We can keep calling in the pot holes and they’ll come out and patch them but that only lasts a short while.

    That whole strip from the new developments down past home depot all needs to be completely redone.

    I think the big semi trucks going in and out of home depot everyday contribute to the breakdown faster too!

    By now I’m sure they’ve spent more money in patch work than it would have cost to redo the whole road properly.

    Is it expensive drainage issues? Or why does it feel like they’re avoiding doing it right 1 time?

    Is seattle.gov/transportation not the right place to make these sorts of requests?

    …and yes, I’ve tried reporting it this way.



    Dalamar437 – that is the cost of deferred maintenance. fixing potholes hap hazard is not cost effective.



    Todd (reply #7), I just did what you suggested – I reported the entire roadway of California between Edmunds & Fauntleroy (with particular emphasis on the bone-rattling pothole going southbound, just north of Hudson). I drove up and down California in that stretch half a dozen times this weekend, and it was horrendous – I was spending more time swerving to avoid potholes and paying attention to what I might be driving into, that it was hard to also pay attention to the other important things of driving, like traffic and pedestrians.

    I encourage everyone to start reporting these potholes when they encounter them: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/potholereport.htm

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