Letters to the Editor 5/10/12
City infrastructure and SURS
NO POT OF GOLD
I read with interest the article on the city infrastructure written by Bruce Rushton [see “Plan? What plan? Still no fix for city infrastructure,” May 3]. The city inherited problems caused by streets that were constructed without adequate bases and under-designed because the amount of traffic was underestimated for various reasons and the truck gross weights used to be smaller. A case in point is Bruns Lane/Chatham Road, which was designed as a city street, with guidelines of one travel lane with one parking lane each direction. The idea was that the street would be marked four lanes until the west bypass (Veterans Parkway) was constructed and then revert back to the design configuration. By the time Veterans was completed, there was no way Chatham Road could be marked less than four lanes. So here is a street that was under-designed for the present traffic and it is also past the normal economic life of a concrete pavement, resulting in extensive, expensive concrete patching.
Many subdivision streets were constructed with relatively thin pavement on bare dirt without a base course which now contributes to the deterioration of the streets. Going to one waste hauler in each area would definitely slow this deterioration as the heavier trucks cause much more damage than automobiles.
A number of streets that were designed with thicker pavement in travel lanes and less thick parking lanes are now marked with four or more travel lanes (MacArthur north of South Grand Avenue). The city didn’t have money to spend on local street overlays unless they qualified for federal aid for about five years at one time within the last 10-15 years, which also put the repairs way behind. The sewers have a fund for repairs and reconstruction, but this fund was lessened when the city council voted to pay for the repairs to sewer laterals to the houses within the street right-of-way regardless of the source of the problem.
I think you can see there is not going to be a quick fix to the infrastructure because of the amount of time these problems have accumulated and the lack of a huge pot of gold.
Tyre Rees is the former Springfield traffic engineer, now retired.
In a few years, Illinois’ state universities will be ghosts of their former selves. Large numbers of faculty are retiring on July 1 when SURS is effectively cutting pensions by 8 percent. An even larger number will leave if and when the governor’s plan, or something equally draconian, is passed. Illinois faculty will have to leave, because unlike non-state workers, they are not permitted to participate in Social Security; their pensions and savings are all they have in retirement. Once the legislature decimates faculty pensions, Illinois universities will no longer be able to compete for quality faculty. Any potential faculty looking for a university position will choose one elsewhere, where participation in Social Security and a decent pension are offered – not Illinois.
A while back I met the Honorable Mayor Houston and made a few suggestions to him. First, he should put all city cars and trucks on natural gas. On Capitol Avenue by the library, allow handicap parking there. There is plenty of room. Also, on West Monroe by Grant school people double park and traffic backs up for half a mile. If they would make Monroe and Washington one way to Veterans Parkway it would help.
On Capitol there are a lot of empty places. They could put a two-hour meter on them for the businesses along Capitol.
Dear friends at our wonderful state capital, which is called Madiganville. I have long complained that this state is ill served by obsequious folks of both parties. I have placed many calls to the weak inspector general and his flunky. They will not speak to me and regard me as a pest. I want to ask questions about what is going on there, but they ignore me. Rep. Tom Cross does return my calls. A miracle!
As for the Democratic thugs of my hometown of Chicago, they bow to the whims of the speaker, as does Gov. Quinn. Now we have Sen. Dick Durbin, also known as Mr. Mediocrity, just collecting our money. These folks comprise a moribund gathering of frauds.
Joe F. Priola
Sleepy Hollow, Ill.