It helps to be in the roomApril 16th, 2012 by Steven Gardner
The pictures you see here are of recently, as in the last week, filled potholes at the base of speed humps on Marion Avenue in Bremerton. For a long time the potholes here have been a nasty encounter in front of the Frances Haddon Morgan Center.
The timing of the fix might be instructive. On Wednesday the Bremerton City Council, acting in its role as the Benefit Transportation District board, met to discuss how to spend the money the city will soon begin getting on Bremerton resident vehicle license tabs. In July residents, Bremerton city residents only, will begin paying $20 a year extra when they go to license their cars or trucks. That money will go to the city’s street fund. The district board will decide each year how to spend it.
Wednesday’s meeting was an effort to set priorities before money begins trickling in. Maintenance was the overwhelming choice, which might seem obvious to you, but there were other options that could get some play in the future as well. And by maintenance the focus is on the city’s Pavement Management Index, a scoring system that grades the conditions of a road. Other factors the council considered were how well traveled a road is; cost to repair; proximity to schools, parks and hospitals; whether there is a bus or bike route; the complaint frequency; geographic equity and coordination with other projects.
The pavement index was the overwhelming pick, with a preference for roads considered “fair” or better. Roads rated worse than fair will need more than a little maintenance, so much that any TBD money would quickly be exhausted. The second-strongest priority was a scoring system put together by the city’s Public Works department, allowing that city staff will often have the best idea what needs work in town.
As part of the conversation Carol Arends, city councilwoman, opened a discussion about potholes. “Every district has potholes,” she said, launching into a description of the ones pictured here. They’re a danger, she said. Other council members knew of this particular set of holes.
Jim Orton, streets manager, said his department knew of the problem here and that the site was on the city’s list for fixing.
The city has spent $10,000 on potholes this year and plans to spend about $100,000 by the end of the year. “They’re hard to keep up with,” Orton said. “But we’re trying to fix as much as we can.”
On Sunday I happened to be driving down Marion and noticed the holes Arends complained about had been filled in.