Drivers heading south down Haines road under the I-275 overpass have for years been subjected to a very rough ride as they entered the city. The road was neglected and getting progressively more and more rough. The city, which has owned the rights and the responsibility to maintain this road, simply didn’t do so. In fact, it didn’t even know that the road was its responsibility for 28 years! Yes, that’s right, back when Cindy Lauper was crooning about girls wanting to have fun, the city was notified that they had responsibility to maintain Haines road at that location. They were told again in 1990. However, it took one persistent citizen to make them figure out they needed to fix the road – yours truly, the Sun Beam Times Founder, Dr. David McKalip.
The city of St. Petersburg failed to maintain it for 28 years, because it simply forgot that it owned that portion of the road!
The road was in terrible shape and very hard on cars. It was clearly a safety risk as well as cars approached the treacherous section of random humps and dips and rips and deep cracks. The effort to repair the road began in August 2011 when Dr. McKalip contacted Michael Frederick of the Traffic safety department. Good news, the road area was ready for upgrades to medians and traffic control paint on the road, all to be paid for by the city. All planned renovations were immediately adjacent to the actual bad stretch of road. Dr. McKalip was informed that the road could and likely would be repaired at the same time. Sure enough, along came the expensive median and painting project, but the rough and damaged road section was completely ignored. That’s right, the city now had the finest looking median and pain on the old, damaged road. Dr. McKalip informed the city of the continued bad patch of road, but was advised that here was “some confusion”. Apparently, one city department didn’t agree with the other city department about who actually owned the road. It wasn’t until the Michael Frederick of the Transportation and parking division, persisted and advised the “Stormwater, Pavement and traffic operations” department that yes, indeed, they DO own the road! The city has simply forgotten that it owned it since 1984 and failed to maintain it – for 28 years. The letter showing the city owned it is below.
Citizens should indeed be grateful for a few things. First, Michael Frederick a well known neighborhood traffic advisor insisted on getting the job done, even if it was out of his department. Kudos to him and his boss Joe Kubicki who pushed the issue. Of course, citizens should also be grateful that the road is smooth to drive now.
But citizens should also learn a couple of vital lessons.
- The city has too much bureaucracy. So much that it doesn’t even know what it owns and what it is supposed to do to ensure the most basic services to its citizens.
- The city will spend money on a feel good median project, before it will repair the most egregious road problem…lying immediately next to the pretty new median!
- The citizens are not getting the kind of service they need from the city and should expect more.
- Citizens can get what they need from the city…as long as they are willing to persistently interact with government bureaucracies. Maybe there should be an easier way.
- Your tax dollars are going to things other than your needs, and going to fund things like beautification, growing pension and health benefits. This hurts your roads.