My topic this week is maintaining city streets. Our city claims they are mostly protected against lawsuits because the government has immunity, but is that really true anymore?
A case history has recently surfaced in Ohio. A bicyclist has sued an Ohio city over negligence of their streets. It seems the bicyclist hit a pothole flipping his bike and leaving him paralyzed for the rest of his life. The cyclist sued the city and won a judgement of $1.25 million placing other cities on notice that they can be sued for poorly maintained streets.
As a bicyclist, I often ride on the sidewalk in town for safety reasons because the streets are so badly maintained. You can be riding along on the street and come up against a pothole with no where to turn away from because there is a car passing you at the same time — a situation that you don’t want to get yourself into.
When biking downtown, the city’s bike pathway is another issue. There are small stones on the pathway, especially on Shoreline Drive, which can force your bike to slide on the small stones and throw you off your bike. The city’s street sweeper needs to keep the bike pathways free of any debris.
The streets are improving but more needs to be done. Maybe a problem looks too big to address, but if you don’t start to address the problem, it starts to look like it is an impossible task to accomplish until you start to break it down into smaller sections. All we can hope for is that a few streets each year get paved and the momentum keeps going throughout the whole city. Visitors come into our city every year and our main thoroughfares need to look like the city cares about its town.
In your travels around town, if you spot a pothole, neglected property, street lights out, or a tree that needs attention take the time to report it. Nothing will improve until you get involved in the process of cleaning up your town. The city can’t be everywhere so they depend on citizens to take the initiative to call in a complaint so the problem can be addressed.
Until next time, contact information for reporting potholes, streetlights, and tree complaints can be found on the City’s website except for Code Enforcement, which should be on the website as well. Neglected properties can be called into Code Enforcement at 419-627-5913.