In the City of Chico, the squeaky wheel gets the slobbers

17 Mar

As I predicted, City of Chico management does not have any real plan to address residential city street repairs/maintenance, just kind of a squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease kind of approach. Apparently, the neighborhood that complains the loudest will get their potholes fixed.

By Lauren Cooper, Mar 16, 2023

CHICO, Calif. – The Chico City Council has made a change to the summer road repair schedule set to fix streets such as North Cedar Street.

Other roadways, such as East Lassen Avenue, El Paso Way, E. East Avenue and Upper Park Road, are also scheduled to be fixed.

Originally the Amber Grove area was on the list as well, but was bumped after receiving more than two dozen complaints. Mayor Andrew Coolidge says that it just doesn’t look good to fix one of the better neighborhoods when there are worse areas in need.

“Yeah, it’s very noticeable. Everyone really complains about it that I talk to when I show them the street I live on,” a Chico resident said. “It’s just everyday it’s put a little bit of damage on my car especially since I don’t have a super expensive car. I really try to maintain it so the potholes have really made one of my tires kind of more flat than before on any other street I’ve lived on.”

Some told Action News Now that there are even more roads that need work.

“They should fix all the streets. I mean you can see right now. There’s a bunch of nasty roads all right, here it’s pretty turfed,” Keith Elliott said. “Also I kind of don’t want them to cause the housing is pretty cheap over here so I do kind of feel like if they fix it the price will go up.”

Action News Now reached out to Chico Public Works to see if they have any ideas for what roads will replace Amber Grove area, but they have not responded.

Amber Grove? A less than 30 year old neighborhood with houses worth over half a million? I knew it – they will ignore the older neighborhoods until all they are so crapped out they qualify for eminent domain and redevelopment under blight laws. I see that’s what they intended to do, until they got “dozens of complaints”.

And here’s what else I predicted – they will do band-aid patches – pot hole filling. That is a laugh – the older streets they’re talking about are so crapped out I don’t know if they’ll take a patch – you can hear the broken surface under your tires like old crockery. The potholes pictured in the news story aren’t even potholes – they’re voids in the street surface.

Furthermore, filling potholes in old neighborhoods is just their way of cleaning the asphalt trucks after they’ve been surfacing streets in new neighborhoods all day – getting rid of “slobbers” – leftover asphalt. Other wise it’s toxic waste, they can’t just hose the trucks out when they get back to the yard. So they scrape them out with shovels and dump them in older hoods between the yard and the jobsite. Pat-pat-pat – within hours, it will be all over the bottoms of cars.

The older streets need to be completely scraped down and resurfaced, like they just did on Mulberry Street. They only did that because they got grants, because they’re 50 years behind the Americans With Disabilities Act. Think – how’d you like to have to get around your neighborhood in a wheelchair? My neighborhood – annexed 20 years ago – doesn’t even have sidewalks or drainage.

If folks in older neighborhoods want sidewalks or drainage, they have to pay for it based on “frontage”, or the length of the street side of their property. Or wait for the city to get another grant.

And then there’s the sewer – they’ve announced they will have to tear up Downtown to replace sewer pipes over 100 years old – how about the rest of town? How does that figure in to their street repair plans?

I know, I hate being right all the time.

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