The Chainlink

During the cold and the wet I was concentrating too hard on, well, trying to stay warm and dry and thus was not paying attention to the streets.  Now that it has warmed up, it seems to be that the Streets are in MUCH worse condition this year than last year.  Maybe its just the streets that I ride on, but I noticed a significant increase in speed and comfort on the (2 blocks) section of good street on my trip.  It seems to me that even lightly used streets that were thus in pretty good shape now look like, well, a street after it has been bombed.   Debris on the street, holes, cracks, and pavement buckles.   Or has it always been this bad and I just haven't noticed.

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Only a fool would ride up Sheridan Road where the lakefront trail ends, but that road is in really bad shape after the heavy rains.

I agree, some streets have really let themselves loose it.

After getting out and biking to the same places and taking same streets I did notice a lot of new potholes, and a lot of new paved streets. Sometimes it is a win-lose situation. Just ride the street and make mental notes where the holes are so you can maybe take better detours.

I think we've gotten a lot more freeze thaw cycles this winter and the flooding and rains just made things worse.  I've noticed the streets seem to be in much poorer condition this year than last.

I agree the streets are bad this spring but I only have 3 Chicago spring seasons to compare to.  What bothers me is that People's Gas has been messing up the streets pretty badly in Rogers Park and other neighborhoods. I'm not talking about ongoing construction, but the messy concrete-like mess they fill up the road with, with sometimes 2-3 inch lips where it meets the pavement and anything but smooth. 

Repeat gripe here, but I am becoming increasingly  disgusted with what appears to be an abandonment of any safety standards in the way roads are left by the various subcontractors.



Scott Stelzer said:

I agree the streets are bad this spring but I only have 3 Chicago spring seasons to compare to.  What bothers me is that People's Gas has been messing up the streets pretty badly in Rogers Park and other neighborhoods. I'm not talking about ongoing construction, but the messy concrete-like mess they fill up the road with, with sometimes 2-3 inch lips where it meets the pavement and anything but smooth. 

There was a similar horrible patching job on 35th, in the block west of Damen. I was pretty amazed at how bad a job the patching was. But last week the whole section - I mean several blocks, got stripped for a complete re-surfacing. So I'm guessing they knew that was gonna happen so they didn't bother to do a perfect job patching it up. With any amount of luck, perhaps the same thing is going on up yonder in Rogers Park?

Scott Stelzer said:

I agree the streets are bad this spring but I only have 3 Chicago spring seasons to compare to.  What bothers me is that People's Gas has been messing up the streets pretty badly in Rogers Park and other neighborhoods. I'm not talking about ongoing construction, but the messy concrete-like mess they fill up the road with, with sometimes 2-3 inch lips where it meets the pavement and anything but smooth. 

The streets are worse this spring because we had a winter that had more freezing which causes cracks and holes in pavement.  We also had more plow activity which also damages streets.  

Follow all of that up with tons of rain and you are going to have crap streets at the start of the nice weather.  



Scott Stelzer said:

I agree the streets are bad this spring but I only have 3 Chicago spring seasons to compare to.  What bothers me is that People's Gas has been messing up the streets pretty badly in Rogers Park and other neighborhoods. I'm not talking about ongoing construction, but the messy concrete-like mess they fill up the road with, with sometimes 2-3 inch lips where it meets the pavement and anything but smooth. 

I was complaining about the same thing on facebook a while ago and a friend have a pretty detailed answer on why contractors leave that rough concrete in place:

State federal and occasional city laws prevent the maintenance crew of any department to resurface a road. The state mandates that any work that takes longer than 4 hours to complete (basically any real road work) requires bid contracts from private companies (you know because privatization helps us get our roads fixed faster right?). the city mandates that a portion of these be minority bids (what a joke). Federal law on certain city streets (US 41 and a couple of others) requires those also provide workfare access jobs. Certain patches even if they go past four hours are allowable certain others are not. 

Once they decide to bid contract then the city engineer (who is an architect and not an engineer) has to work with the state engineer (who is a doofus) and sometimes the federal engineer (army corps of engineers, otherwise known as engineers who suck so bad they couldn't get real jobs) to piece together a number of plans that were already pieced together 50 + years ago when the street was first paved. Once the design (I use that term loosely, again blame the state) process is completed they hand the designs to a project manager who is the only guy who really does something. he has to figure out how 3000 construction projects on buildings streets and lots can be organized in a way that won't shut the city down completely like a Beijing highway and will also allow all projects to move on time. 

Then the aldermen get involved through a lengthy useless and overarching process that is basically a 6 week wait for a rubber stamp approval, the Project manager approves the project and then they seek bids. A federal wank in a business suit comes in to oversee bid processes and eventually someone lies on their bid knowing full well they will take more time and charge the city more money than they say but because they are a minority (read:lying white guy) they get the project instead of the trustworthy (sort of) other construction company. By this time the city has done one of the few things they can do without breaking the law, which is grating the street (bumpy concrete) and the project gets halted because the contractor is paying his construction workers 15 dollars an hour and charging the city 100 dollars an hour for their work and the construction worker wants a 2 dollar raise which everyone knows won't happen because of __________________fill in the blank economic issue. In the meantime the contractor uses this breakdown in construction to charge the city more money to appease the unions but still won't actually pay anyone anythign except the union boss who has been in his pocket for years and eventually the street gets paved. Then instead of using the hard surface concrete that will save the city money in the long run, the only thing the useless alderman do is get black asphalt because they think black and yellow is prettier which also means we go through the same process two years from now when the road falls apart again instead of the fifteen the concrete will last. 

While msot people think this is a chicago problem this tends to be the problem of any major city and only gets fixed when either the state is rather laissez faire about how they enforce street repairs (aka Indiana) or the state is rather pernicious about making sure streets are repaired rather quickly because a bridge collapsed when they weren't aka Minnesota. And that is the big reason why it takes so long to fix a street in chicago. That and if it's before May 1st asphalt (but not concrete) has a very difficult time setting because of the air temperature.

Absolutely. And they messed up Wells and Southport, too.

h' 1.0 said:

Repeat gripe here, but I am becoming increasingly  disgusted with what appears to be an abandonment of any safety standards in the way roads are left by the various subcontractors.



Scott Stelzer said:

I agree the streets are bad this spring but I only have 3 Chicago spring seasons to compare to.  What bothers me is that People's Gas has been messing up the streets pretty badly in Rogers Park and other neighborhoods. I'm not talking about ongoing construction, but the messy concrete-like mess they fill up the road with, with sometimes 2-3 inch lips where it meets the pavement and anything but smooth. 

Because of the mild winter, we had a lot more freeze-thaw cycles than normal. A lot of streets that were in marginal condition last year are total crap now.

S said:

I think we've gotten a lot more freeze thaw cycles this winter and the flooding and rains just made things worse.  I've noticed the streets seem to be in much poorer condition this year than last.

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