The impossible is possible. Monroe Street has been repaved.
Ultimately, the paving only took half a day of work. However, Philadelphia was determined to spend enough tax dollars to put a man on the moon. A brief accounting of the process that took nearly 2 years:
- 224 emails. That's not 224 emails from me. That's:
- 94 emails FROM gov officials
- 71 emails FROM water
- 59 emails FROM streets
These emails were roughly split between officials coming up with reasons to not fix the street, and others attempting to convince people in the same organization to fix the street.
- 1 website (www.phillyfail.org). Seriously, I think this site is better than the new phila.gov site that was just launched.
- 3 meetings with Councilman Mark Squilla, who I must say kept his cool the whole time. He'll never look at Legos the same way again.
- 1 article on the cover of the Philly Daily News. (Thank you Claudia!) I'd link to it, but I already hit my max on philly.com
- Patience and support from all 30 neighbors on our block, roughly 40% of whom were threatened with having their water shut off for broken laterals that the City still hasn't paid for.
- 2 public speeches to city officials and the Water Revenue Rate Board about how horrible customer support is from the Philadelphia Water Dept.
- 1 Lego structure beautifully constructed by my kids to represent the depth our street had fallen. Legos are expensive, so I'm glad we no longer have to add levels to this Lego monolith.
As I close this chapter, I'd just like to say that
Mayor Jim Kenney was horrible. He ignored us the whole time.
He'd rather focus on the a-holes in Washington rather than the potholes on our streets.
The people holding back Philly are the leaders and managers we pay with our tax dollars. Year after year, they plod on, focused on promotions and self preservation. They don't care about progress, they care about pensions.
Kenney could change this. Instead, he promotes lifetime bureaucrats like Debra McCarty to be Commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department.
Out of everyone we worked with, McCarty could have saved the City the most money by simply fixing the issue. Instead, her Water Department spent $10K on a report that was ignored, and 100s of hours debating who was responsible.
Ultimately, the street will probably sink again. The City follows a "patch, pave, and repeat" strategy rather than "repair, resolve, and rejoice".
Whether it's a water main break on Walnut Street, the reoccurring sink hole on Head House, or the pothole on your street, it's the same issues over and over.
Our City needs better leaders and more people willing to hold those leaders accountable.