Yearly Archives

2010

Citizen Pothole Reporting Via Phone Apps Take Off, But Can Street Maintenance Departments Keep Up?

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The most modern of innovations, smartphone apps, are rapidly becoming a means to fix one of humankind’s oldest problems: potholes. And why not? Regardless of whether you were a fan of Isaac Asimov or the television show “Bewitched,” the futuristic/magical ability to point at a problem and fix it instantly (well, almost) is instinctively appealing. To do that, there are now several apps that combine the basic smart phone tools…

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First Cold, then Snow, then Potholes – The Cycle of the Seasons Begins Anew for 2011 in Philly, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

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The storms that hit the Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington D.C. area in mid-February 2010 were largely predicted by the Farmers’ Almanac, months before they happened. Editor Sandi Duncan acknowledges their predictions were a bit off – they didn’t expect it would land as far south as it did, which was attributed to a stronger-than-expected El Nino effect – but she uses the case to support their veracity at long-range weather forecasters. The potholes that…

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Winter 2011 May Bring Average Conditions – And Extraordinary Potholes – to the NYC Tri-State Region

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The La Nina weather pattern is in force in the Pacific Ocean off Chile, and that means less snow in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state region. At least, that’s what the National Weather Service is predicting – a forecast that more or less concurs with the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which makes its predictions based on sunspots, tidal waves and astrological positions. Says the Almanac: “Colder than normal winter temperatures” will prevail,…

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2010-2011 WINTER WEATHER PREDICTIONS FOR NEW ENGLAND: Yankee Ingenuity Fixes Little Potholes Now to Prevent Much Bigger Potholes Later (Part 2 of 2)

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The weather predictions for the first part of the winter of 2010-2011 are coming in. Without question, in New England there will be snow, cold, rain, rain-snow mixes interspersed with fair and warmer days. In Massachusetts, there will be less snow than in Maine – mostly because Maine is bigger and further north. But suffice it to say, with precipitation, snow or rain or sleet come hazardous road conditions –…

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San Francisco Road Repairs May Get Boost Through Proposition AA Votes on November 2

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In a year characterized by voters who resist government growth and increased taxes, seven of nine San Francisco Bay-area counties are proposing auto registration fee hikes in a voter referendum. Wherever Proposition AA passes – if it passes – drivers in those counties will pay an additional $10 per year. An additional $18 vehicle registration surcharge is being voted on in a separate statewide proposition (Proposition 21). What will the…

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2010-2011 Winter Weather Predictions for New England: Last Year’s Potholes Get Fixed – Or Get Bigger (Part 1 of 2)

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We are not sure why there are competing farmers in the world of Almanacs, and why neither of them had the good sense to set up their own cable weather channel. Instead of Jim Cantore standing in sideways wind and talking about storm surges during every hurricane, we might have gotten someone losing their John Deere hat while talking about the benefits of rain. But it is reassuring that year…

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Landlord Worried About Broken Sidewalks, Finds Permanent Fix With Cold Mix

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Few words send chills up the spine of landlords like “premises liability.” This is an area of personal injury law that enables an injured party – renters, guests of renters, even delivery people – to sue the owner of the property for failure to provide a safe environment. Every day, there are 25,000 slip, trip and fall accidents in the U.S., which account for 21 percent of all ER visits, according…

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The 2010 Pothole Review

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Potholes are in the news, twelve months out of the year – which defies the popular perception that potholes are simply the result of winter freeze-thaw cycles. In some cases, the newsworthy potholes of summer are holdovers from six months prior, but even winter-free tropical regions get chuckholes from moisture, solar heat and traffic wear and tear. This is the pothole report from the summer of 2010. It was a…

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Why do they call them potholes?

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We call them “potholes.” And when we hit a particularly deep, jarring one, we may refer to them as %@!*ing potholes. These abrupt breaks in pavement come in all shapes and sizes, cause thousands of dollars of damage to cars, trucks and buses, and they’re a growing fiscal problem for local, state and national budgets. But where does the name come from? Folklore has it that the famous road builders…

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Will it fly?: Pennsylvania’s Rendell Proposes $1 Billion in taxes to fix roads

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With 10,000 miles of the state’s roads in poor condition, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell thinks it should raise a billion dollars in new revenue from taxes on drivers and oil companies. In an interesting twist, he wants to legally bar oil companies from passing along their increased costs to consumers. For the lame-duck (term limited) Democratic governor, it may seem a move rather late in his eight-year tenure. The state’s…

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Highway Funding Affects You, Your Clients

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Chamber members’ clients rely on more than a safe roadway to travel from home to a business for the service or product they seek. They also rely on household income to make their purchases. In light of current legislation, not only do transportation funding woes jeopardize your customers’ safe travel, newly introduced woes jeopardize customers’ pocketbooks with trickle-down effect from higher user fees. Here’s what’s going on with transportation funding,…

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Asphalt Repair — Fixing the roads is possible, economically beneficial

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Anyone who ever leaves home knows the problems with roads, highways, parking lots and driveways. Most aging pavement in America, due to use, time and neglect, is in dire need of asphalt repair. But highway maintenance is so lagging that many people assume it is a losing battle. That assumption is wrong. Fixing any kind of pavement, public or private, as it begins to show the signs of deterioration proves…

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Young people driving less now – but what about in 5 to 10 years?

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Advertising Age magazine reports (May 31, 2010) statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation that show an overall decrease in driving by Americans under the age of 30. For example, in 1978 no less than 92 percent of 19-year-olds had a driver’s license; by 2008, that number slipped to 77 percent. The magazine also reports the share of miles driven by younger people has fallen over the past 15 years….

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Seven things you should know about gas taxes in 2010

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American highway construction and repair is dependent on the Highway Trust Fund, which is largely generated through taxes on auto and truck fuel consumption. The tax has risen significantly in the past 30 years, but fuel taxes imposed by the Federal government date back to the Depression era. This is a primer on how the gas tax works, where the money is spent, how gas taxes were used to reduce…

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Who is on board with passenger rail in Florida?

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Proposed commuter rail projects in Florida – SunRail (SR), linking Jacksonville with Orlando, and the Florida High Speed Rail (FHSR), which would connect Tampa with Miami via Orlando – offer a future vision of green travel in the Sunshine State. But several questions need to be answered before billions of dollars are spent to build either or both lines:

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Future Transportation Funding: Road Repair vs. Special Roads for Bicyclists

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Are these two interests in conflict? America’s 196 million motorists want smooth pavement and dependably flowing traffic. About 20.9 million people actively bike, about five percent of whom (1 million) use their bicycles to commute to work. Yet, as scarce federal transportation dollars are divvied up, some call for a full 10 percent to be allocated to accommodate bicycles and walkers.

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Focus On Preservation

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As States Turn to Pavement Preservation, Road Repair Methods Improve The economics affecting road building and road repair in the current economy are pretty straightforward. Costs for everything are up, funding is down – and road disintegration continues its natural course, unabated.

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Economic Dependence On Good Roads

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Pavement Preservation a Smart Road to Better Economies A highway network is a lot like the human cardiovascular system. Good pavement and minimal construction zones keep a local economy moving, healthy and growing, but potholes and slow-moving construction projects are like plaque – they render regional commerce sclerotic.

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Why Can’t They Make Better Roads?

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The problem is all the old streets and highways. But thanks to the SHRP program, better fixes are here. Man first went to the moon 40 years ago, and today Space Shuttle flights are commonplace. Scientists are beginning to grow spare body parts from stem cells, and the computing power packed into our cell phones continues to evolve at a dizzying pace. So why are there so many problems with…

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Pavement Preservation: A Proactive Approach to Road Repairs

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Introduction: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  It’s a popular cliche that, in the current economic climate especially, holds significant bearing on how people spend their money.  In an attempt to stretch dollars already spent, there is a tendency to postpone maintenance until the last possible moment.  For example, a car driving down the road with squeaking brakes.  So long as they aren’t grinding, the driver is content wearing…

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