THE SQUEAKY WHEEL- Click a repair: How to fix a sidewalk via laptop
Many of the issues explored in the Squeaky Wheel require a saw, wrench, backhoe, or other tool to fix, but in Charlottesville you can now fix a sidewalk with a laptop computer. I recently reported a broken stormwater inlet in the sidewalk on Hydraulic Road near the K-Mart parking lot exit. There were broken concrete and protruding steel spikes ready to tear any tire, bicycle wheel, or human flesh that happened by.
Using a laptop to fix a sidewalk:
I used my laptop to access "charlottesville.org," selected "I want to," then "request," then "sidewalk repair" and filed a report on this hazard in need of attention. The automatic response stated that I would hear back in two business days, but it was actually several days longer than that before I got feedback.
The temporary fix:
Steven Mays of the Charlottesville Public Service division telephoned me to say he had sent out a staff member with an assortment of saws, grinding tools, and the like to do a temporary fix until a replacement unit could be installed. The photo shows the site after the temporary fix. It looks better, but it's still a bit scary. Mays said that if a temporary fix could not have been done, the area would have been marked with safety cones or other protection.
The ultimate fix:
Mays says a new stormwater inlet is scheduled for installation by summer, and he emphasized that he relies on concerned citizens to contact him about hazards they encounter. It's just not possible for staff to identify all these hazards.
So don't be shy about reporting unsafe sidewalk or other dangers in your neighborhood to Steven Mays. You, too, may discover that you can fix a sidewalk with a laptop computer.
After the laptop, after the temporary fix.
PHOTO BY PETER KLEEMAN