Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Greg Peck: Pavement problems plague Janesville

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Greg Peck
Friday, July 18, 2014

Many Janesville residents are understandably upset about the city's street maintenance.

“Just fix the potholes” is a common cry among people who bemoan proposals to spend on anything else.

The city acknowledges it's behind on street maintenance and has been exploring ways to expedite the pace in coming years at a time when finances are tight.

The city finally rebuilt that deplorable stretch of Randall Avenue south of Mt. Zion Avenue in the last month or so. Other streets in poor condition are being rebuilt this summer, as well.

But whole streets in rough shape aren't the only problems. As I bicycle to work or walk my east-side neighborhood, I see smaller problems that, without repairs, will grow into bigger problems. Three examples are in the pictures accompanying this blog. I placed a tennis ball in each picture so readers got a sense of scale.

Two holes have developed next to storm sewer grates where Ruger Avenue intersects with Fremont and Blackhawk streets. These aren't large problems, but the holes fall away into the darkness below. Some unsuspecting adult or child running over those spots in darkness could twist or break an ankle or fall. Our cairn terrier recently stepped into the smaller hole when I let her sniff for critters in the adjacent storm sewer. I won't let her get near it now, fearing she might hurt her leg.

I had a similar small sinkhole developing adjacent to the storm sewer on our corner a few years ago. It wasn't a big deal, but sticks, leaves and other debris seemed to catch there and plug up the sewer grate. I thought about calling the city but figured those crews probably have bigger problems. So I bought a gallon of blacktop repair at a home supply store, dumped it in, pounded it down, and it seemed to seal nicely.

The other picture above is of crumbling curb and gutter in one of several deteriorated spots on Parker Place, running from the back of The Gazette's downtown offices up toward the Rock County Courthouse. I imagine that, without fixes, these would expand the next time a snowplow hits them. Fortunately, this block is on the city's 2014 schedule for repairs.

I emailed the city about the Ruger Avenue holes and other concerns Tuesday but haven't gotten a response. Maybe folks at City Hall are indeed dealing with bigger issues. Where would you call if you have a similar problem adjacent to your property and want action?

Well, as The Gazette suggested in a February story about potholes, you can call the City Services Center at 608-755-3110 or visit www.ci.janesville.wi.us/potholes to fill out a “Report a Pothole” form.

I won't guarantee prompt attention, but it might be worth a try.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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