You’ve dodged them a hundred times, the ubiquitous orange cones that now passes for street repair. Seems they’ve figured out the key to saving money on street repairs. It’s a clever idea, which I bet after a flat tire, broken axle or some pavement related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you’re wishing you’d thought of yourself.
You know, Bosnia after 4 years of war has better roads than Chicago. I’m in Germany about twice a year and when I return heralding the superior state of roads in Western Europe invariably some schlub who has never been outside the Continental US says something profound like, “Them Europ-eopeans pays a whole bunch more in taxes. I knows, I heard it on that FOX News!”
To which I reply, “Dearest Schlub, hell yeah they pay more in taxes, and not only do they expect and demand more for the money…they get it! Like freakin’ roads you can actually drive on! ”
Two months ago I drove all over Italy, including the back-est roads I could find. Guess what? Not a single pot or sink hole.
The neighbors and I have been fighting a frutrating battle with the local alderman to repave Ravenswood between Granville and Devon. Alderman Debra Silverstein’s office in the 50th Ward has all but turned a deaf ear to the owners and voters along this stretch of road. They don’t seem to care that we fight daily to keep jokers, hookers and all manner of goofballs out of the neighborhood because they see it as the city maintains it: a back alley.
We’re even willing to channel our own resources to beautify the stretch along the metra tracks, clean up trash, plant flowers or put in a community garden. But the city seems intent on maintaining the street like an alley, to their own detriment. Cleaning up the street would significantly raise property values and generate more critically needed taxes. It would likewise attract business, and in turn more revenue for the city. So why won’t they martial the minimal resources to fix the damn street? But see, I’m not as clever as all thems big pol-ee-ticians in city all, with all their high fallutin’ book learning.” But I can string a few words together an I am a persistent and sarcastic SOB.
On a bike ride the other day, dodging potholes, bouncing over bladder-busting patchwork and those F&%$-ing orange cones, I realized I was looking at this all wrong. Rather than upgrade Ravenswood by say, paving it and putting in a curb, the city understands it would be easier to simply allow the rest of the citiy’s streets to degrade to the level of Ravenswood.
See, if Ravenswwod is at the bottom of what would be considered acceptable than we’d have a legitimate argument for having our tax-our dollars actually work for us. But, if the whole city is driving on a moon-like surface, like Ravenswood is now, then we simply have no argument. Let the streets go even further and Ravenswood becomes the best damned street in Chicago, and then what would I have to complain about? Brilliant, Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Silverstein. Brilliant!