Monday, May 30, 2016

Wormholes, rabbit holes, ratholes and now this big-ass Caesar Hole on Spring Street Hill.

Is there money left in the Sinking Fund? (not my joke; thanks to my gag writer)

It's déjà vu all over again. At around 4:00 p.m.on Sunday, at-large councilman Al Knable and family began posting photos on social media.


Spring Street Hill, New Albany CLOSED until further notice...

THANKS to Mickey Thompson and NAPD for a quick response on a busy Memorial Day.

Pictures below document what the street looked like around noon today when I called the Street Department. Four hours later we have what you see below.

Initial assessment is likely to take a few days. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime please STAY AWAY as this is still UNSTABLE and should be considered DANGEROUS.

On June 29, 2005 at a special Board of Works session held at night at the Calumet Club (small wonder James Garner got beat), someone in the crowd asked a question and received an answer, paraphrased.

Q. Will the road up Spring Street hill be reopened?
A. Yes, if we can find the money necessary to make repairs the right way.

By 2009, the "right way" had been found, and the usual suspects at Jacobi Toombs and Lanz designed repairs to the tune of $1.3 million.

In April of 2011, Spring Street Hill was closed again after it was revealed that no one involved with the "right" 2009 repairs had considered the possibility it might rain. A year and $660,000 later, Bob Caesar declared a "state of copacetic," which abruptly ended earlier today.

Following (in reverse order) are NAC links to those classic 2012 municipal deliberations. What happens next is anyone's guess, but if you're keeping track: To date, that's $2 million for less than a half-mile of Spring Street Hill, and around $3 million for less than a mile of Main Street beautification.

Somewhere right now, Dan Coffey is salivating, but he (and we) must wait until next Monday.

Hey, kids -- BOOMTOWN!


June 3, 2012

Nash asks: If those who benefit must pay for it, then why not toll Spring Street hill?

NASH: A little bit of everything, by Matt Nash

... A few weeks ago the New Albany City Council failed to pass a non-binding resolution condemning the use of tolls to fund the Ohio River Bridges project. After being the first municipal government to speak out against tolls a couple of years ago, this time the vote went the other way. A couple of the councilmen spoke out about how much our community needed both of these bridges and the only fair way to pay for it is with tolls.

The resolution was in response to a study that shows the downtown bridge will have a negative impact on the lives of Hoosiers and the people of our state will end up paying a disproportionate amount of the cost of these bridges.

Interestingly the same city council voted to spend $660,000 of taxpayer money to fix the problems with Spring Street Hill. This after spending $1.3 million on the road just a few years ago. The road allows better access to a select few in the neighborhood of Silver Hills. Had the pro-toll councilman used the same logic as the “Bridges Authority” that those who benefit should be the ones who pay for the project, they could have just made Spring Street Hill a toll road too.


May 23, 2012

Bob Caesar's commute is about to get easier.

... Councilman Bob Caesar, who sponsored the council measure and is a Silver Hills resident, said the reopening of Spring Street Hill road will be a “big deal” for the community.

“We just wanted to make sure this was done once and done right,” he said ...

... City officials firmly stated their intentions to install and enforce vehicle weight limits for Spring Street Hill Road. “I’d even recommend a camera on that hill to keep heavy trucks off of the hill,” Caesar said.

quotes from the paper (Suddeath)


May 18, 2012 (Gillenwater)

Separate but equal but not really (wink, wink).

The City of New Albany has recently spent an amount on Spring Street Hill Road nearly double the state's total $1.2 million annual TARC outlay to fund transit in the whole of Southern Indiana.

That poorly located, two-fifths mile of engineering accident serving a very limited but very specific population was deemed a high priority necessity for all the goofy reasons Bob "adverse and disproportionate are good, right?" Caesar and a handful of well placed others could muster.

But cut multiple bus routes on which other parts of the city depend for work, groceries, trips to the doctor, etc.? Shucks and shrugs all around. Sorry about your luck.

Given that we're about to spend another million or so on Governor's Balls and the like patting ourselves on the back for 200 years of ongoing something or other, isn't it about time we address the blatant, class-based attitudes that fuel our politics as much now as they did when Washington C. DePauw owned our government?


March 7, 2012

On engineering and the devaluation of 1,000-year weather events.

At Monday's city council meeting, as the discussion turned to how many dollars per inch it will require to restore Spring Street Hill to viability as Councilman Bob Caesar's fastest route home, engineers became weathermen.

New Albany council wants review of Spring Street Hill work; $540,000 project receives initial approval, but second opinion requested, by Daniel Suddeath (News, Tribune and Pop Up Generator)

The city hoped to receive aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, as Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz President Jorge Lanz said almost 9 inches of rain fell on Silver Hills between April 19 and May 2 of 2011.

But FEMA denied the city’s request earlier this month, though administration officials declared Monday they will appeal the decision within 60 days. Lanz said the “historic” problems associated with the road were part of FEMA’s decision to deny the request, though he said much their reasoning for the ruling was still “cloudy” ...

... Lanz said crews had to dig about 30 feet into the ground before the ravine was discovered, and he added that kind of testing is unusual for such a project.

The drainage installed met city standards, but it’s not feasible to design a system capable of dealing with a 1,000 year storm like April’s rain event was, he continued.

“For this kind of structure, I don’t know what else we could have done,” Lanz said.

If umbrellas were necessary, were they to protect us from rain, or exaggerations? A blog reader delved into the archives:

Indiana Precipitation Records

Driest location ranked by lowest annual average precipitation: English, southern Indiana, 49.72"

Wettest location ranked by highest annual average precipitation: Monroeville, northeast Indiana, 33.74"

Snowiest location ranked by highest annual average snowfall: South Bend, northern Indiana, 76.6"

State precipitation maximum for 24 hours - Princeton, southwest Indiana, 8/6/1905, 10.50"

State precipitation maximum for 1 year - Marengo, southern Indiana, 1890, 97.38"

State snow maximum for 24 hours - Seymour, south-central Indiana, 12/22-23/2004, 29.0"

State snow maximum for 1 season - South Bend, northern Indiana, 1977-1978, 172.0"

It's hard to believe that nine inches of rain falling in a 13 day period qualifies as a "1,000 year storm" - especially when you consider 10.5 inches fell in 24 hours in 1905 in Princeton, Indiana.

Indeed, and another friend asks: "Didn't this much rain fall in two days back in 1997?" In the end, it probably doesn't matter. Caesar wants his handy commute fixed -- and that's not a request.

... Caesar, who is sponsoring the measure, agreed that a second opinion is “imperative” but doesn’t believe it will greatly delay the project to obtain a review.

“I think this could happen in a very short amount of time,” he said.


March 2, 2012 (Gillenwater)

Head for the hill: Caesar leading another self-serving charge.

Despite Bob Caesar's silly claims to the contrary, Spring Street Hill Road is not a major city artery. It's a low volume, local access road serving a very limited number of residents who have not one but two alternate routes for entering and exiting their relatively isolated neighborhood(s).

The entire path in question is approximately 1,900 feet long. If Caesar's latest proposition receives council approval, the imprudently championed and poorly executed 2/5 of a mile update will have cost citizens $1,000 per foot, assuming the same engineers who didn't sufficiently account for the watershed last time get it right this time.

But Bob lives up there, so nothing's more important.

New Albany’s Spring Street Hill fix to be heard, by Daniel Suddeath

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany City Council will be asked Monday to appropriate $540,000 for Spring Street Hill Road repairs, which if approved, would bring the total amount of money spent on stabilizing the street to nearly $1.9 million.

The road was again closed by the city in May after a section of the street shifted following heavy rains last spring. In 2009, Spring Street Hill was reopened after being shutdown for several years due to erosion problems.

More than $1.3 million in tax-increment financing, or TIF, proceeds were poured into the project three years ago, as engineers and officials believed the road that connects the city’s West End to Silver Hills was finally stable.

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