Kent’s City Engineer says the question he gets more than any other is “when will my street get fixed?”
Keep in mind that stretched end-to-end the City of Kent’s street network would run from downtown Kent to Morgantown West Virginia — that’s a lot of mileage to keep maintained and a lot of dollars needed to do it.
Under Jim’s leadership and Council’s support, the City has doubled the amount of funding dedicated to street repairs and while the turn around is slow, we’ve started to see Kent’s street condition rebound in a positive direction.
In October, Council approved a little extra paving on Mogadore Road in partnership with Portage County (south of SR261) — and Jim has lined up state funding for another segment of Mogadore Road (north of SR261 to Cherry Street) next year — and he’s working with the Ohio Department of Transportation to accelerate the repaving of SR59 in Kent in the next couple of years to go along with his plans to repave a few residential streets in Kent each year.
Jim will discuss street conditions in Kent during his November presentation to City Council summarizing the capital projects of 2018 but in the meantime, here’s his quick reply to his most common question.
At some point most of us have said (or thought), when will My Street get fixed!
It’s a question we get on a regular basis and it is always a valid question. With 196 lane miles of street in the City of Kent, the streets are our single largest asset. But while being our largest asset, they are also our largest liability. Being the largest liability, the streets use more of the City’s capital resources than any other City asset. Therefore, prioritizing these resources is key to successfully maintaining our streets.
The following are some of the key variables used in deciding which streets get fixed first.
Since 2002, every 2 to 3 years we hire an outside firm to impartially rate the condition of our streets. The ratings are based on a national standard ratings system with each street block given a rating from 0 to 100. A rating of zero would be for a completely failed street and 100 for a newly paved street. Overall, our street network has seen modest improvement since its low point in 2009. This reflects the prioritization of the streets and sidewalks by City Council over that time period. Our staff uses these ratings as the 1st step in prioritizing which streets get paved.
By and far the most cost effective way to keep our streets in good condition is to perform preventative maintenance. Therefore, some amount of the street funding is set aside to perform annual preventative maintenance on our streets. This includes things like pot hole filling, pavement repairs, crack seal and seal coat to name a few. These repairs typically happen quickly and many times aren’t noticed until they are done.
“Show Me the Money”…..
The funding of our streets do not come from the City tax payers alone. There are several other avenues (no pun intended) that fund the repair of our streets. As an example, we all pay federal and state gas taxes when we fill up at the pump. These taxes and other funding sources are used to complete work on our most traveled streets. This not only includes the State Routes (43, 59 and 261), but others like Summit Street, Middlebury Road and Mogadore Road to name a few. So when we can get access to those additional funds we take advantage of them, making our dollar go farther.
So the next time you wonder when will _________ Street get fixed, consider the above factors as it pertains to your street.
Also, I encourage you to call us at 330-678-8106 and we’ll let you know how the street fits into the above factors and let you know what’s in store for your street.
Progress continues on planning for the N. Water Street Better Block event scheduled to be held on September 29th, so mark your calendars, the one month countdown has begun.
One bonus from all the recent interest in N. Water Street has been the local business owners starting to refer to N. Water Street as the “Mill District.”
Admittedly the Mill is closed but the iconic grain towers aren’t going anywhere soon so the Mill District brand should have plenty of life left in it.
Lots of interesting things gaining momentum in the Mill District — I’m excited to see what ideas will gain traction coming out of the Better Block event.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the Mill District web site that one of the local businesses put together. Great stuff.
With Kent State students returning to campus, there’s a buzz of activity around town.
As students settle in to their rental units the City will often get questions from parents asking about problems with their son’s or daughter’s apartment — and we do our best to answer them and direct them to people that can help.
This morning the Mayor received a thank you note from a dad in Maryland who was extremely appreciative of the quick response of the Kent Fire Department to his daughter’s concern over the carbon monoxide alarm going off.
The Fire Department’s gas detection equipment quickly identified a leak in the oven and thankfully the incident ended without incident.
It’s a great reminder of the importance of keeping the carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in good working order.
Nice job to the tenants for calling and letting us know, and nice job to the Kent Fire Department for the quick response.
Jim Bowling reports that tomorrow, August 15th, should be the day that 2 way traffic on Summit Street is fully restored.
I think he’s been reluctant to over-commit to that date since it’s really up to the contractors to finish their work — but he’s confirmed for me this afternoon that it’s still looking good to re-open the new and improved Summit Street to traffic — so he have me the green light to spread the news.
There’s still contractor work that will be done, particularly the landscaping, but those activities should stay out of the street and not disrupt traffic too much.
A project of this magnitude and impact deserves some Olympic style “project ending ceremony” but for now it will be nice to pass this milestone — just in time for the students to return to campus.
Here’s some more details from the City/KSU Project Team