Driving our city’s fair streets has been a real challenge lately. It seems like all the paving jobs have come due at the same time. I knew that ODOT (the Ohio Department of Transportation) was willing to spend a whole lot of Ohio tax money rebuilding North Broadway, North Main and East Main streets, but I didn’t realize they would all be done at the same time until I was headed north one day.
As I came up West Main I saw menacing equipment on the Circle. But I’m almost a native here, so that posed no problem. I turned off on Sycamore and then onto West Water. As I approached North Broadway, a big blackened machine was crossing the Water Street intersection, grinding the current roadway into nothing as it lumbered up to the Circle. I got a better look at the Circle and realized I would have been better off if I had circled the Circle.
It was too late then, and I really didn’t want to follow that crushing machine so I went through the obstacle course, and finally made it to the City Building. They warned me not to come back into town over East Main because the milling machine would be there later that day tearing up the bridge.
As I left the City Building I watched the Rescue Squad, with sirens wailing, head out East Main, so I decided to go over to Fourth Street and out Ohio Street thinking how lucky I was to know the streets in my old home town so well.
Yep, the streets I knew, but the Police Department speed-check schedule I didn’t know. There sat the cruiser, just over the bridge. Fortunately you can’t really get up much speed on Fourth Street because of all the four—way stops, so I just waved more confidently than I felt, and went on.
Much later that day, after I forgot they were tearing up the East Main St. Bridge, I had the dubious joy of rattley-banging across the newly milled surface. Boy, that wakes you up.
By the time I had to go out North Broadway it looked like a war zone. It reminded me of the Dodge-Em cars at King’s Island, but instead of dodging cars you dodged orange barrels and protruding manhole covers. The city could probably have made some money if they had closed it off and turned it into an amusement park ride for a few days.
So last week I headed out to run a few errands that shouldn’t have taken much time at all. But surprise! Our Street Department was very busy improving our streets—a block at a time. By the time I finished at the grocery, the streets on the route to get there were closed for resurfacing and I had to find a different path back home.
“We have survived this before,” I tell myself. Just last year when I was campaigning for a seat on City Council, our street was resurfaced. It seemed like it took forever. We had orange barrels and even orange plastic fencing out front for weeks.
Actually that turned out to be a blessing. As I walked the First Ward, knocking on doors and introducing myself to voters, when people asked where I lived, I just told them I lived behind all the orange barrels on Vine Street. Most of them seemed to know just where that was.
I know all this “improving” can be a real pain in the neck, among other places. But it’s like redecorating or remodeling your home. It’s a terrible thing when you’re doing it, but really nice once it’s done.
EDS NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on October 25, 2000.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.