Thursday, May 15, 2014

One Last Winter Chore - Potholes

Before I get to today's topic, I want to let everyone know that Central Presbyterian Church will be auctioned off tomorrow in an online auction between 11 am and 3 pm. You can follow the bidding at You might remember that I blogged about Central Pres back in February (read it here). The church's stained glass windows were created by a nationally-acclaimed artist, who also designed the windows for the Washington National Cathedral, Valley Forge Memorial Chapel, and historic Riverside Church in Manhattan. Let's all hope whoever buys the place doesn't do so with the thought of demolishing it. That would be a huge loss in and of itself, let alone coming on top of the loss of Montgomery Hospital.

Potholes on Oak Street  
But today... hey, it's the middle of May. Memorial Day weekend is just over a week away. Time to finish off that one last pesky winter chore--filling potholes. Yes, we can all agree that this was a bad winter, especially hard on our roads. We understand that it might take a few months for public works to get around to all the potholes in town, but honestly, now that I'm starting to see efforts at patching these voids, I have to say that the patch jobs so far seem totally inadequate.

I traversed Hamilton yesterday, between James and Airy, which was pretty torn up this winter. Lots of little patches, but only the bottoms of the holes. There are still too many sunken-in spots and too much crumbled macadam around them. You might not break an axle now, but your car's alignment won't last long if you have to travel that street every day. Rocks could fly up and damage your or other cars. On a dark night, you could easily hit a depression the wrong way and lose control. And those crumbled spots will just get worse with traffic and rain.

I was on Buttonwood between James and Sterigere, and Harding Blvd between Sterigere and Fornance. Same problems, not quite as bad as Hamilton, but still, the patches aren't enough.

Every time I've headed downtown the last 2 months, I've had to dodge the growing craters on Swede Street between Pine and Elm. These are right in the middle of the street, so you can't avoid the holes. Lots of people double park in that stretch, making it all the more hazardous. And the half block between the library and Elm is chopped up and bumpy.

One of many bad patch jobs 
I've been hearing from West End residents that the absolute worst place is Oak Street, so I went over to check it out for myself. Between Noble and Buttonwood, it looks like the street was bombed. Shae Ashe sent me the photos of Oak that I'm posting here. Trust me, the images don't do justice to the reality. It's a wonder no one's been hurt there. The residents there have called in to public works multiple times about the problem and so far, they've been ignored.

Of course, I haven't been all over town, so I have to assume there are other bad spots that I haven't seen. If there are potholes that need fixing in your neighborhood, add a comment below or on Facebook or email me--give me the exact stretch of road in Norristown that needs fixing--and I'll update this Diary entry.

What worries me most is that those patches I've seen so far might be all we'll get. That's not good enough. Okay, so maybe we can't afford to completely redo streets, but make those patches adequate enough to level the area, smooth out the bumps, clear loose rocks, and prevent further deterioration of the street. We expect our taxes to pay for basic infrastructure and pothole repair is as basic as it gets.

A few decades ago, people used to say that Norristown was the speed bump on the way to King of Prussia. At the moment, it's literally true.

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