Friday, July 12, 2013

Reporting a road condition or safety hazard - does it work?

Newark area bicyclists have a few options for reporting hazardous road and pathway conditions. Below are the 3 most common:

DelDOT Report a Road Condition
DelDOT Public Relations monitors this on-line form, and forwards the maintenance alert to the appropriate district. In my own experience, success varies depending on the nature and challenge involved. But more times than not, they answer the call - it just might take a few weeks. Debris in the shoulder is probably the most common request, but hopefully, sweeping reform is on the way.

Newark Report a Road Condition
A new service under the direction of Tom Coleman, Assistant Director of Newark's Public Works Department. Requires log-in to access. No personal experience as of yet, but several fixes (potholes, cracks, etc) were quickly performed upon email request after Tom took office. Evidence suggests that the City is putting a sharper focus on bicycle safety, and is even willing to perform surface repairs on DelDOT maintained roads. Thanks so much, Tom!

New Castle County Property Maintenance Complaint System
Many are unaware of this valuable service offered by New Castle County to address code violations. Mainly for issues related to adjacent property, including pathway maintenance, overgrowth, litter/debris, etc. A description of the violation is recorded, then assigned a case number and investigator. The case number can be used to track the complaint as it moves through the system, and to monitor it's progress.

I successfully used the NCC service in the repair of potholes and clearing of loose gravel along the Route 72 sidepath just south of I95. Only drawback was the turn around time. After about 6 months, and despite tracking results showing "still in progress", I had given up hope anything would happen.

 
Then, one day out of the blue, the gravel was removed, potholes filled, and there was a confirmation email from NCC closing the case. Thank you, NCC!

In the interest of safety and consideration, bicyclists should bookmark these reporting services and actively use them. If a property owner is involved, as seen above, it is best that they be contacted first and given the opportunity to rectify the situation.

Do you have any experience with the above services? Tell us in the comments section below.

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