Cleveland’s New Plan for Neighborhood Road Repairs is Underway

In 2014, bad weather left a large hole in Franklin Boulevard. (ideastream file photo)
In 2014, bad weather left a large hole in Franklin Boulevard. (ideastream file photo)
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By Joanna Richards

Some Cleveland residents living on long-neglected, pothole-ridden streets may finally be seeing road repair crews in their neighborhoods this construction season, as the city’s new approach to residential street maintenance gets underway.

The new plan boosts funding for neighborhoods road repairs, from $4.4 million last year to $7.5 million this year – and up to $10 million in 2016.

Instead of funding each City Council ward equally, the plan calls for repairing the 5 percent of roads in the worst condition throughout the city each year.

The city is beginning to improve and update its data on road conditions to better prioritize repairs, according to Matt Spronz, the mayor’s capital projects director.

“We’re trying to put more data into the decision-making process…and then putting guidelines in place” so that decision-makers – City Council members, city administrators – “stay within what the data is telling them,” he said.

Councilman Brian Cummins, who represents the Clark Fulton, Stockyard and other west side neighborhoods, welcomed the new approach.

“You know, vacant properties on a block, or potholes on your street – this has an immediate impact on how you feel about your city, how you feel about your community,” he said.

Cummins said last year, his ward received about $278,000 to fix neighborhood roads. This year, it got $565,000.  That’s the third-highest ward allocation, and Cummins said it reflects how bad many of the roads are on his turf.

He said the city is playing catch-up after years of neglect.

“I mean, people are calling me, for example, and asking me, ‘Why isn’t my street done?’ And I can literally go to my ranking spreadsheet and tell them, ‘Well, in fact, you know, your street’s one of the 35 that are ranked “D” or worse, but we just don’t have enough money to do it. But it should be done within the next five years.’”

That may not be quite the timeline people would like, but Cummins said he’s glad he can at least now tell residents what to expect. The plan aims to resurface every residential roadway every 20 years.

Cummins said as in many cities, Cleveland’s population loss has made it harder to maintain services. He’s worried the increased funding may not be sustainable.

A city spokesman says a new feature on the city’s website will let people look up the approximate timeframe for repairs themselves, and should be available Monday.

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