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Old 08-02-06, 09:16 PM   #1
JohnBrooking
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Local government worked for me!

Last week I finally got around to calling my town's Public Works department about a little pothole conveniently located on the right edge of the road that I've been dealing with for quite a while now. (Not really a pothole, but an oval-shaped area where the top layer of asphalt had worn off and you dropped about an inch to the underneath layer for a few feet. But no way to get around it except pulling out to the center of the travel lane, which is sometimes possible and sometimes not.) This morning, I saw that it had been patched! Yeah for my tax dollars at work!

My point in posting this is simply to encourage others to do the same if necessary.
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Old 08-02-06, 09:47 PM   #2
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Nice! My calls to get the bike lanes swept go unanswered here in beaverton.
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Old 08-03-06, 08:50 AM   #3
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Whenever I complain to the City of Carlsbad (San Diego County, CA) regarding a nonresponsive traffic signal loop detector, I get not only a very polite and apologetic response from the traffic engineering department, but also prompt resolution of the problem. Enroute to work, I can now trigger every traffic light I need to. I wish it were like this everywhere ...
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Old 08-03-06, 09:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
Whenever I complain to the City of Carlsbad (San Diego County, CA) regarding a nonresponsive traffic signal loop detector, I get not only a very polite and apologetic response from the traffic engineering department, but also prompt resolution of the problem. Enroute to work, I can now trigger every traffic light I need to. I wish it were like this everywhere ...

Impressive

Could you tell us how you go about complaining? I know that when I complain, it tends to be when I am mad which is not always the best time to complain (or talk, or post, or or or, well,you get the point...)

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Old 08-03-06, 09:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
Whenever I complain to the City of Carlsbad (San Diego County, CA) regarding a nonresponsive traffic signal loop detector, I get not only a very polite and apologetic response from the traffic engineering department, but also prompt resolution of the problem. Enroute to work, I can now trigger every traffic light I need to. I wish it were like this everywhere ...
What I don't understand is why they don't calibrate each light like that to begin with... why do we have to go about discovering all the faulty sensors and then reporting them only to have them send a crew about to fix the darn things that should have been installed correctly in the first place.

Why my ranting tone... there is a new housing area close to my office that with new streets is quite a joy to ride through... this area is a couple years old, with nice wide lanes. Yet about half of the sensors don't detect me... even the ones right in the BL placed there for bikes. I don't have a CF frame, but a nice old steel one, and yet, these new sensors do not work. How bloody difficult is it to do the job right the first time?

Oh well, thanks for the reminder... off to report some more... sigh...
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Old 08-03-06, 09:30 AM   #6
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Maybe the people that install them and the people that maintain them are two different groups of people, so that even when the maintainers learn how to tweak them properly, that knowledge is never passed on to the installers? Just a guess...
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Old 08-03-06, 09:44 AM   #7
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Maybe the people that install them and the people that maintain them are two different groups of people, so that even when the maintainers learn how to tweak them properly, that knowledge is never passed on to the installers? Just a guess...
Quite possible... the local cable TV/internet provider is much like that... one crew to put in the wire, another to hook it up to your cable TV box and yet a third to hook it to the cable modem. This is all upon installation. The repair guy is a jack of all trades. Truly an amazing show of bureaucracy.
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Old 08-03-06, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgtsmile
... Could you tell us how you go about complaining? ...
I start with a very polite note, sometimes thanking them for some other signal detector which DOES work properly. This immediately establishes my credibility, putting them on notice that: 1) I am diplomatic; 2) I am tenacious; 3) I know how to trigger a green light; and 4) I expect all traffic signal loop detectors to be bicycle-friendly, because the technology obviously exists. (My job title as an engineering division director in a local high-tech startup probably doesn't hurt, either.) I point out how dangerous it is to be stuck in a left turn pocket on 6-lane, 55mph Palomar Airport Road, with no recourse other than either to run the red arrow or to cross pedestrian-style, also against a red light.
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Old 08-04-06, 07:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
Whenever I complain to the City of Carlsbad (San Diego County, CA) regarding a nonresponsive traffic signal loop detector, I get not only a very polite and apologetic response from the traffic engineering department, but also prompt resolution of the problem. Enroute to work, I can now trigger every traffic light I need to. I wish it were like this everywhere ...
Someone suggested this before, so I tried. The city call center person told me, "Just hit the walk button, have a good day *click*"

I also called about a resturant that had set up sidewalk seating which completely blocked the sidewalk (not a bike problem but a ped problem on part of my dog walk route) so far no response. I have since found out that the city gets 500 $ a year from the resturant for this, plus the increase in tax revenue from the resturant having more patrons. Once again having a pedestrian friendly city loses to revenue.

I'll have to try with the pothole on my route and see what happens.
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Old 08-04-06, 07:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
Last week I finally got around to calling my town's Public Works department about a little pothole conveniently located on the right edge of the road that I've been dealing with for quite a while now. (Not really a pothole, but an oval-shaped area where the top layer of asphalt had worn off and you dropped about an inch to the underneath layer for a few feet. But no way to get around it except pulling out to the center of the travel lane, which is sometimes possible and sometimes not.) This morning, I saw that it had been patched! Yeah for my tax dollars at work!

My point in posting this is simply to encourage others to do the same if necessary.
I think you should follow this up by calling and complimenting the PW on the quick and efficient manner of addressing problems. WOuld make them more helpful in future too.
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Old 08-04-06, 09:00 AM   #11
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I think you should follow this up by calling and complimenting the PW on the quick and efficient manner of addressing problems. WOuld make them more helpful in future too.
Absolutely spot-on advice, which I do consistently follow.
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Old 08-04-06, 09:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bike2math
Someone suggested this before, so I tried. The city call center person told me, "Just hit the walk button, have a good day *click*" ...
Does your town have a website? Does it have a traffic commission? Do you know your city council members? Complain about an intersection at which pressing the pedestrian button would be particularly onerous, dangerous, and awkward for a through or left-turning bicyclist, and for which a full pedestrian "walk" cycle would greatly interrupt the flow of rush hour traffic. Cite my experience with the City of Carlsbad, where I am batting just under 1.000 on traffic signal loop detector sensitization, and the City of Encinitas, where I am batting well over 0.500 (and counting).
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Old 08-04-06, 09:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
I start with a very polite note, sometimes thanking them for some other signal detector which DOES work properly. This immediately establishes my credibility, putting them on notice that: 1) I am diplomatic; 2) I am tenacious; 3) I know how to trigger a green light; and 4) I expect all traffic signal loop detectors to be bicycle-friendly, because the technology obviously exists. (My job title as an engineering division director in a local high-tech startup probably doesn't hurt, either.) I point out how dangerous it is to be stuck in a left turn pocket on 6-lane, 55mph Palomar Airport Road, with no recourse other than either to run the red arrow or to cross pedestrian-style, also against a red light.

Wow. The process here in San Diego (just down the road from you) is fairly automated. I just go to the city web site, and select the streets division, and then use a map to zoom in and select the streets in question and fill out a form. Later that day I get an email confirming my complaint. In a few days I will get an email telling me the task is done. Then I will go out and perform "QA" and see if they actually corrected the issue.

It is pretty painless actually.
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Old 08-04-06, 04:26 PM   #14
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Even numbered years are usually election years.
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