Wednesday, November 23, 2011

422 guard rails

FIRST DRAFT - will be updated...

Short answers in RED followed by in depth sequence of events...

4962.1.2. Hey SolonPol, is this what happened?
by solonjoe3, 11/22/11 2:19 PM
Re: Reconsidering 422 guard rails by SolonPol, 11/22/11 2:19 PM

The city says to ODOT, “Hey buds, how about some guardrails.” (or did ODOT just do it on its own?)

ODOT to the City, “Sure, we can do that. Here are the plans.”


City to ODOT ”hey, those guard rails are kinda close to the road.”


ODOT “Yeah, too expensive to put further away from the road. ”

(Could the city have ponied up the extra cash to put it further away from the road? Was that an option?)

City “Ok”

Guardrails get put up.

Council “Hey, these new guard rails are too close. Let’s complain to ODOT”


Russo “Not so fast. I don’t want to make ‘em mad.”

Rest of council “Let’s talk about it at the next council mtg.”


Guy get killed. Guardrails may or may not be a contributing cause.

City pulls the item from agenda while it figure out what it wants to do.


Is the above right? ODOT didn’t just put up the guardrails w/o consulting westbrooks et al, right? Or does ODOT just do things without asking?



==================== And here's the answer ...

Not exactly!

The city, specifically I believe Shaw, has been asking for guardrails in the center to prevent cross over accidents for quite some time.  They don't happen often, but of course they are serious when they do.

One time, ODOT said OK, we'll do them for free ........  and who knows how much anyone heard after that, knowing what a sucker politicians are for "free" stuff,  after all that's how we got our "free" million dollar temp road.  Hopefully no one notices that the city requested that...

The city did know in advance that ODOT was going to do them differently than requested, it was discussed at the Safety meeting.  It's not clear whether ODOT just described the differences or whether they provided the city with plans.  I'd guess that if the city asked for details or the plans that they'd probably get them.

Looking carefully at other rails, there are some that are close to the road.  BUT, living in this city for some time and travelling that road I know I've seen lots of cars in the center snow drifts and it doesn't take a rocket scientist or a Harvard lawyer to wonder what fate those cars will have with guardrails, no matter how close they are to the road.

ODOT did say they couldn't put them in the center because there is drainage under the center.  I'm not sure if they discussed the closeness or the reason in advance.  At some point they started adding a foot of pavement and marking the posts.  This is when any passing motorist knew they were going to be close.

At some point ODOT explained that they were not further from the road because the road side would need to be regraded and that would cost extra money.

While its "their road" and they don't have to get others input, I'd like to think that if Solon wanted to enhance the project at their own expense that they'd do it.

IT WAS NOT council who discovered the problem, it wasn't our crack road experts on the city payroll, IT WAS residents who wrote letters to council, just like BB Rd, just like Pepper Dr, just like the $2.3 M road rip off years ago.

One wonders if all these road problems are discovered by residents for free, well what are the experts supposed to be doing?  Well I guess they do something beneficial but construction monitoring doesn't seem to be included.

So AFTER several letters, and AFTER the front page of the Solon Times, Toni wanted it added to the agenda.  Russo said NO, he wanted it referred to Safety.  After all he had dealt with the issue at the previous meeting, he asked his leading questions, he got his expert answers to trump the insignificant public, what more was needed?

So it WAS NOT put on the council agenda.  At the end of Council, during the roundtable, Toni pulled a tactical move, she raised the issue, she made the motion, and it was immediately seconded (this doesn't happen accidentally, its almost always by advance collusion).  There was some hesitation, she reminded the chair there was an active motion on the floor, Roberts Rules dictate a vote must be done.  And it was, 6-0.

When Russo returned he was not to pleased about this slick maneuver and added the 422 rails to the Safety agenda.  He was so anxious that he couldn't wait until the end of the meeting so he moved it up to the top of the  Other Topics agenda.

Russo tried to override council, Bell let him huff and puff, then reminded him twice, it was at council, it was voted on, Russo lost.

Still he was not dissuaded and wrote a letter to the clerk making a "referral" which appeared on the agenda as a "reconsideration" (that is to repeal the letter).

ODOT has jurisdiction over 422, they can do what they want.  But politics being politics and influence being a political commodity, there are always alternatives, there can always be deals made.

Unlike the popular BB Rd refrain, NO ONES HANDS ARE REALLY TIED!

Then there was a terrible accident, and these guard rails were involved.  No one will ever know what would have happened for sure without them.

So in caucus, off camera, the agenda is discussed.  Russo wanted no letter, council voted on the letter, no one wanted to have a discussion on camera.  So a deal was made, let Westbrooks write a "professional and cooperative" letter, and the item will be removed from the agenda.

SO a letter will be written, and ODOT and the Gov will get it, file it, and likely take no action.

Its all in tactical moves, and the art of the deal...

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