Monday, December 13, 2010

Why Are the Lines So Crooked?

A reader writes:
Dear Sloopin,

Have you seen the "repaving" of Indiana at and around 16th Street? The streets are completely uneven from lane to lane, and the "crosswalks" are mis-marked, mis-taped and essentially a joke. Even my 4-year old son has asked me "why are the lines so crooked?" Do you happen to know if there are any plans to finish the "repaving" or "crosswalks" so that they meet some type of minimum construction safety and/or quality standards?

The streets were in better shape prior to this laughable project, which is just a block down the street from the current mayor.

Best,
K

We've heard some rumblings about this, but don't have much info. Can anyone else provide some perspective on this?

(Hat Tip: KD!)

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

The same on state street when the repaved from Roosevelt to 18th.

Anonymous said...

city planners and city workers are all over-paid and lazy.

I bet the road construction over by North and LSD takes 3 years.

Same old same old.....take their time, overtime work, AND SLOPILY DONE. Welcome to Chicago.

Anonymous said...

it was a big mess on State street by 14th for a while. They finished it and the lines and such are normal now. I think it is just temporary.

Anonymous said...

it was a big mess on State street by 14th for a while. They finished it and the lines and such are normal now. I think it is just temporary.

Richard said...

Sigh. Notice how some of the lines have actually peeled up and been disturbed by traffic? Those are temporary. The permanent lines come in usually after the entire road is finished (and when the weather permits).

I will give the benefit of the doubt to the questioner that he or she has never seen urban road construction, over a long period of time, from a pedestrian's perspective. Driving past in a car you wouldn't necessarily notice the temporary nature of the lines.

As for the other comments, when critiquing someone else for being sloppy, it's best to spell your accusation correctly. Unless you're going for ironic humor, in which case, bravo.

NNally said...

I live at 14th and State and they are really bad. They left the temporary lines and then added the permanent strait lines, so now we have 4 lines weaving in out of of eachother. It looks terrible. The sidewalks are also still a mess from all of the tar the left when stripping the road down. Very poor effort on their part.

Steven Vance said...

I don't know the exact condition of that road right now, but I think this may provide some insight.

Road repaving is done in steps and some steps are performed by different contractors. And it may be days or weeks between each step. This is really simplified:
1. Top two layers of asphalt are removed. This is where you have a lot of ruts and little islands around sewer covers.
2. First layer of asphalt is applied. You may see cheap, temporary striping that you could probably peel off with your fingers. Indiana and 16th may be on this step. You know it's on this stop when the asphalt doesn't reach the height of the concrete curbs.
3. Second layer of asphalt is applied. The height of the asphalt now reaches the height of the concrete curbs.
4. The real pavement stripes (also called markings) are applied.

Anonymous said...

Um, if anyone hasn’t noticed, it’s been kinda very extremely cold, slushy, and snowy in the past few days. It’d be kinda dumb to paint nice yellow stripes right now seeing as the poor road worker would have to paint over the cold slushy snow. Patience... Patience

Adam said...

I don't think the permanent lines are so bad, though it looks a little strange with both temporary and permanent lines down at the same time. I believe the larger issue is that between strips of asphalt there considerable difference in height. They tried to grind it down, but it seems like something was off when they laid the asphalt. I wonder if it will cause issues down the road (no pun intended) with water ingress then freezing/thawing.

Overall the road is better now than it was before. Prior to the project there were many sunken areas which, no matter how many times they were patched, still made for a bumpy ride.

Anonymous said...

as steven mentioned, road paving is done in steps. the prob is...they take about a gazillion years between these steps. the last section of indiana to be resurfaced between 18th and 16th was done during that week when we had those crazy swings in temp. im no engineer, but im sure the swings in temp and atmospheric pressure had some effect on the asphault. so even tho they may have used exactly the same amount as the first strip of pavement in the first lane, and the same equipment, odds are, they will settle at different heights--which they obviously have. the work around the manhole cover's is also extremely subpar.

and guess what, they do all of this on purpose. you know why, cuz that means a few years down the line, the alderman will say, "look, imma repave these here streets for ya." and then guess who gets the jobs, friends of friends. its a cycle. its called the chicago way.

Anonymous said...

Let's not mince words here. While I am not claiming to be a road "expert," I will say this, city workers are the WORST. Poor quality from start to finish. Last Saturday afternoon, a gaggle of 6 city workers set up shop on 16th street, east of Indiana and west of Prairie, to perform "maintenance" on an electrical wire. They parked the cherry-picker in the middle of the street, and 3 workers sat on a nearby park bench - chainsmoking - watching another manipulate the wires. While two others sat in the truck chainsmoking and reading the Sun-Times. Oh, and the worker in the cherry-picker had a lit cigarette hanging from his mouth while he worked. Not one of them decided it would be a good idea to direct traffic at all, despite the fact that no traffic could get by in either direction. As I pulled up from the east, I was told by one of the workers/smokers to "turn around," which I refused to do until one of them went to the intersection of Prairie and 16th to ensure that no traffic rounding 16th street westbound would rear-end me. After looking pissed, one of the workers/smokers got up and stopped traffic from barreling around Prairie and 16th to allow me to back up an turn around. Oh, and he had a cig hanging from his lips while directing traffic. Stay classy, chicago!

Anonymous said...

Lets leave cigarette smoking out of this as it has nothing do do with street markings or slacking city workers...

Richard, caught my spelling error thank you. Save your "sighs" and ponificating for another blog. People who pay an arm and a leg to live in Chicago and more specifically the South Loop have every right to critique the roads going through their part of town. No need to explain the very complicated aspects of road marking for us......its pretty self explanatory. The issue at hand is dealing with the amount of time it took to finish the job and the slip-shoddy way the lines were completed. If youre going to do a job, do it right. After you lay the permanent road markings, remove the temps--its that simple. People notice this slacking and want to speak up about, I don't blame them.

Brendan

Tim said...

Thank you Richard and Steven for bringing a brief respite of thoughtfulness to the comments of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of slacking, anyone else notice the NUMEROUS board of elections vans/minivans that are constantly camped out by the soccer field at 18th/river?? Getting paid to drive around and park in random locations all day... Chicago, baby!!

Anonymous said...

Take it easy Tim....

Anonymous said...

The lines being out-of-whack at 16th and Indiana are one thing; however, even more annoying is the fact that all four lanes of recently-repaved Indiana @ 16th street are a different height! Tried pushing my son's stroller to Dunkin Donuts this morning and was shocked (but not surprised) that none of the four lanes of travel are even with the next lane. Those of you that claim that this "doesn't bother" you clearly do NOT pay taxes.

Anonymous said...

I pay a lot of taxes and the situation at Indiana and 16th doesn't bother me that much.

Anonymous said...

I also pay my share of taxes. While it is easy to be impatient with road construction progress, it beats the alternatives of 1. Spending more tax money to rush the job, and 2. Not maintaining the road at all.