Spring is officially here and with it comes the ‘spring cleaning’ for me and my law office. Out with the old and in with the new seems to be the order of the day and even the city of Santa Monica seems to be in on the spirit of the season with infrastructure construction happening all around town.
It appears that there are much needed upgrades and/or refurbishments going on to the sewers system on Ocean Avenue, Pico Blvd by my family law office and at select intersections near you. Driving around downtown Santa Monica is a nightmare most days, and recently it seems that the city is doing all that it can to make the process as annoying as possible.
I have vociferously called for the city to invest in our infrastructure and am in fact quite happy that we are making upgrades, improvements or simply repairs. In previous articles, I’ve written about how important I believe it is for us to work on the underpinnings of our city. Fourth street downtown was in desperate need of water main repairs, I don’t know if they’ve been done yet. I assume not as I don’t recall there being construction delays there.
But one of the questions that keeps coming up about the construction is “Why can’t they do this stuff at night?” When there is less traffic and presumably it would be safer to the workers and less annoying to the general public.
The snarky answer is because government never does anything that could be construed logical or convenient.
I imagine it has more to do with union rules, nighttime pay rates and probably a safety and expense factor. Night time is probably not actually safer since people are fighting the desire to sleep, it’s dark out and colder – all of which would lead to accidents. Working at night would also require lighting, that means costs for electricity, probably a union paid “light operator” and the additional expense of the truck to deliver said lighting.
On the surface, it seems that operating heavy machinery at night, would be easier given the lighter traffic load, it probably also makes the job harder when you’re trying to see what you are doing, and there’s more drunk drivers. Plus there’s the noise factor to be contended with, heavy machinery is not known for its subtlety and quietude.
But the reality is I don’t get to make those decisions. You have to be in the government and involved in the planning if you want to be involved in the results.
I imagine it’s much like the fence that’s broken on Pico at seventh Street. We have some fancy dancy venting put in to protect the bike lane. It’s been broken due to what appears to be a car accident for about a month and a half now.
The city manager’s office reported to me that they have ordered additional fencing to repair the fence but it has not been delivered yet. This was about a month ago. Had it been my decision I would’ve used more plain fencing that’s readily available. It seems to me that when we have fences that are down, that’s a liability and safety risk, if the whole point of the fence is to protect people.
But I’m not in charge so I don’t get to make those decisions.