Public works, by the numbers


By residents and reporters, city business is most often measured in decisions made.

But, of course, the vast majority of a city's work goes on outside the air-conditioned confines of council chambers. At a recent meeting of Menlo Park's City Council, Deputy City Manager Kent Steffens tried to quantify the work performed by the city's public works department over the past year. This is a summary of his presentation.

Free shuttles. Shuttles ferried 34,000 riders down Marsh Road and 26,000 riders down Willow Road, while 23,000 people took the midday shuttle, and the one-day-per-week shopper's shuttle accommodated 500 riders.

Trees. The department planted 86 trees, and made over 500 tree service calls.

Traffic lights. It installed video detection systems at every signaled intersection in the city, so that lights change when bicyclists and drivers arrive.

Repair and removal. It repaired over 319 potholes, covered over graffiti at 251 sites, and raked 1,560 cubic yards of leaves.

Maintainence projects. It maintained 15.6 miles of right-of-way, 5.3 miles of medians, 1,555 storm drain inlets, 14 parks, and two ponds, and renovated nine sports fields.

Buildings, grounds, vehicles. The department installed a new structure to provide shade at the Belle Haven Child Development Center, renovated three restrooms at the child development center, completed 260 work orders, and made 1,100 repairs to city vehicles and equipment. It replaced the carpet and painted the walls in the police station, and replaced the roof at Footsteps Preschool in Willow Oaks Park.

Sidewalks. It replaced 61 stretches of sidewalk.

Utilities. It rebuilt 36 cages on lampposts in the downtown area, tested 3,900 water samples, checked 250 backflow devices, and replaced seven fire hydrants, according to Mr. Steffens.

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Like this comment
Posted by Leslie Gordon
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Many thanks to the employees in the Menlo Park Public Works Department. It's good to see positive stories like this.

Like this comment
Posted by Betty Meisner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Kudos to Menlo Park's Public Works Department! Given the vast range of situations, machinery, people, etc. that PW staff deals with, they do commendable work. I'm glad to see that their diligence and dedication is duly and publicly acknowledged.

Like this comment
Posted by Dharma
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 4, 2010 at 9:43 pm

It would be helpful to note which of these tasks was actually contracted out (roofing, trees, traffic lights, sidewalk trip hazards). As for "maintaining 15.6 miles of right-of-way, 5.3 miles of medians, 1,555 storm drain inlets, 14 parks, and two ponds, and renovated nine sports fields", that sounds like wishful thinking to those of us who use the parks, walk, ride and drive the roads and look at the weeds.

Like this comment
Posted by my view
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 5, 2010 at 7:01 am

Mr. Steffens trying to defend his salary, which was just elevated by $10000 because he threatened to leave.

I really like the sidewalk repairs; they grind off high edges rather than doing the job right. They spend vast amounts on studies such as the downtown parking study, which are predetermined to yield answers they want. Bloated staff and inept leadership all the way to the top, and a council about to approve another deficit budget.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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