A Fresh Look For Westview Streets

Some exciting things have been happening in Westview. In early spring the Westview Development Committee found out that Quality of Life Bonds were being distributed to improve intown neighborhoods. The bonds were actually on their third round, each one having been for $150 Million. Somehow Westview had been overlooked and not received a single penny. Needless to say we were upset to find out we had been totally neglected and started an angry email and phone call campaign to our councilmember, CT Martin. (Westview continues to face a challenge as we are split between two council districts and have two council members…the majority of which is in CT Martin’s area.)

Finally this summer our complaints were acknowledged – we were informed we’d be getting new sidewalks and streets repaved!! (At least the two streets we complained about.) The letter informed us the work would start in early June and be done at the end of August. I think it will be to few people’s surprise that despite the fact that it is late September the work is not done! Our street was scheduled first, so we’re pretty much done…so I can show some pictures!!

This is what our sidewalk looked like before. The portion in front of our house was actually lacking a curb altogether, though I know other houses on our street did in fact still have barely visible curbs. Because we had no curbs in front of our house we’d constantly have a flooded sidewalk when it rained (not that Atlanta knows what rain is anymore). Oh, and note our decent looking Crossvine growing on the mailbox. This was July 23rd.

East Ontario Avenue sidewalks before

Here they tore up the old sidewalk in front of our house. The plan was to raise the sidewalk in order to create a curb. This was July 24th.

Sidewalk demolition

Finally two weeks after they tore up our path they came back to put down the concrete sidewalk and curb. You can see their excellent craftsmanship when you notice the fat curb closer to us and see how it gets narrower behind the mailbox. (It’s not just an optical illusion from the leaning boards.) They also left the strip between the sidewalk and driveway apron unfinished. This was August 6th.

Sidewalk concrete

It was yet another week before they came back to tear up our driveway apron and pour it the same day. This is the before photo, and as you can see our driveway was in need of some repair. Since the sidewalks were being raised it meant everyone’s walkways and driveways were too low, so they tore up parts of everyone’s driveways to slope them and line up properly with the new height. So we were lucky to get our driveway fixed in the process!

New driveway

This is the driveway apron after they poured it. At this point the triangle between the sidewalk and driveway still remained unpaved. Upon my inquiry of the missing piece I was essentially told that I should be grateful that they were even pouring our driveway since it was 3:30pm on a Friday and they were working “overtime” to pour our driveway since their clock out time is 4:00pm. (Another worker tried to downplay this by telling me that the guy was exaggerating.) If I remember correctly I was also told that they would come back on Monday to finish that missing piece. This was August 15th.

Sidewalk footprints

Two weeks later the missing triangle was still not done. Not only was it not done, but at one point they came to take away the barricades they had put up to prevent people from walking on the fresh concrete. I finally happened to drive by them as they were working on a portion further down the street and reminded them that the triangle still had not been poured and that it was a safety issue if someone walked down the path at night and could break their ankle because there was no barricade. I think they showed up a day later to finish off the triangle. I noticed too late that they had again failed to put up barricades, leaving footprints on the fresh concrete. (Why pedestrians failed to notice that it was freshly poured is also beyond me, but oh well.) I was pretty much steaming at this point, determined to complain and have them tear the portion back out and re-pour it. In the end I was convinced by Patrick’s idea that instead of potentially creating greater damage we should leave the footprints as an ode to the idiocracy of the City of Atlanta employees. This was August 29th.

Damaged driveway

A week and a half later a contracted company (not City of Atlanta!) came and prepped our street in the late morning by stripping the pavement on the sides of the street. (You can again view the wonderful craftsmanship of the crooked curb.)

Street repaving

A couple hours later our street was entirely repaved and looking great!! :) Please also note the debris left in the landscaping strip. This was September 9th.

New street and sidewalk

In the meanwhile the City of Atlanta workers had still not finished with our sidewalks. The new landscaping strips were still not filled with dirt by our house, instead only with remains of concrete, rocks, bushels of grass and some scattered cigarette buds and plastic soda cup lids, etc. When they finally came back to fill our stretch it took ten (!) workers a full workday (!) to transfer the dirt from the truck to the landscaping strip in front of four (!) houses. (Yes, we actually counted the workers as they were working in front of our house.) I made sure to point out to them that there was a lot of debris that needed to be removed before the dirt should be filled in since you can’t exactly put in landscaping with all that junk in it. I watched one guy do a half ass job of shoveling out some of the debris before the dirt came. Oh yeah, and the best part, this is what the quality of their work looked like in the end:

Landscape strip

At the beginning of the project I was just so excited and grateful that we were getting new sidewalks that I was ready to accept anything they did. Now that they are done in front of our house and I’ve had time to reflect I’m really quite upset. Yes, I’m still happy that we got new sidewalks, but this is what we’ll presumably have for, say, the next 30 years! If I was a teacher I’d rate the craftsmanship of the City of Atlanta employees a big fat “F.” Plus look at the speed at which they carried out the work – they were supposed to be done at the end of August and they are still deep into the project in late September. At no other job would employees be tolerated to perform the way the City of Atlanta employees performed on this project.

So here’s the breakdown of how we got to grade “F”:
– The curb looks like it was created by a drunken person with the wide width on one end and a narrow width on the other. (At one point the backhoe also broke off a portion of the newly dried curb which they had to redo, leaving an obvious “scar” at the joint.)
– A portion of the sidewalk has a number of footprints. (Additional point subtracted to lack of safety precaution.)
– The landscape strips are largely filled with debris, then covered with the cheapest of the cheap chunky fill dirt and a handful of grass seed thrown on it.
– And as an added bonus the redbud tree planted by Trees Atlanta a year and a half ago has pretty much been killed, our Crossvine looks pretty pathetic too, and our bushes along the sidewalk have some gaping holes in them.

But enough bitching. Aside from these flaws we are thrilled to have this freshened up look!! So here again are the before and after photos:

East Ontario Avenue sidewalks before

New street and sidewalk

Updated landscaping strip photos to come when they are presentable.

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