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Potholes pock several main streets in Youngstown



Published: Sun, May 4, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.

RELATED: Guide to worst Youngstown potholes

By DAVID SKOLNICK

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

It cost Derrick Braden about $400 to fix two broken ball joints and a disconnected shock absorber on his truck that he said came courtesy of driving on Fifth Avenue and other nearby streets, all covered with potholes.

“Many of my friends have had to fix issues with their vehicles as well, such as bent rims, loose exhausts, warped rotors,” said Braden, who lives on Fairgreen Avenue, off of Fifth Avenue, and operates Greyland Gallery downtown. “I’ve seen people driving as slow as five miles an hour around town trying their best to preserve their vehicles. As annoying as it may be to drive behind, I can’t say that I blame them.”

Lori Kolench of Liberty, who often comes to Youngstown, said she “tries to avoid [Fifth Avenue] as much as possible. It’s the bumpiest ride down to downtown. My daughter jokes and wants to know why I drive all crazy going down that street.”

The street on the city’s North Side will be resurfaced and improved from U.S. Route 422 to Gypsy Lane this summer. City officials were so concerned about the poor quality of the street that it convinced the state, which is paying for most of the $1.4 million project, to have it done this year when it had been slated for 2015.

“Fifth, it is a horror,” said Sean T. McKinney, the city’s buildings and grounds commissioner who oversees the street department. “We are going to repave it. We’ve tried to patch it, but it didn’t work as the weather has posed a challenge. We still want to make sure people on that street are safe, and will patch it again.”

While Fifth Avenue has a lot of potholes, it certainly isn’t the only main street in the city with that problem.

The Vindicator recently asked readers on its website, Facebook page and Twitter account to submit the names of streets in the city with pothole problems.

Besides Fifth Avenue, several others appeared a number of times including sections of North Meridian Road, McCartney Road, Mahoning Avenue, McGuffey Road and Wilson Avenue.

After seeing the responses on Vindy.com about two weeks ago, Mayor John A. McNally had street crews patch some of those named including North Meridian and McCartney roads.

But driving on them in recent days, as a Vindicator reporter did, you wouldn’t know some roads were touched.

North Meridian Road, shortly after turning off of Mahoning Avenue, is littered with potholes almost all the way to the county line on the West Side. Among the worst parts is near the Interstate 680 interchange which has vehicles almost come to a stop in order not hit a big pothole while getting on the highway.

Katie Salupo wrote on the newspaper’s Facebook wall that she “cracked the rim in half and blew out my tire on Meridian Road. Repairman said he’s never seen anything like it. Dangerous!!”

The city has tried to fill potholes with limited success.

“The frustrating thing about it is our staff has spent significant time and resources tackling the main roadways and Mahoning [Avenue] is not good, Fifth is bad and so are other streets,” McNally said. “It’s a concern. The rain hampered us [last week]. You’ve got to keep going back to it, and our continued focus is on potholes. We patched those roads and thought it was resolved. The patching gets chewed up and leaves the holes behind.”

The harsh winter — it was one of the consistently coldest on record with significant snowfall — followed by a poor spring — with below average temperatures and numerous rainy days — have made it difficult to fix the roads, McKinney said.

“It’s been a challenge,” McKinney said. “We’re going to continue to move forward and do as many roads as we can.”

Braden questioned whether the city’s street department is “capable” of paving the roads.

“I have seen them working and its the kind of a pathetic and embarrassing site you might see when the county inmates clean up I-680,” he said. “There is no work ethic, lots of standing around, and the worst part is that they are doing a horrible job. None of the patchwork is finished. Also, many roads I travel are partially fixed. It’s frustrating realizing that there is no organization or emphasis from the city to [resolve] this infrastructure problem that we have here.”

Mahoning Avenue from Oak Hill Avenue to Edwards Street, just a short distance from downtown, is filled with potholes.

There are a number of large holes in the street in front of Star Supply Bargain Outlet, a closeout store on the corner of Mahoning and Edwards.

“They’re terrible and we have a lot of customers complain about it,” said Karla Hodge, who works at the store. “The holes are so bad that people will swerve to avoid them. You hear a lot of tires screeching and horns blowing, and our sidewalks are destroyed. It’s a corridor to downtown Youngstown and there’s a ramp off [I-680], and the road is terrible. There’s no excuse for it this late in the year.”

Steel Street between Wellington and Butler avenues on the West Side is in poor shape even though the city’s street department patched it about three weeks ago.

“The patches didn’t last,” said Joe Roscoe, who owns Roscoe’s Poultry Market on the street. “There are holes so big you could lay in them. I’ve been here 25, 30 years and this is the worst I’ve seen for potholes. I don’t know whether it’s the weather or something else, but the potholes are pretty bad. We’d like the city to come and take care of the street.”

Jeff Roskie of Campbell usually takes Wilson Avenue on the East Side into Youngstown, but said he avoids it because of the potholes.

“The patched patches have now given way to ravines and trenches,” he said.

Roskie added: “Driving on Wilson Avenue is putting the life of your car in danger.”

With the weather expected to improve, the city is focusing on patching streets this month, McNally said.

Also, the city should finalize a deal later this week, McKinney said, with Mahoning County Job and Family Services to have about 10 to 12 people, who receive government financial assistance or food stamps, focus on patching potholes. Those chosen for the program must first pass criminal background checks and drug tests, McKinney said. They earn minimum-wage credit equal to what they receive in government assistance.


Comments

1jr(12 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Come on people its northeast Ohio which had one of the coldest winters potholes are going to happen. Your focusing on youngstown roads which if you travel even a little out of town you will find worst roads that crews haven't even touched them yet. Youngstown crews are doing a great job considering the weather they have been dealing with, how about focusing on say boardman roads where you lose a car in some of them.

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2Southside_Res(166 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

For paying the highest city income tax in the state, we city residents get some of the most grossly inefficient municipal services. This mayor is as bad as any other we've already had.

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3pgurney(273 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

How the heck is this the Mayor's fault?? I suppose it is his fault that the weather keeps changing from cold to warm, to cool to hot, to cool to cold... can he control the weather? No. Can he help it that pothole patches don't last? No. Is it his fault that in this day and age of modern technology and scientific progress, the brains-that-be have YET to develop a substance with which to repair roads that will actually work?

Yep, let's blame the Mayor. Perhaps that will work.

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4biker(11 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Don't blame the winter of 2014 for the many craters and potholes on Meridian. It's dangerous and that road has been that way for many years.

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5city_resident(509 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

It's too bad so many brick streets--that lasted over half a century--were resurfaced with asphalt that needs patched every year.

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6anothermike(203 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

True we have had a long, nasty winter that doesn't seem to want to go away, but the streets (mostly in the cities) were in bad shape last summer and next to nothing was done . Municipal services have gotten worse in recent years even though city income tax rates are among the highest and road taxes continue to increase, not to mention water and sewer rates, but that is discussion for another day....

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7Ianacek(890 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The City should focus on getting the job done competently , not on whether it can hire low wage convicts and welfare recipients to do the work . This is false economy .

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8mrblue(968 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

If you think Youngstown is bad, drive through Campbell. A road could have 20 pot holes and maybe 10 will be filled. I see the street department ride around the city but I don"t see a whole lot being done. You can"t wish the work to get done, you actually have to do it.

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9topper11(75 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Funny only one comment out of 8 to say THANK YOU to the road/city workers who try doing a all most impossible job .

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10Southside_Res(166 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

@pgurney:

I just love people who jump on here and don't think elected officials should be held accountable for their leadership, or they are related or they are city employees. This still gets me to the same argument I give all the time about the streets. We live in the Midwest where it snows and freezes all the time in the winter. The fact that we pay the highest city income tax and pay the highest per capita property taxes, and get squat for it, is and should continue to be a disgrace. McNally is the man in charge. He "does" know the state of our streets, and yet I don't see those slow, bum street department employees out there performing for the wages they receive. Meridian is a disgrace. It's been allowed to get like that over years. Fifth Avenue is a disgrace. Midlothian is a disgrace. Parts of Schenley are a disgrace. And, you know? All these streets are in different wards. So add our do nothing council members to a long list of city lackeys. What I truly marvel at is how the water department fixed a main in the 1100 block of Meridian, the street department paved over where it was excavated, and then they left it like that!!!! You can see the gouge marks in the pavement from cars bottoming out on the piss poor job, yet again, that the street department did. If I were the mayor, I'd sack the department head responsible for the street department. It's clear he either doesn't know how to do his job or simply can't!!! In any event, the state of Youngstown's streets has reached a moronic level!

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11FCE(5 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Southside_Res--you are correct....you are correct---It isn't the fault of the weather--it is the fault of the employees doing their jobs half-a$$ed--for their pay! Patching in pouring rain--just throwing the asphalt down--what happened to tamping it down? Levelling it out? Oppss--I know--do it half-a$$ed so you can do it again and/or collect overtime! Ahhh--c'mon--more crap in the Mahoning County Political System---Commissioners-Mayor-Council---umm--what are we paying you for????

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12thirtyninedollars(173 comments)posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago

If youngstown would actually get out there and be proactive about patching.
I haven't seen one road truck out patching yet this spring. Uh Hello? The rain is going to blow out every crack the freeze created.

I believe there is a conspiracy with the road departments around here locally.
Not one is patching any roads and it seems they are holding our vote hostage. They won't patch a thing until after Tuesday when we vote.

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