Friday, April 23, 2010 - By zak - No comments

It Takes a Village 2.0 to Fix a Street

Tucson's Chantilly Drive had more holes than Chantilly lace. On the SeeClickFix page for the issue, citizens called it a "mine field," "an obstacle course" and "a wagon trail from the 1800's." One neighbor counted 50 holes, some bigger than the hood of a car.

It took 3 months and the support of 42 citizens to get the street repaved. But after some persistence, some frustration, and some threats of revolution, Tucson finally sent out the work crews on April 20.

Sometimes it takes a village to fix a street.

Perhaps it was the SCF users' energized posts that caught Tuscon's attention. Tuscon resident Marty Starks wrote, "Everything - man, woman, child, animal, bicycle, car, truck, SCHOOL BUS - must zigzag the entire block! And, STILL, one cannot avoid all the potholes."

And Barbara agreed–"Even walking on Chantilly is dangerous. There are so many potholes someone is going to break a leg ... This might be THE WORST collection of potholes in the city."

A third user named Bill said that the community was putting the city on notice: either fix the problems or we're kicking out the city council.

Luckily it didn't take a coup to fix Chantilly. An understated post on Wednesday afternoon proved to be a game-changer. "Chantilly has been taken care of," wrote a user named "streets," presumably the City of Tucson's street division.

The city's fix thrilled the neighbors, who suggested standing by to applaud the laborers as if it were a parade. Bill was particularly surprised by the thoroughness of the job: "Unbelievable!! They are now putting down a second layer of chip and seal!! We're getting the gold medal treatment!!"

Marty took his car out for a spin on the new, smooth, pavement: "Oh Happy Day!
I had to drive my car up and down it, just for the thrill! Thank you very much."

And Linda's confidence in the efficacy of city government was restored:

I never had much faith in one or two people being hear by the city [...] and that was true. It took the whole neighborhood to express their feeling, and the city people ... really listened. Good for you and good for us. Thanks so much for responding to a situation that needed much attention. (as edited by author)
Linda makes an important point. While it took a long time to get this street fixed, it was only possible because the community came together around the issue and persisted. SeeClickFix was central to their efforts to communicate and advocate for their needs and elicit a response from the city. If only one or two people had complained, who knows how much longer it could have taken.

Thanks again to Tucson for getting the crews out there as well.

Please click here to visit the issue page for Chantilly Drive.


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