PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — At a time when potholes in the city have reached a crisis stage – and spring has come – there should be paving crews resurfacing city streets. While the city is patching where it can, there’s still not a steamroller in sight.
“I think it’s a little bit of politics,” says Councilman Doug Shields. “As we always say, politics and paving.”
The Mayor’s Office says there’s no money because they say Pittsburgh City Council’s plan to address the city’s pension crisis comes up short. Not true, counters council.
“The funds are there. It’s as simple as that,” says Shields.
But if and when streets get paved this year – which ones will get done? Potholed and rutted Beechwood Boulevard in Squirrel Hill was supposed to be paved last year but hasn’t – to the chagrin of people who live there.
“It’s deplorable,” said Gerald Sandson.
Councilmembers in the East End complain that their districts routinely get shortchanged when it comes to paving – so this year, council ordered the paving funds be divided nine ways.
“The council basically said look you’ll divvy it up by nine, everybody gets an equal amount by district,” said Shields. “Each council district has the same amount of people in each district – each one of these districts has bad streets. Go do the worst in each district and get them done.”
Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski in turn accuses council of playing politics and short changing geographically larger districts to the benefit of smaller ones. He says Council District 1 on the North Side has three times the length of streets as Council District 8 in the East End.
“It’s not fair. It’s not fair for residents who live in a district that has three times the amount of streets,” he said.