Takin’ It to the Streets: Committee Examines How PCI Affects Street Repair

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page

     What is PCI (Pavement Condition Index), and how does this number decide if your street is in need of repair or reconstruction?  According to information on the City of Corpus Christi website,  “Streets are inspected and assessed using a Micro–PAVER Pavement Management System. Twenty pavement distresses (their type, severity, and quantity) are used to determine a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) for each section of a street. The PCI is like a grade, 0 to 100, 100 being the best. The PCI is used as a planning tool for street work. Streets with a PCI in the range of 0 to 55 are considered Poor and are candidates for reconstruction. Streets with a PCI in the range of 56 to 100 are considered to be in Fair to Good condition and are candidates for Preventative Maintenance.”  The map below indicates PCI of all city streets.  Red indicates a rating of 0-10, orange 11-39, yellow 40-54, and green 55-100.  (For a closer look at a specific street, click on this  link to access an interactive map.)

PCI Map

     This same site has a written explanation of the criteria used to determine overall street condition: pavement condition (PCI), curb and gutter, drainage, ADA (American Disability Act) requirements, and underground utilities.  It also states, “The SPMP is for applying preventative maintenance to streets that are still in Good condition. It is not designed to fund reconstruction of those streets that are in POOR condition.  Streets with a PCI in the range of 56 to 100 are considered to be in Fair to Good condition and are candidates for preventative maintenance, which includes seal coats or overlays.” Seal Coating adds a wear surface that lasts up to 7 years, while overlays can last up to 10 years.  A street with a PCI of 17, such as the one depicted in the photos below, is obviously in need of something more drastic than a seal coat or overlay.  Unfortunately, that requires a completely different kind of repair, such as full reconstruction, which is typically funded by a bond.

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South end of Sentinel Drive in Flour Bluff
North end of Sentinel Drive in Flour Bluff
North end of Sentinel Drive in Flour Bluff

     Two of the ad hoc street committee members, Andy Taubman and Kyle Pape, took a drive around town to get a real look at the residential streets.  What they found was rather revealing.  For example, they discovered that PCI varied greatly even for similarly situated streets.  Hosea, Joel, and Amos were built in 2007 and have basically the same kind of traffic, yet their PCI ratings vary greatly, especially Joel’s.  They also found that streets classified as “failing” are actually stable, such as Vista Ridge Drive in the Calallen area, and may deserve a higher rating.  Furthermore, though some streets have lots of alligator cracks and a PCI of 1, as is the case with Dodd, the ride itself is not bad.  The road is just ugly.

Poor Joel

PCI Dodd

     Some roads Taubman and Pape found to be dangerous.  These streets had more than just potholes.  Some, such as Yorktown Boulevard at Rodd Field and Hearn Road looking east at Callicoatte Road, have a bad case of “right lane sag” which creates a sensation in the driver of running off the road because the car pulls to the right.  Other roads have jarring dips, as on Orlando Street.  This condition has the potential to damage a car, which can cause anxiety in drivers.  Other streets have holes or washed out areas at the turn edge.  The northeast corner of McClendon at Staples has just such a problem, which could also cause damage to vehicles.  Still other roads are simply too narrow for two vehicles and oftentimes are without shoulders.  At night, this kind of road (i.e. Don Patricio in Flour Bluff) gives the driver the feeling that oncoming vehicles are approaching them head on.  These kinds of conditions do not figure into the PCI, but they do figure into what some might call the OSI (Oh, S#*@! Index).

PCI Jarring Dip
Jarring Dip
PCI Narrow Road
Narrow Road
PCI Turn Edge Damage
Turn Edge Damage
PCI Right Lane Sag
Right Lane Sag

     After examining the PCI data provided by city staff and then actually cruising the streets of Corpus Christi, Taubman and Pape put together a presentation for the Street Committee that outlined their findings.  First, streets with a PCI of 0 to 10 do not necessarily drive worse than streets with a PCI less than 55.  Second, actual ride quality is mostly independent of PCI and does not take into consideration dangerous situations.  Third, some seal-coat roads that have a high PCI may actually produce a poor ride.  Fourth, citizens don’t care as much about alligator cracking as they do hazardous driving conditions.  Last, maybe the City should consider that PCI is not the best management objective and consider devising a better plan for prioritizing the streets slated for maintenance – with safety concerns topping the list.  By doing so, they can spend the allotted street maintenance funds more efficiently and actually address streets that the citizens know are in dire need of repair.

     The Street Committee also reviewed if the City was getting its moneys-worth from the seal coat and overlay programs.  The City does these treatments to preserve the life of streets that are in good condition and uses the street fee added to everyone’s water bill to do them.  The review consisted of looking at the road quality to see if the treatments had protected the roads as expected over time.  What the Committee found is that it appeared that seal coats were not as effective as planned.  Overlays did not have enough history to provide definitive results, but the small data set did not inspire confidence of maintained quality either.  The City cites many reasons why this occurred and hopes to improve the process going forward.  The Committee recommends that this analysis continue to see if the situation improves or stays the same.

PCI Overlay Cohort

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Takin’ It to the Streets: The Potential Role of the RTA

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Opinion/Editorial

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     “We’re here to give you an affirmative statement.  We will be glad to work with you.  We would be glad to see this program moving forward, and hopefully we can make it even better,” said Tom Niskala, Nueces County appointee to the RTA Board of Directors, at the February 1, 2016, meeting of the City of Corpus Christi Ad Hoc Residential Street Infrastructure Advisory Committee.

     Did anyone hear that?  Evidently the reporter from the Caller-Times somehow missed it because it wasn’t mentioned anywhere in his article about the meeting, which was printed on February 2, 2016. Maybe he heard it but didn’t include it.  Maybe he included it, but someone on the editorial staff cut that tidbit out.  Perhaps it isn’t something Mr. Whitehurst wants to hear since it is not in keeping with his opinions about the role of the RTA expressed in his column on January 31, 2016.  Actually, it’s more in alignment with what Andy Taubman described in his forum piece printed in the Caller-Times on January 26, 2016.

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Andy Taubman speaking to Flour Bluff citizens about streets

     Niskala explained that in 1986 about a million dollars went to street reconstruction out of the RTA budget.  “That fund has increased to about $2.6 million in 2015 and $2.8 million in 2016 that goes directly to the City of Corpus Christi and gets deposited directly into the streets program.”  He related other contributions the RTA has made to the city streets program, including the area around City Hall near the new RTA office building.  “We’ve got some repairs to a few streets, and that includes Sam Rankin, Josephine, and Mexico.  Those repairs will be $500 to $800 thousand depending on the approach.  The RTA also participated in the improvements of Artesia and Mestina as a part of the Staples Street Station project.  Those totaled about $900,000 on the RTA’s part,” Niskala said.  He went on to explain that other projects included specific sidewalk, ADA, and street improvements, which totaled about $1.5 million in 2015.

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     “There’s been about $5 million in 2015 and about $4 million in 2016 that’s going into a variety of street, sidewalk, and ADA improvements in the area,” Niskala said of current contributions made into the street program.

     “In the past, those projects were mutually agreed to by the city and the RTA.  Somewhere along the line, that became a contribution into the city’s general revenue fund.  More recently, it now goes directly into the streets program, and it’s a little bit more strategic.  But we agreed that that could be even better enhanced and have some additional strategic thinking that is looking at the types of projects that we are mutually interested in and coming up with an approach beneficial to both the city and the RTA,” said Niskala.

     Niskala spoke about the role of the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) and their new bike lane plan and the pedestrian plan.  Niskala also reminded everyone that the RTA serves a much larger area than just Corpus Christi.  “The RTA serves the majority of Nueces and San Patricio counties, so we’ve got to look at the projects beyond the City of Corpus Christi.  It’s something that could be a good collaboration effort between the MPO, the City of Corpus Christi, and the RTA that could lead to a far more efficient and effective use of funds.”

     Niskala told the committee that some discretionary funds are available from the FTA (Federal Transit Administration).  “The RTA is a designated recipient.  Through a good, collaborative effort, we could do some type of grant program that might enhance the sidewalk programs that provide access to and from our transit stops.”  He added that federal grants always have some strings attached, so some restrictions will apply, which would limit the use of the grant funds to quarter-mile distances from each bus stop.   Niskala, however, said, “It’s a program we could build upon.”  That is a sizable area since there is somewhere around 1400 bus stops in the city according to Valerie Gray, Director of Public Works.

     “I think the idea is a good one, the RTA working with the MPO and the city to look at how this program might be enhanced.”  He explained that the plan would have to presented to the RTA Board of Directors, which he saw as an item for discussion at the February retreat.  “So, we might be able to bring back some more detailed information on how this might work.”

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Takin’ It to the Streets: CC Streets Program Headed Down a Better Road

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Opinion/Editorial

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It appears that Andy Taubman and the other members of the ad hoc street committee are making a difference in changing the status quo down at the street department. At Tuesday’s council meeting,  Valerie Gray, the city’s executive director of public works for the past year, presented a plan that sounds almost identical to what Taubman and his “A Team” have deemed necessary in order to get the runaway street problem under control.

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Andy Taubman, Ad Hoc Street Committee Chairman

Currently the Street Preventative Maintenance Program has completed less than half of the projects that were slated for completion by 2016.  From the data collected by the street committee, it appears that the department created its own roadblocks by creating an environment of “We will continue to do today what we did yesterday” even when it wasn’t working well.

This outdated way of building and maintaining streets worked extremely well for a handful of big contractors, especially one who claims to have made over a billion dollars off city street jobs.  This comment was made when contractors were invited to attend the third meeting of the committee to address what is working and what is not working in the current SPMP program.

One of the committee members, Alan Guggenheim, who has lived up to his description on Linked In as “highly experienced in reorganizing, streamlining, and strengthening business to maximize delivery performance, customer satisfaction, profitability, and shareholder value across operations,” asked a simple question of one contractor.  “What are your criteria for measuring success?”  It was a reasonable question, a good question, a question asked by private business owners all the time, but one that amazingly hasn’t been asked of the contractors until now.

Guggenheim
Alan Guggenheim, Committee Member  (LinkedIn Photo)

The contractor’s answer?  “Make an obscene profit.”  Well, that’s great for the businessman, and certainly that’s how capitalism works.  But, what does that say about the way the City has been spending our hard-earned tax dollars? Maybe now there will be some accountability within the system.  It’s amazing how new eyes on an old problem can lead to solutions.

In today’s Caller-Times article, Mayor Nelda Martinez is quoted as saying, “There’s no question of the unprecedented construction work underway on our streets. This is the most bullish we’ve ever been on streets, and I know we’re going to get better — there’s always room for improvement — but I can’t tell you how proud I am.”  Perhaps the Mayor and the other three council members who were adamantly against the formation of the committee in the beginning are starting to see the good that has come from this group of concerned and knowledgeable citizens .  Surely they have made the connection between what has come out of the committee and this sudden change in the “business as usual” attitude of City staff.

Councilman Chad Magill, who initiated the creation of the committee, is at every meeting and is often seen seated next to Carolyn Vaughn, a savvy business owner and council member who supported the creation of the committee and nominated Alan Guggenheim to serve on it.  The five who were in favor of the committee from the start (Magill, Vaughn, Rubio, Garza, and Rosas) should be proud of their efforts in taking the first step to fixing a broken program. Magill told the Caller-Times, “I’m more confident in our seal coat process than I ever have been.”  He went on to say that he anticipated even more improvements to come from the recommendations of the street committee.

Magill FBBACarolyn Vaughn

Next week Council will hear the full plan that includes the City being more small-contractor friendly so that work on the projects can be sped up to meet the December 2016 deadline.  Using more than one contractor for these projects has been a discussion item at many of the street committee meetings.  This kind of collaboration among City staff, the committee of concerned citizens, and the Council gives us hope that our streets will improve and that our tax dollars will be spent wisely.  In the words of John Hannibal of the television series The A Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

John Hannibal (Isotech.com Photo)
John Hannibal (Isotech.com Photo)

Clarificaton:  Council member Colleen McIntyre pointed out to the editor that the final vote for the ad hoc street committee was a unanimous one (9-0).

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Takin’ It to the Streets: Addressing the Status Quo

Corpus Christi, Front Page

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     “Problems are hard to see when buried in a culture of this is how we’ve always done it,”  says Andy Taubman, CC Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee chairman.  He could not stress enough how the City staff are good, decent, competent people who have been more than willing to assist the street committee.  “I believe they are trying to do the right thing.  I’ve had interactions with plenty of government people over the years, and it’s very rare when I can make a blanket statement saying that I really think most of the people are doing it for the right reasons and doing a decent job.”

     Taubman went on to say, however, that the current culture doesn’t foster accountability, importance of shared communications, or respect for innovation.  The system absolutely fosters “We’re going to do tomorrow what we did yesterday, and we’re absolutely not going to look at what we did yesterday because we may not like what we find.”

     Taubman says that this is just typical of human beings in general, so he can’t blame individual people.  “There’s a cultural problem that we have to decide as a community if we’re okay with that or not.”

     When asked if the SPMP (Street Preventative Maintenance Program) is well-run or efficient, he took a deep breath and said he thought the SPMP is an extraordinarily good idea because it requires that we take care of the streets that are in acceptable condition since the cost of reconstructing a street is enormous.  However, the program is short on funds by $5 to $10 million dollars per year, and if the City wants to take care of what it has, then they need to find that amount to do it.   “Should we scrounge to do that?  It wouldn’t be a bad place to spend money,” Taubman said.

     The residential street committee is staying out of the funding discussion at this stage of their work because “it has a way of sucking the oxygen out of the room,” he said.  Taubman points out that there really is only one source of funding.  The dollars used for any city service, whether in the form of a property tax, a fee, or an excise tax, come only from “the pockets of the citizens.”   He went on to say that it appears that other avenues of funding have not been explored because it just is not the way the status quo thinks about the problem of funding.

     “At the margin, there are some sources out there that ought to have a bigger role in the paying for things.  The RTA (Regional Transportation Authority) has a role to play here.”   (RTA current contributions to streets)

       Kirsten Crow of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported in April of 2015: “The agency draws funds through a 1/2-cent sales tax, which generally supports its day-to-day operations. The RTA’s sales tax allocation dropped about 8.2 percent from 2008 to 2009, but overall increased from 2004-13, from $17.7 million to $32.9 million annually, according to the comptroller.”

Andy Taubman 1     In Taubman’s  report,  “Street Methods and Standards:  Residential Streets”  (Read full document here), presented at the January 4, 2016, Corpus Christi Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee meeting, other findings were revealed:

  • Conditions leading to poor streets
  • Street standards implemented in 2013
  • Additional changes to standards and practices that might be required
  • Focus of current street programs
  • Citizen satisfaction priorities for streets
  • RQI (Ride Quality Index) vs. PCI (Pavement Condition Index)
  • Street safety
  • What a million dollars gets the City in residential streets
  • Residential road management objectives
  • Maximizing road fixed per dollar spent
  • Pot hole / small area restoration focus as strategic part of the comprehensive street plan
  • Additional important street considerations for a new residential street program
  • What City staff and committee need to do next
  • Standard costs for reconstruction, overlays, seal coats, and small area restoration

     There has been no move by the City staff to ask, “Can we ramp up since we’re not going to meet our deadlines?”  Even though the program is months behind schedule, “that question never gets asked,” said Taubman.  “A good private business asks this question all the time and would say ‘I’m hiring this contractor, this contractor, and this contractor, and we’re going to surge here and get it done because my year-one program has to be done by the end of year one.’  That doesn’t happen.”

     “If you don’t ask the question, you can’t address the problem.  Because of the way the system was constructed, when you get to that point, you couldn’t address it even if you wanted to address it because you have one IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity) provider for that particular service.  It wasn’t like there was even the possibility of doing that.  In a new program, these are all shakedown issues.  It didn’t get addressed year two.  Now, we’re in year three.  It hasn’t been sorted out yet.”

           The committee meets through May.  Then, they will make recommendations to the City Council based on their findings.  “Even if we come up with good ideas, is there the possibility of implementation?  I don’t know.  It sure seem like it’s hard.  I don’t know where the impetus is going to come from inside the system to say ‘Wow! Now that my eyes are opened, we’re going to do it differently.’  I just don’t know where that’s going to come from.”

(This is the third in a series of articles about the work of the residential street committee.)

 

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Takin’ It to the Streets: A Highly Qualified Committee

Corpus Christi, Front Page

    

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     On October 27, 2015, nine dedicated citizens set sail on the CC Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee, on a seven-month voyage through oceans of engineering, accountability, and information sharing documents as they celebrate the successes of the current program, identify areas in need of improvement, and develop a plan of action for moving forward.  This is the first of a series of articles that serves to log their progress and offer information and insights into the picture that is so much bigger than the pothole at the end of the street.

     The Corpus Christi Caller lists the members as:

  • Chris Duff, 43, is a  Realtor who views the streets through the eyes of prospective residents;
  • Toby Futrell, 61, is a retired city manager from Austin who hopes to offer a different perspective on an old problem;
  • Alan Guggenheim, 65, is a civil engineer and conservative thinker with an analytical mind who seeks to develop an improved plan that is cost-effective;
  • Javier Huerta, 44, is an architect and former Planning Commission chairman who wants a cost-effective plan that achieves good results and more accountability while creating more competition among contractors;
  • Kyle Pape, 41, is an engineering consultant who offers his project management skills to help find the lowest-cost solutions to the problem of residential streets;
  • Darrell Scanlan, 50, is a chemical engineer and lifetime resident who wants to make his hometown better by offering his expertise in the areas of business and construction;
  • James Skrobarczyk, 65, is a real estate broker who specializes in real estate development, construction, and sales in the Corpus Christi, Texas area, and whose love for the area motivates him to help find an answer to the street problems;
  • Richard Stracener, 59, is a heavy machinery salesman who has called Corpus Christi home for over 50 years wants to find ways to save money while increasing the longevity of the streets;
  • Andy Taubman, 48, a real estate investor and manager serves as the chairman of the committee and hopes to create public trust in the city government by implementing his Infrastructure Committee Plan  which outlines the role of the committee and was approved by City Council on October 20, 2015.

     The committee is subject to the Open Meetings Act and meets at City Hall on the first Monday and third Wednesday of every month at 4:00 p.m. As of this writing, the committee has had five meetings, the first two being organizational in nature.  Andy Taubman was elected chairman and Javier Juerta, vice-chairman.  The committee discussed its purpose and expectations, established subcommittees, and proposed dates for presentations from each subcommittee.  An online message board was set up to keep the public informed, and an ccStreetCommittee@gmail.com account was created to accept public feedback.  Valerie Gray, Executive Director of Public Works, gave a presentation on Street Operations and the Street Improvement Plan Strategies.  Additional information was provided by Andy Leal, Interim Director of Street Operations, and Jeffrey Edmonds, Director of Engineering Services.

 

(This is the first of several articles covering the work of the residential street committee.)

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Takin’ It to the Streets: A Man with Questions

Corpus Christi, Front Page

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     Voltaire said we should “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”  Asking the right questions is what Andy Taubman, Ad Hoc Residential Street Infrastructure Advisory Committee chairman, sees as the main role of the group of nine citizens charged with addressing the problem of failed residential streets in Corpus Christi.   Taubman made it clear an hour and 50 minutes into the October 20 City Council Meeting that the questions he and the other committee members  have about engineering, accountability, contracting methods, and information sharing are designed to assist City staff in evaluating the existing program to identify successes and areas in need of improvement, not assign blame.

     At this meeting, Taubman’s Infrastructure Committee Plan came under fire from Mayor Martinez and Council members McIntyre, Scott, and Riojas, who were opposed to the plan and ultimately voted against it.

     Council member Lucy Rubio spoke in favor of the plan:  “What are we afraid of?  We have a group of people who want to help us get this right.” Rubio voted for the plan, as did Council members Vaughn, Garza, Magill, and Rosas.

     At the October 27 City Council Meeting, Taubman was nominated by Councilman Magill who said: “He’s got the mind and the will to actually produce something that is tangible and actionable.”

    In a November 1, 2015, Caller-Times editorial, Taubman proved Magill’s assessment when he wrote:  “Understanding the current situation is a necessary precursor for improving it.”  By posing the right questions, Taubman believes the committee can facilitate change in the existing system, and perhaps even in the existing culture.  “We started the process by looking at an existing program because you get two benefits by doing that. We get to ask: What happened in the existing program? Do we think it is efficient? Well-run? Did the money get spent right? Are we happy with it going forward in its same incarnation?”

     These questions prompted the committee to invite contractors, consultants, and outside engineers who help the City with street work to the meeting on December 1, 2015.  “We think that any problems and any solutions that exist are probably going to come from the people who are doing that work every day.  That’s why we are seeking out feedback – because the goal is not necessarily to be judged on making mistakes.  However, we will be judged on repeating or not repeating the mistakes.  We are looking at the Street Preventative Maintenance Program (SPMP) as a model for what will ultimately become the Street Reconstruction Program.”

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     At the December 16 Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee meeting, Taubman shared “A Private Business Person’s Perspective on a Governmental Process,” a 19-page report co-authored by fellow committee member, Chris Duff.   The committee concluded that the SPMP can be labeled a success because “money got spent” and “roads got fixed.”    Below is a list of some of the information included in the report:

  • An overview of the SPMP Program including current funding sources;
  • A program underfunded by $5 to $10 million per year in comparison to the natural aging of the streets;
  • The high price tag attached to ADA requirements;
  • The cost of seal-coats and overlays;
  • Possible funding sources, including RTA funds;
  • Observation that seal coat is one year behind while overlay were 23% complete at fiscal year end;
  • A method for bidding and awarding contracts that may not lead to the best value and is not small-contractor friendly;
  • A terminology used by City staff to relate information to the citizens that is confusing and rarely allows for real transparency;
  • A lack of feedback to evaluate efficiency in the City system;
  • A need for the use of technology to determine the condition of a street;
  • Staff responses to the committee’s observations and recommendations.

 

Did the committee learn anything beyond that?  In an interview from December 31, 2015, Taubman offered his thoughts on how current street maintenance practices affect the whole program:

      “The seal coat program is one year behind schedule. In two years they’re one year behind. That’s not a little miss; that’s a big miss. The reason the seal coat exists is to preserve the streets. Being behind isn’t just an inconvenience, it has a real cost. Cities don’t do a very good job of measuring opportunity costs. Everyone complains about the $100 being spent in a place somebody doesn’t like. If by not getting the seal coat work done you’ve lost a million dollars in value of the streets, nobody says anything because you can’t measure opportunity costs. If projects are managed well, there are three variables that really get managed: time, quality, and cost. Those are the three variables that get managed in a private situation. The goal is to balance the three. In a city setting time goes out the window. This discussion doesn’t happen because the three types of years (program year, fiscal year, calendar year) don’t match up. So, no one asks the question. Nobody really knows.”

     When asked if City staff has the ability to adjust that, Taubman responded:  “Excellent question. No one asks if the city can ramp things up to meet a deadline. The money is already allocated through our fees, so it isn’t a question of funding. The way they contract for these services is that they wind up in an IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity) with only one provider for each service. In private business, the owner will hire extra contractors and get the work done. If the question is never asked of City staff, then it can’t be addressed. And, since there’s only one provider, the question can’t be asked at all.”

     Taubman believes another question must be asked: “How and why does the money get spent?”

     “If people are concerned about how the money gets spent and why the money gets spent, then it’s important to have a street committee. I’m not convinced people care how or why the money gets spent. I think that businesses that are very well run ask this all the time,” said Taubman. “I’m not saying anything bad about City staff, but they don’t care if the question gets asked or not.  The City council members feel they need to ask the question out of a sense of duty or obligation, but do they really care if the question gets asked or not? Some do.  Some don’t.  Do the voters really care whether the question gets asked or not? I don’t get an overwhelming sense that that’s an important part of what people think about.  The paper definitely doesn’t care about the question. When you think about the role of media in society where they’re supposed to be asking the question, that’s where I say the biggest deficit in dereliction of duty happens.   Do I really think anybody cares? No. So why are we doing this? I don’t really know.”

     When asked why he is driven to lead the committee and continue to ask the question, Taubman said, “Part of why I’m doing this is because that’s not the way governments operate, but it is the way people operate.  In my experience personally and professionally, I think it’s an important thing to do.  Should we as citizens come together and ask that of government? I would otherwise in a vacuum say yes. I just don’t see any evidence that’s the way the world really works, so I don’t know.  People in their own lives and businesses do it, so come hell or high water we’re going to do this on behalf of the citizens in the context of good government.”

     Like the little boy in Han Chrisian Andersen’s “The Emperer’s New Clothes,” Taubman’s questions are opening doors, eyes, and minds to the possible need for change in the status quo.  “Is there a need or willingness for change within the current system?” Taubman asks.  Time will tell.  For now, the committee members continue to take the road less traveled by the average citizen in their quest to “get it right.”

 

(This is the second of several articles covering the work of the residential street committee.)

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