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Friday, July 4, 2014

Episode 132 -- Where Credit Is Due

Got a pleasant, intelligent and informative response to a nastygram email I sent, and I wanted to give credit where it's due.  Yes, I am a crotchety old man.

Episode 132 - Where Credit Is Due

Hello and Happy Independence Day to you all in the US, and happy 4th of July to those of you who aren't here -- I gather you still have the 4th of July there, if not the blowing stuff up for entertainment.  However, if you want to blow stuff up for entertainment, you have my permission, just be safe and don't get anyone hurt in the process.

I wanted to share with you an email I got, in response to a nastygram I sent out about a recent Duluth Transit Authority detour issue.  The road crews from the city have been out doing some work on the avenue where I live.  Normally I can just cross the street to catch the bus to work, and and coming home the bus stops very close to my home.  With the construction, the DTA had worked out a detour that avoided the original patch where the city was working and still passed my house -- and then the road guys changed to a different part of the road, and the DTA made a huge change in their detour, leaving me several blocks to walk to and from the bus.  The DTA didn't update their website with the new detour route right away, and I had the joyous surprise of having the bus home stop and the driver tell us he was taking this huge detour along the freeway.  So I was rather cranky.  Just as a hint, I don't walk with my cane because it's a pretty color.  Although yes, it is a pretty color.  Anyway, for my rather snappish email, I got this response from the DTA:

Hello David,
First, I apologize for the inconvenience. In my 26 years here, I am not sure
I've been as frustrated with a detour as 24th AW. We were not contacted by the
city about the roadwork on 24th AW between 4th and 6th Streets and only found
out when the press release was released. We set up our detour route, and then
had to modify it when they opened up the intersection at 6th Street. Yesterday
at approximately 3:00p, with no notice, they closed 24th AW at 9th Street. In
that area there is no viable detour route for a 40' bus and we were forced to
re-route all buses to Piedmont Avenue and 21st AW. The drivers were sent this
detour routing, but with no notice, we were not able to communicate this to the
public. I am awaiting a call from the inspector on the project this morning so
I can get some answers. Once again, I am truly sorry for the confusion.

Rod Fournier
Director of Operations
Duluth Transit Authority

I appreciate Mr Fornier responding promptly and directly to my nastygram.  I think that is a very classy response.  If anyone is looking for transparency, that's a good example for ya.  I'm still pissed, and moreso while walking to and from the bus, but I'm not pissed at the DTA anymore.  They were presented with a fait accompli and stuck with finding a way around the problem.  Literally, come to think.

I'm also not pissed at the road crews.  This avenue is heavily used all year round, and is a Snow Emergency Route.  If you can get through anywhere, you can get through on a Snow Emergency Route, that's what they're for.  So they get heavily used and thoroughly salted, sanded and beat to rubble through the winter.  Road work in Duluth is a tough business, and I respect those who have to struggle to get it done on our much abused and often quite steep roadways.

But there's someone who is responsible for communication for the city, especially this sort of internal communication.  The road guys didn't just roll the dice a couple days ago and decide this particular work had to happen now.  Someone scheduled it, probably a while back, and someone was supposed to make sure those affected would know it was coming.  They didn't do that, and given their job is exactly that, communication, it was a big failure.  Someone in particular needs the finger pointed at them, and I'm happy to be the one to give them the finger.  I mean, um... pretend I said that in a nicer-sounding way.

Anyway, I'm gonna go look for rummage sales and get some sunburn for a while.  I hope you enjoy your holiday, and we'll talk to you next time.

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