“Dramatic street raising causes the city problems. It elongates the projects, it causes there to be a lot more cost and complexity and it is losing the trust of the residents,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian.
Fighting over whether to elevate road or how high to raise them slow down other work that could help residents now, like installing more pumps and clearing drains. One of improvements delayed over the dispute about North Bay Road was repairing area fire hydrants, where the water pressure suffers because of leaky, aging pipes.
Samuelian sees street raising as an answer to tomorrow’s problems, not today’s, and unnecessary in some neighborhoods.
In some cases, he said, elevation could even hurt the neighborhood. Neighbors opposing street elevation consistently cite a loss in their property value as a big concerns. They also worry higher streets will make their front doors will look funny and potentially funnel damaging water into their homes.
“We’re counting on our property base to fund the projects. We had to be very careful about anything we could do that would impact that,” Samuelian said. “I think we need to stop.”
Samuelian and some residents point to the findings of recent expert groups, which advised adopting more natural solutions, like plants, to soak up excess water.