"It's been awhile since I heard much about the red lighting-running cameras that were such a hot topic a couple years ago. Has there been enough data collected to determine whether they are worth the cost and provide any real benefits?"
Interesting you should ask! The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has recently released a new report, Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras, which indicates that the total number of right-angle crashes was reduced by nearly 25 percent and the number of injuries resulting from right-angle crashes was reduced by 16 percent. But that's only part of the story. Their research found that the total number of rear-end crashes increased by 15 percent and the number of injuries resulting from rear-end crashes increased by 24 percent. So there's good news and not-so-good news. However, the study also provided an economic cost analysis that both the right-angle and rear-end crashes at intersections negates the economic benefits of fewer right-angle crashes occurring at these same intersections. The combined results from seven jurisdictions indicated a positive aggregate economic benefit of approximately $39,000 to $50,000 per site per year. Sounds positive. The entire report is available at www.tfhrc.gov/safety/pubs/05048/index.htm. Check it out for all the details.
"How do other municipalities enforce the leakage of garbage water from garbage haulers that operate within the municipality? Does anyone have a policy or ordinance that addresses the spillage of this type and what are the penalties?" Mark Senior, Raleigh, NC
There's nothing more irritating to the neighbors than to have the garbage truck drip a stream of stinking liquid on the street in front of their home. This issue should be addressed in any contract you may have with your collection company, if it's a private one. If not, your own agency also needs to ensure that seals are tight and every precaution is taken to keep the liquids inside the vehicle. Check with your state department of natural resources or environmental protection for criteria that can be included in your collection contract. Equipment manufacturers should also be able to provide you with needed correction information.
"Sometime ago I recall reading a study that was done regarding the reuse of winter sand. I thought the CRREL lab in New Hampshire had conducted this study. This, however, does not seem to be the case. Does anyone recall who did this study or where I can obtain a copy of that information?" David Higgins, Boston, MA
After extensive research, I haven't found the report you were referencing. I did locate one titled "National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure (Infraguide)" prepared by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities which does discuss the issue. You can find it at www.infraguide.ca/lib/Db2File.asp?fileid=4556. It's a large document so wait for it to download. If other readers can direct David to other sources, please share with him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or forward to me and I'll share the information.
"Any clever new ideas to increase recycling?"
Only if you're willing to take a chance after you've already lost with the first chance you took! Confused you, didn't I? The Massachusetts State Lottery, in conjunction with E.L. Harvey & Sons Inc., has developed a new program that has recovered some 50 tons of non-winning lottery tickets which are being converted to paper goods such as tissue, toilet paper and napkins. Lottery players receive one free $1 instant ticket for every 25 used tickets they return. An early collection in Boston on Earth Day netted eight tons of tickets in five hours while one in June collected 16 tons in the same five-hour period of time. Supporters believe the program benefits both the consumer and the environment. Sounds like a "winning" idea to me. For more information, contact Joe Truini, a reporter for Waste News, at email@example.com.
"I recently read an article with a reference to the "Fleet Reduction" program put in place by the City of Philadelphia, PA. Can you provide any details?"
With the continued escalation of costs associated with operating a public fleet, and now adding excessive increases in fuel, as well as a desire to develop and implement best practices, the City of Philadelphia did, indeed, do a reduction of their fleet. They report the impact will avoid $9 million in spending during the next five years because it relinquished 300 vehicles. The cost-avoidance calculation includes costs of acquisition, parking, maintenance and repair, and fuel. An interesting sidelight is that the reduction was within every department of the city, not just heavy vehicle users. City staff has developed 10 Steps to Success for the process which you may want to review. Contact Robert Fox, Chief Administrative Officer, Philadelphia Office of Fleet Management, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
"What is the most likely method of covering budget shortfalls?"
According to a report in Public Management Magazine, 84 percent of local governments considered adding or hiking user fees or charges to cover the budgetary needs. Of those who considered this method, 88 percent actually did add or raise them. Sounds great if you have an enterprise fund within your public works department. Maybe you want to reconsider that stormwater utility program again.
Questions are welcome.
Please address all inquiries to:
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625
Fax questions to (816) 472-1610