>Letter: Middletown needs to take lessons from county road dept.

>The following letter appears in this weeks edition of the Independent. The letter reflects fairly well the frustration that residents felt and may still feel about the clean-up efforts after last weeks massive blizzard that struck the area:

In Middletown, our recent snowstorm was not only a climatic event; it was catastrophic to its citizens. From its inception, this storm paralyzed transportation on Middletown’s roads. The storm started with intensity at approximately 10 a.m. on Sunday; it roared into Monday and stopped at approximately 4 a.m. S ervices in the form of plowing appeared to be nonexistent not only during the storm but after the storm.

On Monday morning, the concept of plowing turned out to be a real mystery. With the exception of the Monmouth County roads, the roads in Middletown were not really plowed. There didn’t even seem to be an attempt to plow a single lane down the middle of the road. I always thought this was done to facilitate the movement of police, ambulance and fire vehicles. I was very concerned; I therefore called the offices of both Public Works and the business administrator. The phones of both these departments were not manned. The phone at public works had a pre-recorded message, which stated that the individual had just stepped away from her desk and I should leave a message. I called the police department and there was an immediate response from a live person. The individual said that they didn’t have anything to do with the roads.

I began to think and I reached back into my memory. I began to recollect that under our form of government it is the business administrator who is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Middletown. I made another call to the business administrator’s office, and once again I experienced an unmanned phone. I didn’t think that it would be appropriate to give a civics lesson to a message recorder.

Driving on Middletown’s roads has been a real challenge. It may be related to shake, rattle and maybe roll.

Middletown needs to take lessons from the Monmouth County Road Department. The work done by this department can be described as nothing less than excellent.

Middletown needs to learn how to plan, manage, deploy, schedule and implement the skills of its workers. They are a great group of guys. They should have the opportunity to do a great job.

P.S. I can’t wait for the next snowstorm. I’m thinking about purchasing a snowmobile.

Preston Gillam
Belford section of
Middletown

13 Comments

Filed under blizzard, clean-up efforts, Letter to Santa, Middletown, snow storm, the Independent

13 responses to “>Letter: Middletown needs to take lessons from county road dept.

  1. >Preston,You are absolutely right. Monmouth County's Public Works under the direction of John Tobia and the Freeholders did an excellent job on the county roads. I have lived on Swimming River road in this township for over forty three years.A county road is the place to be in stormy weather.I can never remember when the County did anything less than an excellent job on the roads in any storm. They are to be lauded for their efforts.It is appreciated.Middletown doesn't want advice about anything. They think they know it all about everything and are good at excuses when they don't.

  2. >Right as usual Ms. Thorpe.

  3. >The Middletown department of Public Works has taken a lot of grief for it’s handling of the snow removal from the recent blizzard. Mike, you recently published a criticism our road department that suggested Middletown could learn from the county road dept. The implication is that Middletown somehow mismanaged the snow removal operation. By many accounts this recent blizzard was the worst to hit the area since 1947 in terms of wind speed, temperature, timing and intensity. How did the county achieve better results than Middletown?The county is responsible for 85 county roads with a total length of 222 miles. The average length of which is 2.6 miles long. Middletown has 330 miles of roads. The county has 115 trucks and 200 people dedicated to snow removal. Middletown has “24 to 30 workers” on the road according to the mayor. In addition there are about 7 private contractors used to supplement Middletown’s municipal operations. Each county truck is responsible for less than 2 miles of road while each Middletown truck is responsible for roughly 9 miles of road. The county has more trucks than roads. The county divides its 222 miles of roads into 15 districts of about 15 miles per district on average. Middletown has 4 districts of about 80 miles each.The county could have plowed all of Middletown’s roads and all the county roads and still only been responsible for about 5 miles per truck, about half what each Middletown truck was responsible for.In order for Middletown to achieve the same truck/miles plowed ratio as the county they would need a total of 140 more trucks and an additional 140 workers to man those trucks. Not to mention the additional supervisors to coordinate the operation. The primary problem Middletown would face with that many plows on the road would be trying to keep them from hitting each other. Granted, many of the county roads are very short and spread out over a greater distances but it seems fair to say that the county is much better outfitted in terms of manpower and equipment to handle a twice a century storm event such as we just experienced than Middletown.So what is the lesson to be learned from the county road department? Perhaps it is that you get what you pay for.Sources:http://rumson.patch.com/articles/monmouth-county-says-its-ready-for-snowhttp://freehold.patch.com/articles/monmouth-county-helping-clear-route-18http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_county_routes_in_Monmouth_County,_New_Jerseyhttp://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/28/earlyshow/main7190797.shtmlhttp://co.monmouth.nj.us/documents/3/2009%20Introduced%20State%20Budget.pdf

  4. >The Middletown department of Public Works has taken a lot of grief for it’s handling of the snow removal from the recent blizzard. Mike, you recently published a criticism our road department that suggested Middletown could learn from the county road dept. The implication is that Middletown somehow mismanaged the snow removal operation. By many accounts this recent blizzard was the worst to hit the area since 1947 in terms of wind speed, temperature, timing and intensity. How did the county achieve better results than Middletown?The county is responsible for 85 county roads with a total length of 222 miles. The average length of which is 2.6 miles long. Middletown has 330 miles of roads. The county has 115 trucks and 200 people dedicated to snow removal. Middletown has “24 to 30 workers” on the road according to the mayor. In addition there are about 7 private contractors used to supplement Middletown’s municipal operations. Each county truck is responsible for less than 2 miles of road while each Middletown truck is responsible for roughly 9 miles of road. The county has more trucks than roads. The county divides its 222 miles of roads into 15 districts of about 15 miles per district on average. Middletown has 4 districts of about 80 miles each.The county could have plowed all of Middletown’s roads and all the county roads and still only been responsible for about 5 miles per truck, about half what each Middletown truck was responsible for.In order for Middletown to achieve the same truck/miles plowed ratio as the county they would need a total of 140 more trucks and an additional 140 workers to man those trucks. Not to mention the additional supervisors to coordinate the operation. The primary problem Middletown would face with that many plows on the road would be trying to keep them from hitting each other. Granted, many of the county roads are very short and spread out over a greater distances but it seems fair to say that the county is much better outfitted in terms of manpower and equipment to handle a twice a century storm event such as we just experienced than Middletown.So what is the lesson to be learned from the county road department? Perhaps it is that you get what you pay for.Sources:http://rumson.patch.com/articles/monmouth-county-says-its-ready-for-snowhttp://freehold.patch.com/articles/monmouth-county-helping-clear-route-18http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_county_routes_in_Monmouth_County,_New_Jerseyhttp://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/28/earlyshow/main7190797.shtmlhttp://co.monmouth.nj.us/documents/3/2009%20Introduced%20State%20Budget.pdf

  5. >Anonymous,1/7 @ (:01 a.m.,Too bad someone in this administration,maybe you in particular, doesn't put as much effort into management as you do into making excuses !!Administration appears to be inept and so does the TC. Conditions days after the storm affirm this opinion.All of your excuses make the people sick to death of the rhetoric and excuses.

  6. >Hey, anon. 9:01 a.m.Getting ready to blame another huge municipal tax increase on the weather…..and lie about the increaselike this past year ? Think residents are that gullible ?

  7. >The residents who live on county roads pay taxes to both Middletown and the county.What does Middletown do for those residents. NOTHING we don't PAY FOR !!The number of miles in county roads in Middletown may be 222 miles but that is certainly not the total of miles of county roads in Monmouth County. Distortion of facts as usual from this adminisration.GOOD AT THAT,HUH ?

  8. >That's an interesting response. Here is the link to a list of the county roads in Monmouth County. If you don't believe my figures, do the math yourself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_county_routes_in_Monmouth_County,_New_JerseyI copied the mileage of the roads into Excell and totaled them. I am not a member of the administration.We all pay county taxes regardless of the street we live on and we are all free to drive on any of the roads we chose. I am not sure what your point is supposed to be.My point is that the county has more than enough manpower and equipment to handle any snowstorm. Middletown can not afford to purchase and man a similar fleet. If the county really did have all of the county roads "down to the pavement" as they claimed the day after the storm, why didn't they unleash their army of plows and people on the townships that cannot afford 115 vehicles?

  9. >Did Middletown ask the County or State for that matter for any assistance during this time? I don't think so.Was Township equipment spotted plowing Rt. 35 and Rt. 36 during this time by residents angry about not being able to get out of their streets, along with a few other roads that were not the townships responsibility to plow ? I am told yes.The point of the matter is that the Township was terribly unprepared for the storm when they had adequate notice about it. When it became larger than first thought no one asked for help! There has been other storms in the past that did not cause this type hardship and was dealt with properly. if the township is going to complain that they no longer have the resource to deal with this type of problem, than maybe the powers that be should rethink their priorities and cut from the township budget unnecessary expenses and pet projects like the swim club and arts center. Each cost this town ship nearly $1million combined to operate.

  10. >Looks like Peter's squads of buffons are just not capable of seeing the forests for the trees or dealing with reality.Just the totals of the miles of County Routes 537,520,50,4,38,527,547,16,17,52,88,51,524,1,571,526,10.10A,54,12,12A,34( Harding Rd,Red Bank) 33( Seven Bridges Rd) 7 and more have to total MORE than 222 miles. Care to rethink your calculation and consider the lack of management,reasoning and planning skills in this administration and in this township's elected officials ?Seems their priorities are just as screwed up as your figures. Most or all of the major arterial roads in Middletown are County Roads as is the case in all of Monmouth County.Suggest you get a Monmouth County Map and check again !!!

  11. >"Seems their priorities are just as screwed up as your figures"I have to agree, because my figures are not screwed up, your figures do not add up. I will post the roads you listed and their mileage at the end of this post. The roads you named, (the ones that exist anyway) add up to a total of 77.47 miles.The logic that you used to conclude that the roads you listed “have to total MORE than 222 miles” is the same logic that Mike uses when he states “the Township was terribly unprepared for the storm”. Both of you start with a preconceived notion that if the plows did not do an adequate job, then the township screwed up. Then you use anecdotal evidence and opinions to state “facts” which are inaccurate at best. Information that you receive that does not fit your bias is discounted out of hand, like my calculations for instance.There exists the possibility that the township simply was unprepared, I’ll grant you that. However these also exists the possibility that this blizzard was a unique situation that townships throughout the state did not have the manpower and equipment to handle.The State meteorologist stated that this was the worst blizzard since 1947. A Wall police officer stated that he has been on the force for 35 years and this was the worst blizzard he has ever seen. There were state roads that were closed for days. There were 200 cars abandoned on rt 280. Rt 195 was opened on Monday morning and closed Monday afternoon because of an 8’ snow drift that formed across the highway. Rt 18 was closed for days. Rt 71 in Long Branch was closed for 3 or 4 days. We had gale force winds for over 48 hours blowing snow over previously plowed roads. It is easy to point fingers and place blame and you guys will have plenty of company and plenty of people who agree with you. But it is important to ignore your obvious biases look at all the facts before criticizing people.Here are the roads that you say add up to more than 222 mile: 520 3.5550 8.194 3.0838 3.54527 1.18547 4.4516 6.2217 1.7352 5.25 88 no such county rd51 4.45524 1.661 6.54571 526 1.6610 5.21 10a no such county rd54 3.8212 4.1912a 4.434 4.54Harding rd 0.47seven bridges rd 3.34Total 77.47

  12. >YOU ARE TALKING NONSENSE….520 goes from Beyond Marlboro to Sea Bright ???? really your mileage calculation 13A is Sycamore Avenue13 is Shrewsbury Avenue537 goes from Tinton Falls to Jackson in Ocean County 524 goes from Farmingdale to Allentown50 goes from Tinton Falls to Belford 52 goes from Hazlet to Lincroft 4 goes from Colts Neck to Keyport516 goes from Matawan to Old Bridge547 goes from Oceanport to Howell & to Lakewoodand I could go on but you are not worth arguing with…so go get a Monmouth County map and try again….done with "know it alls" not as smart as fifth graders !To bad this is classic the stuff that works for or serves in this township !Wikipedia my A$$,you need reading glasses and an accurate calculator !

  13. >88 is Navesink Avenue in Middletown12 is Nutswamp Road and 12 A is Navesink River Roadno 10 A but 10 is West Front Street and River Road in Red Bank goes to Sea Bright527 goes from Freehold Twp to Englishtown and the figures offered are INACCURATE

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