City Hall faces another big loss today with the departure of Paul Ryckbost, a rare example of someone who started in public works as an engineer and ended up as a key planner in the city’s planning department. Ryckbost is one of the smartest, well spoken and thoughtful folks I know at City Hall, and his departing thoughts posted today on his blog are well worth reading.
Here is an excerpt I urge everyone (including our city council) to carefully consider:
Among my biggest accomplishments in Public Works was determining, estimating and mapping the 2007 GO Bond Election projects. I spent a lot of 5:00 am – 8:00 am sessions working on the 2007 GOB before my regular workday, going so far to as to mapping the 1989, 1995 and 2000 GOB projects as well. As a planner, I believe some of the projects (widening streets at the fringe, widening streets without high traffic count, building fire stations in rural areas) will only exacerbate problems with funding future operations and maintenance, but as a young staff member, I was excited to assist in passing the program package and helping the City overall.
Two of the streetscape projects I managed, the Asian District and NE 23rd Street, turned out well, but I worry about their longevity if the adjacent property owners and businesses don’t step up to maintain them. The City is moving forward on this type of issue with the Meridian Avenue corridor, and I hope it goes well and moves other districts that way.