In addition to this column, members are welcome to post their questions in the general forum area of the APWA website at www.apwa.net. There, other members have the opportunity to post their answers directly. We also retrieve those questions with broad appeal for "Ask Ann."
"Can we get a listing of MicroPAVER users so we can contact them about our problems or issues?" was the question received from Dave Callahan, Lubbock, Texas.
Sorry to say, the answer is "No." The MicroPAVER program is proprietary and the list of members is not available. Current users, who have submitted their Roster of Users to APWA, are automatically subscribed to the MicroPAVERS users group and can communicate with other users through this network.
The new MicroPAVER 5.0 software has been mailed to all current users. Despite a few glitches, good installation has been the norm. If you are interested in this pavement management program, contact Teresa Hon in our office in Kansas City at email@example.com.
"Does anyone have a policy on employees using cell phones while driving city vehicles? I understand there have been some recent cases where the city was found at fault for not having a policy."
Many cities have found it necessary to develop policies governing the usage of cell phones, especially while driving. Randy Bukas, Village Administrator, Whitehouse, OH and Wes Hare, City Manager, LaGrande, OR both have developed straightforward policies that require the employee who receives a call, while driving, to either pull over and answer the call, or tell the caller they are driving and will call them back when they are no longer behind the wheel. If you have other policies that address this issue, please send me a note and I'll share them with others.
A recent posting on the Infrastructure Protection and Right-of-Way Management infoNOW Community has stirred a great deal of interest. It came from Steve Wegman, City of Champaign, Illinois as follows:
"We are considering charging fees to contractors who occupy space on streets during construction projects as a way of encouraging them to minimize traffic disruptions. It seems logical that the busier the street, the higher the value to keep the lane open. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions on how to set fee rates that reflect actual costs to motorists? Our fees will have to have some direct connection to real costs to the City and the public."
Responses were varied, as you would expect from our wide range of subscribers to the community. One respondent questioned the value of charging contractors because the costs would simply be added to the project fees and the taxpayer ultimately ends up paying extra with no guarantee that time would be saved. Others had more proactive ideas, including simple fees of $30 the first month and $10 per month thereafter for placing fencing, which wasn't appearing to be much of a deterrent. Still another has a formal ordinance, which bases street closure fees on an exact formula.
If you want more information about these responses, or have input you'd like to share, it's very simple to subscribe to the Infrastructure Protection and Right-of-Way Management infoNOW Community. Follow the "key" icon at the top of the APWA website, www.apwa.net, and the directions will get you signed up.
Of course, the advantage of subscribing to an infoNOW Community is the instant response you receive from your peers across the association. Nothing beats "instant response" and you can't beat infoNOW for providing that.
If you'd like to share your ideas with me, I'd be happy to have them and will try to include them in a later edition.
Questions are welcome.
Please address all inquiries to:
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625
Fax questions to (816) 472-0405