ASK ANN

"Has APWA considered having a national Snow or Equipment Rodeo in conjunction with the Snow Conference or Congress? It would be nice to be able to have our employees compete and our chapter doesn't have one."

It has been considered, discussed and researched for several years. Many chapters sponsor their own and that seems the most appropriate way of offering the event. As you can imagine, finding a location, having available equipment and manpower to operate the event, scheduling a time within the busy schedule of either event, and adequate, affordable insurance are all concerns. If you want to see how chapters are making it work locally, visit the individual chapter websites at www.apwa.net/Chapters to see if they have included information. Most are more than happy to share their success and less-than-success stories.

"We have some extremely dangerous sections of the Interstate that run through our community. Many accidents occur each year and, while it's not our roadway that is causing the problem, it is often our residents who are involved in the aftermath. What are other areas doing to prevent this?"

Many of these accidents are occurring from crossover accidents where a vehicle loses control or is involved in an accident on one lane of the road and is propelled into the oncoming traffic which creates another accident possibility. Missouri has experienced over 400 fatalities and more than 2,400 injured from accidents of this type in the past decade. MoDOT has recently installed three-strand, low-tension median guard cable to prevent vehicles from crossing into opposing traffic lanes. It is used where medians are narrower than 60 feet. Results on I-70 indicated that where previously there had been 24 deaths in areas where the cable was installed, the past year saw only two. While the cost of materials may seem high, the saving of lives far outweighs the expense.

"I was in a meeting recently where someone mentioned 'Green Roofs' and I assumed they were talking about green buildings, or those that are environmentally friendly. Is there a difference?"

"Green Roofs" and the use of this building technique have been popular in Europe for several years. We've just been slow to get on board in the U.S. A green roof system is actually an extension of the existing roof which involves a high-quality waterproofing and root repellant system, a draining system, filter cloth, a lightweight growing medium and plants. Some of the benefits include: protection of the roof membrane resulting in a longer material lifespan and decreased maintenance; savings on energy heating and cooling costs; sound insulation; provision of amenity space; and aesthetic appeal which increases the value of the property. In addition, a major development is tax credits that are being offered in some cities for stormwater fees because of the reduction of runoff. For more information on this growing system, visit www.greenroofs.org. It could be the best time you've spent lately.

"I've heard it all now. Hybrid trash trucks? You must be kidding."

Nope, no joke. Mack Trucks has already delivered two garbage trucks and three dump trucks to an Air Force base in Charleston, SC and this is just the beginning for these vehicles. Energy security, peak oil production and global warming are factors that have led Volvo, International, Sterling and other manufacturers to begin a massive marketing campaign for hybrid technology in trash trucks, city buses, construction equipment and urban distribution trucks that crisscross American streets. Volvo expects to begin production in 2009 and others are following suit. If you want more information, contact one of the members of the APWA Fleet Services Committee. You can find their contact information at www.apwa.net/About/TechSvcs/Fleet.

"I know 911 is for emergency services, 411 is for telephone information, but now I'm hearing people talk about 211, 311, and 811. What are all these things?"

Plain and simple, they are additional direct lines to assist our citizens. 311 is being used by many cities as Customer Service Request lines. If you need to know where to go for a specific city service or need to lodge a service request for a city utility, dialing 311 will get you to a consolidated Customer Service representative who will forward your message immediately. This is not only good for the resident but good for city government as they can track more efficiently which services are needed and where. 811 is being released as this issue comes to your desk. It is the new Call Before You Dig number which will make it easier to have utility locates made prior to any excavation, regardless of the scope of the project. Should save hundreds of man-hours from unnecessary repairs caused by "Do It Yourselfers" who begin projects in the background without getting all the appropriate utility locates, as well as major construction projects. 211 is a relatively new system in place in some communities which connects the caller with the consortium of local service agencies who can provide assistance to residents with special needs, i.e., community action agencies. Now, we need to be certain our staff members are adequately trained in the art of Customer Service when responding to these calls!

Ask Ann...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquiries to:

Ann Daniels
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625

Fax questions to: (816) 472-1610
E-mail:
adaniels@apwa.net