Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Greenfield announces for District 17

Because I have a sincere interest in getting to know my possible coworkers, I attended Steve Greenfield's announcement that he's running for legislature in the new district 17.  The entire announcement should be on Channel 23 sometime soon.

Steve has a problem with incumbent Susan Zimet:  he doesn't think it's okay that she has a lobbying business.

By contrast, he pointed to his three years on the New Paltz School Board as proof that he doesn't try to profit from his influence.  He also said that he will bring his knowledge of emergency services, infrastructure, education, land use, and transportation to bear upon problems at the county level.

When asked about Golden Hill, the only specific issue which came up before I had to leave, he hedged his bets a bit.  He acknowledged that there are some services which can't be provided well by private industry, because there's no profit in it; however, he didn't specifically say that Golden Hill is one of those.  He would solve that problem "by the numbers," he said.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Recycling roads

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to go down Plains Road with Highway Superintendent Mike Nielson, so I could see what a recycled road looks like.

Plains Road was the first one in New Paltz which was resurfaced by a process that allows for the reuse of the existing asphalt on-site.  Reusing materials is nothing new, but typically the road gets ground up and carted away for reprocessing, and ends up on another road elsewhere in the county.  This equipment allows it to be ground down, picked up, melted, and mixed with some new material right there; then it's laid back down and rolled.

Here's Mike, annoyed that I have a camera but explaining how the whole shebang works:

There are limits to this technology.

  • Because of the length of the train, short roads and dead-ends can't be resurfaced like this.
  • If there are deep cracks in the road bed, a full replacement will be needed anyway.  Anything that needs to be ground down more than five or six inches can't be replaced this way.
  • The process leaves the road pebbly, and it still needs to be sealed, which isn't the case with traditional road replacement.
  • Nielson hasn't tested it to see if the results can stand up to our highest-wear roads, like Horsenden. (The fact that we send our truck traffic along that narrow, windy road is another problem entirely.)
I haven't looked at a full cost-benefit analysis, but the benefits to the residents are pretty clear:  a two-week process, including curing, took six hours to complete.  It's also pretty cool to watch:

Making campaign promises is easy.  Fulfilling them, not so much.