Recommendations

Tonight, Mayor Stephanie Miner delivered the 2016 State of the City address. She talked a lot about our work, and unveiled some of the initiatives we have recommended that will put the City of Syracuse on a path to improving infrastructure. You can read an overview of her announcements below. This is just the beginning as we will continue to expand upon the infrastructure initiatives in the coming months.


Our initiatives come in three main buckets: use data and technology to help make decisions, coordinate construction projects, and improve customer service.


 

DATA AND TECHNOLOGY

 
  • Pilot sensors on water mains that can detect leaks in a defined network every day: Our pilot network area will be located in downtown Syracuse, and we hope to expand if the pilot is successful. Detecting and then fixing leaks is cheaper than fixing water main breaks. Additionally, the maintenance can be planned, so residents and businesses will not be unexpectedly out of water. In the long term, a system like this should help to reduce the number of water main breaks in the city.
    Target launch: Immediately

  • Dedicate staff to fill potholes, daily: Barring major snowstorms, crew from the Department of Public Works will be out in the city filling potholes on a daily basis using Durapatch trucks - which the city already owns. These trucks can fill potholes faster, more effectively, and using fewer crew members than other methods. Filling potholes helps protect the integrity of the road, and makes commutes smoother.
    Target launch: Summer, 2016

  • Pilot sensors on City vehicles to detect deficiencies in the road: We identified a company called Argo Labs that created a product called the Street Quality Identification Device (SQUID). It is built with a low-cost computer that is mounted to a vehicle, and uses an accelerometer and camera to measure the bumpiness of the road and photograph the potholes and cracks so problems can be fixed. This allows the City to be proactive in filling potholes. It also supplements the city’s existing road rating process, and allows for more frequent analysis of the city’s roads. The results are pushed to an online map for better visualization of the quality of streets in the city as a whole.
    Target launch: Spring, 2016

  • Use more preventative maintenance on city roads: The Department of Public Works will begin sealing cracks in the road to prevent salt and water from seeping in and degradating the street. While the city does need to rebuild many roads that are in very poor condition, it also needs to focus more on the assets that are still in fair or good shape. Instead of investing as much in traditional methods of milling and paving - taking asphalt off of the road, then replacing it - the City will begin using a process called micropaving that puts a top-coat of sealant on a road, extending its expected life. Micropaving is about 1/10 of the cost of milling and paving. By investing more in preventative maintenance, the City should be able to build a sustainable strategy toward maintaining all the roads in the city, all within current budget constraints.
    Target launch: Spring, 2016

  • Dedicate staff time to test water main valves using new technologies: Valves control water flow in our system. They need to be exercised to work. If a water main break happens, and the closest valve is not working, the water crews need to move to a broader area to turn off the water. This cuts off water access to more people. Valve-testing crews will use special technologies that efficiently and effectively test valves, and then log the results so the Water Department knows where valves need to be replaced.
    Target launch: Immediately

 


 
 

CONSTRUCTION COORDINATION

  • Coordinate construction projects among city departments, private utilities, and developers: It is not uncommon for a brand new road to be cut into within a couple of years because the underlying infrastructure was not analyzed before the road construction project took place. Using a formal planning processes, better mapping, and more analysis, departments and agencies will work together on projects more often. This saves the City money, and also reduces the number of cuts into the road after it has been repaved thereby increasing its lifespan.
    Target launch: Summer, 2016

  • Enhance guidelines and rules during construction to ensure that all road repairs are done properly: Emergencies, like gas leaks or water main breaks, will continue to happen underneath new roads. By ensuring that repairs in the road meet high standards, the road lifespan will increase.
    Target launch: In progress


 
 

CUSTOMER SERVICE

  • Launch a centralized online hub for city infrastructure at CityLine.syrgov.net: This website offers a mobile-friendly experience where you can make and track service requests, like asking for a pothole to be filled, requesting bulk trash pickup, and more. You can still call the CityLine phone number at 448-CITY (2489). With each request, you will receive a tracking number so you can follow the status of your request.
    Target launch: In progress

  • Launch an online notification center to update residents of the city about upcoming construction: Available at CityLine.syrgov.net is a map with descriptions of upcoming construction projects that will require roads to be closed, either partially or fully. This map will be updated regularly to add more complete and definitive information about each project.
    Target launch: In progress

NEXT STEPS

These initiatives will ensure that the city is being purposefully proactive when addressing infrastructure issues - using data and information to better inform decision-makers. In the coming months as all of these initiatives take hold, we will be tracking them and applying metrics to determine where they are successful, and where they need improvement.

We will have more announcements expanding on all of these initiatives in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! And, please leave comments with your thoughts about the initiatives below.

Innovation Team

233 East Washington Street, Downtown, NY, 13202