Shock! State Audit Finds Dysfunction at DOT – Streetsblog New York Metropolis

Damaged visitors cameras. Worn-away crossing markings. Intersection fixes, like visitors lights, that take perpetually to get completed.

Right here’s a narrative that gained’t shock those that stroll or bike on metropolis streets:

The Division of Transportation fell down on the job of sustaining security at some metropolis intersections — and repairs on the harmful corners usually took approach too lengthy, in keeping with a state watchdog.

One of the neglected intersections identified in the audit.
One of many uncared for intersections recognized within the audit.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s workplace reviewed the operations of a number of DOT items that monitor or repair intersections and “discovered that each one of them want to enhance their efficiency,” according to a Sept. 30 audit, which coated the interval of Jan. 1, 2016 via March 13, 2020 and checked out intersections across the metropolis. The audit examined the workings of the Intersection Management Unit, the Enhanced Intersection Unit, and the Visitors Administration Heart.

Some key findings:

  • Visitors research for fixing intersections (these are sometimes requested by native authorities, resembling Metropolis Council members or neighborhood boards) had been taking too lengthy. The comptroller’s evaluation of 78 intersection research discovered these took a mean of 10 months to finish, when the DOT’s Useful resource Information stated these research needs to be accomplished in 4 months. “In reality, 34 research took a couple of yr to finish,” the audit stated.
  • Visitors cameras stayed damaged for lengthy durations, “together with 35 visitors cameras that had been out of service for over 180 days, with two visitors cameras out of service for over 5 years.”
  • Enhancements that the DOT promised per visitors research (for instance, visitors indicators) weren’t made — or, not less than, hadn’t been made when the comptroller’s inspectors checked. Auditors visited 17 intersections the place the DOT had advisable such enhancements  “and located six enhancements that weren’t carried out.”
  • Some visitors research lacked required documentation.

The audit advisable that the DOT up its recreation, mainly, by:

  • Requiring that the division meet its personal time frames.
  • Growing “a course of … to make sure that enhancements advisable by its inspectors are carried out promptly.” 
  • Guaranteeing that intersection examine information include all required documentation.
  • Growing procedures on digital camera restore.

Within the DOT’s protection, the audit notes the situations it described stemmed from an unlucky, multi-year backlog within the mid-oughts that owed to a swap to digital record-keeping, a glut of requests for visitors research from the general public, and the calls for of Imaginative and prescient Zero.

The DOT countered in a nine-page response to the audit that it disagreed with the audit’s findings and conclusions “in a number of respects” — however agreed or partially agreed with 11 of the state’s suggestions for bettering its operations and disagreed with two (which it stated stemmed from misunderstandings of unit capabilities). Particularly, it copped to the wants to repair visitors cameras extra rapidly and to supply higher traffic-study documentation. The press store didn’t instantly return a request for remark.

DiNapoli is the state’s chief fiscal officer and has broad oversight of businesses all through New York.

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