Recently a small segment of Astoria’s entrenched 16th Street got blacktopped. Buttoned up. Put to bed. Praise the Ford … albeit it’s only between the intersections of Duane and Exchange streets.

Still, I joyfully hosed off a thick layer of airborne filth, which for weeks had settled upon the Heritage Museum’s western porch, plus adjacent sidewalks. No more dust to track indoors.

Suddenly, glancing north towards the river, my delight turned dark. A murky puddle covered the corner of Duane and 16th. Why? Because at its low spot, where water’s naturally going to pool, there’s no sewer opening. Instead, said grate lies 9 feet uphill. So over the next hour, my swash meandered east until Duane met 17th in front of the Moose Lodge.

This high level inability to connect the dots infuriates me on several counts. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer bucks get pocketed by big-wheel contractors — now well into their third month disrupting major arteries — yet here’s vivid evidence that once they’re finally out of our hair, they’ll leave behind another soppy pedestrian obstacle for local yokels to sputter about.

Yes, indeed, it’s no isolated incident. Last year similar mislaid drainage was installed above the crosswalk at Duane and Seventh streets, behind the Clatsop County Courthouse. Doesn’t anyone in City Hall oversee repaving? Astoria foot traffic deserves a better return on their dollar, not dolor.

Hefty penalties should be assessed for such asinine engineering to deter further muck ups. This ain’t rocket science. Every grade schooler knows water will flow to the lowest point. Slotting a runoff above that spot won’t do diddly when rains return.

Larry Ziak

Astoria