Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2007

Street, sidewalk projects on tap

May 31, 2007

A consolidated plan to repair, build and fund streets, sidewalks, trails and Safe Routes to School for the coming four years is now on the Lansing Department of Public Works to-do list after last week's City Council work session on the 2008 Capital Improvements Program.

The five-year financial estimates that stem from a cohesive outlook for the city will allow the council to prioritize repairs and calculate a budget, something councilmember Ken Ketchum deemed important.

"If we never know what it's going to cost, we'll never fund it," he said to Public Works Director John Young last Thursday. "That's what we need to determine."

Ketchum also said he wanted to see more sidewalks in the city, especially in the "old part of town."

The CIP is a city-funded, five-year plan to repair streets, sidewalks, gutters and curbs as deemed important after the department's annual spring inspection. Budgeted for repairs throughout the program are miles of street, 17 sidewalks, four gutters, 14 driveways and 30 curbs.

Currently, the street overlay element is the core of the program, budgeted at $200,000 in 2008 and jumping to an estimated $259,000 in 2011.

Young said the program's plans are close to average on spending for the various elements.

"It never keeps up with demand but we're close," Young said. "We're doing well. Each one of those elements is geared to a 5 percent increase each year of that program to try to keep up with inflation and cost of materials, so we don't go sliding back on type of work we can do. We're not growing the program, we're just trying to keep up with inflation."

Sidewalks were a primary concern during the meeting. Many council members echoed Ketchum's concern, but the cost for repairs outweighs funds for new sidewalk construction. Repairs plus ramps would cost $11,000 in 2008.

Two years ago a policy decision was made to repair sidewalks that were potential safety hazards rather than require property owners to make the repairs.

Youn said the city also regulary receives requests from residents for new sidewalks throughout the city

"The point here is that it's not included in the Capital Improvements Program," Young said. "The only money we had is for replacement, but we don't want to take money for overlay and new sidewalk construction, but as such time the council would like to fund any new sidewalk program, we'd be happy to work with you to do that."

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