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Thread: Need help re: maintaining sidewalks

  1. #1
          Downtown's avatar
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    Need help re: maintaining sidewalks

    Ok, I'm working on a project this morning. My suburban town is on the verge of declaring the equivalent of a ban on new sidewalks because DPW says they don't have the $$$ to maintain (even though they aren't paying to have them installed in the first place). Can anyone direct me to somewhere that will have general figures on maintenance costs for sidewalks?

    Basically we have a new access road that is being developed that will link two major connector roads in our town, and have located along the new road: the new YMCA and youth center, a large senior citizen complex, a senior citizen planned unit development and the new 125 acre park.

    Thanks guys!
    Kelly

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I'll see if I can dig up anything from our DPW...not sure what I'll find though...they're not the most ardent sidewalk supoporters either....
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Are you talking operating (shoveling) or replacement kind of maintenance? Around here our state laws make snow removal etc. the resonsibility of the abutting property owner and cities have the power to assess for installation, replacement or safety improvements.

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          Downtown's avatar
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    Either. The snow removal issue i don't care so much about - we get maybe 5 good snows a year - we can always argue to make property owners responsible. I'd be ecstatic to get repair figures, though.

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I think our Engineer was asked to do a life cycle costing for sidewalks and recreation trails. I don't know if it's done since he's been so busy with 'field work' this time of year. I'll check and PM you for your email if it is ready. I think it may only have local value though, since it takes into account our soil types and frost expectations.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Here, new sidewalks are entirely the responsibility of the property owner. The city only pays across city-owned land. Costs can be assessed and paid back over time on the tax bills.

    Sidewalk maintance (shoveling) is also 100% the responsibility of the property owner. The city does do downtown sidewalks and city-owned sidewalks, such as those in parks. We have designated bike/pedestrian paths which do not get shoveled - they become cross-country ski trails in winter.

    Sidewalk replacement is split between the city and property owner, 60/40, I believe. It is based on a four-foot wide sidewalk, although we build five feet. The extra foot is the city's cost. We rotate through different parts of the city every year, replacing bad sidewalk. Affected owners are assessed per city ordinance. The annual budget for the city's portion, which does include some new sidewalks to fill gaps, is about $10-20,000, in a city of about 14,000 people.

    Put in those sidewalks. I still remember a plan board meeting discussing a new theater, where a couple people got up and made the argument that sidewalks were not needed because nobody would walk. Parents would always drive their kids and college students would drive too. As it turned out, people do walk. For a year we had people walking along the gravel shoulder of a busy US highway until the plan board and city decided that they had made a mistake and put the sidewalks in.

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    Cost Share?

    One idea to consider is a cost share program since your major concern is the financial aspects.
    This will be a contractual cost share project between yourself and the developer -- you both can sit down and crunch the numbers on the cost and compromise on who pays for what.
    Down here (jacksonville) uses this techique for interior roadways, or for those that fail concurrency.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Kel you are looking at between $2.25 - $4.50 s.f. to do concrete sidewalk in the NY Metro area. Are you doing curbs too? That's where you run into the big bucks. Again NY Metro = Asphalt curb $3.00 lf, mountable, granite, or belgian block is about $30 - 35 lf.

    That is just to install, and does not include costs for earthwork. Maintenance usually reverts back to the property owner though.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    If you have Lotus I can send you an average cost estimate for the NY Metro which includes costs for everything you'd ever need.

    I think you can open it in Excel too, not sure though.

  10. #10
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Originally posted by Mike DeVuono
    Kel you are looking at between $2.25 - $4.50 s.f. to do concrete sidewalk in the NY Metro area. Are you doing curbs too? That's where you run into the big bucks. Again NY Metro = Asphalt curb $3.00 lf, mountable, granite, or belgian block is about $30 - 35 lf.

    That is just to install, and does not include costs for earthwork. Maintenance usually reverts back to the property owner though.
    Kel:

    The numbers I got from DPW are similar....construction costs, nothing on maintenance (we don't have many sidewalks, and the ones we do have aren't plowed).
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  11. #11
          Downtown's avatar
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    *eyes brimming*

    You guys are the best. Mike, I'll PM you my email address, if you wouldn't mind sending the spreadsheet (have Excel). I've spent all day making a stupid map to give to the powers in charge. This is the densest, most populated and mixed use part of our town, our "Suburban Downtown" if you will. They've even gotten grant money to put stupid banners up on the street, on the arguement that this is our "Downtown" and now we can't put sidewalks in? Grrrr..... it has been a very bad day here.

  12. #12
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    What is the alternative to putting in a sidewalk, having people walk along the roadway. This is fine if you have 1 or 2 cars every 10 minutes, but in rush hour the cars will be blocked and accidents could happen. If your pedestrians are anything like new york's they will walk on the road before they would walk on a mud trail or a long path through a park. Pedestrians try to take the shortest most convenient path to their destination. A sidewalk is better than a dirt path across people's lawns or pedestrians in traffic. New york has a huge defecit but would never get rid of it's sidewalks, why would a suburb not be able to afford to maintain them?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I totally agree with you green. Nothing gets me more upset than to see new developments with no sidewalks. It is my belief that sidewalks are a necessity to all residents humans, because we all walk, roll, etc.

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