Sidewalk construction for Nova2010 continues but 'woefully' short By TaMaryn Waters Being blind is a way of life for Bruce Weaver, and so is riding the bus. Weaver, 48, who's been blind for 25 years as a result of a hereditary disease, rides a bus five to six times a day since he's the independent-living coordinator for Ability 1st. His job is to teach those with disabilities how to use StarMetro's buses as well as he does. With StarMetro's new Nova2010 bus system slated to launch this summer, city crews are tackling the tough job of correcting safety issues with sidewalks and building new ones in areas where no sidewalk exists so people like Weaver can get better access to bus stops. "Without sidewalks, my level of independence would be significantly hampered," said Weaver, who also serves on the city's Transit Advisory Committee. Even though he's pleased to see more sidewalks in the works, Weaver is disappointed all of the sidewalks needed for the massive decentralized bus system will not be done anytime soon. The city has $15 million carved out of its budget for sidewalk improvements related to Nova2010. But there's $37 million worth of need, which is roughly 25 miles of sidewalks, said Gabriel Menendez, the city's public works director. As a result, the city has to prioritize which sidewalks get done. Forty one segments in varied lengths, equal to $8 million of construction costs, are on land where the city has right-of-way. But 30 other segments needed for Nova2010 are not owned by the city. Menendez said it would cost an estimated $29 million obtain the needed right-of-way. "We are going to be woefully short on sidewalks," Menendez said. "We are doing everything we can to make the process work."