[tabi] article for tomorrow's Democrat: Sidewalk construction for Nova2010

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2011 16:36:36 -0500

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
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
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
"We are going to be woefully short on sidewalks," Menendez said. "We are
doing everything
we can to make the process work."

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