[tabi] slightly different published version of article on sidewalks and Nova2010

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2011 11:17:33 -0500

Much work to be done on sidewalks for Nova 2010
* Published: February 04. 2011 2:00AM
 Being blind is a way of life for Bruce Weaver, and so is riding the
Weaver, 48, who has been blind for 25 years as a result of a hereditary
rides a bus five to six times a day since he's the independent-living
for Ability 1st. His job is to teach those with disabilities how to use
buses as well as he does.
With StarMetro's new Nova 2010 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 sidewalks exist so people like Weaver can
have 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 decentralized bus system will not be
done anytime
The city has $15 million carved out of its budget for sidewalk
improvements related
to Nova 2010. But $37 million in improvements is needed, which is
roughly 25 miles
of sidewalks, said Gabriel Menendez, the city's public works director.
As a result, the city has prioritized which sidewalks will 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 Nova 2010 are
not owned by
the city. Menendez said it would cost an estimated $29 million to 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."
Places slated to get new or improved sidewalks include portions of
Maclay Boulevard,
Fleischmann Road, Killearn Center Boulevard, Richview Road,
Jim Lee Road and Weems Road.
The sidewalk projects are expected to create 75 jobs, said Michelle
Bono, assistant
to the city manager. Construction is expected to start within a couple
of months.
The city prioritized the sidewalks based on several factors, including
whether a
pedestrian-related crash has happened in the area and whether it would
be used by
children to get to school. Menendez said the city plans to work with
Leon County and the state on right-of-way issues.
Sidewalks in the city seem to be a never-ending saga. There is an
estimated $500
million worth of sidewalks need for the entire city, Menendez said. It
would take
more than two decades to fix. Part of the problem is that sidewalks were
an afterthought or no thought in the early planning years for the city.
"We are trying to make up for a lot of lost time," Menendez said.
The new bus system will reduce the number of routes currently used, and
it will no
longer use the C.K. Steele Plaza
 as the main transfer point. The bus system currently has 1,052 stops
compared to
the 766 stops with Nova 2010.
Besides sidewalks, other improvements are already in place or headed for
some bus
stops, including chirpers to help visually-impaired riders, lighting
pads and new
shelters, said StarMetro director Ron Garrison.
Several stops, such as those on Centerville Road
, have no sidewalk access. Although here are other improvements
associated with Nova
2010, Garrison said sidewalks are important.
"It's obviously easier to walk on a sidewalk for everyone," he said.

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