The Local and Regional Street Renewal Programs fund general maintenance and rehabilitation/reconstruction of the city’s local and regional streets and sidewalks. Most of the funding in the Local and Regional Street Renewal Programs is allocated to rehabilitation or reconstruction of local and regional streets. Streets are selected for renewal based on condition of the roadway. When a street (or street segment) is renewed, any sidewalks along that street or street segment are also renewed.
A small part of the streets renewal program is set aside for repair of sidewalks outside of a street renewal. This extra funding for sidewalk renewals might be used to fix a sidewalk that has deteriorated faster than its adjoining street, or to bring a substandard sidewalk up to current standards to ensure it meets the needs of all users. The Pedestrian and Cycling Strategies mapped out the city’s current sidewalks and identified where sidewalks were either missing or substandard.
In 2013 and 2014, the city set up reserve funds financed by annual property tax increases to accelerate the renewal of local and regional streets and sidewalks. These reserve funds have allowed the city to greatly increase the amount of money it spends each year on rehabilitation and reconstruction of local and regional streets.
For instance, between 2008 and 2012, the city spent an average of $39.2 million on Local and Regional Street Renewals. With the introduction of the reserve funds, funding increased to $50.4 million in 2013 and to $84.2 million in 2014.
While funding for regional and local street renewal programs has continued to increase since 2013 and will continue to increase to 2024 and beyond, funding for sidewalk renewals on regional streets has remained stagnant at $500,000 per year, while funding for sidewalk renewals increased from $400,000 per year to $800,000 per year in 2015, but has not increased since.
With adoption of the Revised Accelerated Regional Street Renewal for Federal Funding program on September 20th, funding for local and regional street renewals will continue to grow, but funding for sidewalk renewals will remain unchanged.
Accounting for 2.44% of the local and regional street renewals program in 2006, funding for local and regional sidewalk renewals will amount to just 1.01% of program funding in 2019, and will have dropped to just 0.73% of the programs funding by 2024.
We recommend that beginning in 2019 budgets for sidewalk renewal and within the Local & Regional Street Renewals program be doubled, and that the amount allocated to street renewal projects be dropped by a corresponding amount for a net change of zero in the total funding allocated to the Local and Regional Street Renewals Program.