Sidewalk panel to give final proposal for 2012
JANESVILLE The 2012 sidewalk program is likely closed after the sidewalk committee decided Wednesday to forward a recommendation to the Janesville City Council on July 23 to build more than another mile of sidewalks.
The council had given the committee until July 9 to study the 2012 program, and the committee recommended then that more than two miles of the 5.1-mile program be installed.
The council approved all recommendations and extended the committee's deadline for another two weeks. One committee member, however, cannot meet again until August.
The city wants to give residents 30 days to install their sidewalks using private contractors before the city installs them, so anything later than the July 23 council meeting gets too close to cold weather.
The segments the committee Wednesday recommended to be installed this year are:
-- Wright Road from Skyview Drive to Brunswick Lane.
-- Wright Road from Ruger Avenue to Skyview Drive.
-- Wright Road from Ruger Avenue to Canterbury Lane, although four lots along that stretch were recommended deferred until they are developed.
-- Midland Road to the 600 block of Midland Road.
-- Midland Road from Palmer Drive to the 400 block of Midland Road.
The above segments either are on arterial or collector streets with the highest rankings under criteria developed by the committee or close gaps where sidewalks are being built that are already paid for.
The committee will next meet Wednesday, Aug. 1. It will continue looking at the remaining 2012 sidewalk program and future years.
The council created the committee to study the controversial seven-year program after it was halted at the suggestion of two new council members.
The committee Wednesday continued working on what the members call "subjective filters" rather than objective criteria.
The criteria include traffic volume and distances from schools and parks.
The committee did define several filters. The filters include a cost and benefit ratio, the method by which the committee would determine whether a street gets sidewalks on one or both sides, the connectivity of the system and whether a sidewalk makes "objective" common sense.
Not yet discussed is how to handle residents' preferences. Many people don't want sidewalks because they do not want to pay for and maintain them.
Committee Chairwoman Carol Tidwell at the beginning of the meeting Wednesday removed herself as an active participant other than a facilitator.
She said she favors sidewalks but understands residents' economic concerns.
"Every group like this deserves an impartial facilitator," Tidwell said. "It is very difficult to do both, if not impossible."
Several committee members urged the council to look at alternative ways to fund sidewalks.
Member Ed Madere suggested council members could consider requiring sidewalks be built when a home is sold, with the cost worked out in the sale.
"We ought to keep an open mind to the concerns of the folks that currently reside in those areas that do not have sidewalks but recognize Janesville is going to be here 100 years, 200 years from now," he said.