Sidewalk policy, installation recommendation approved

City Council
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Monticello City Council not only approved a new Sidewalk Policy, as suggested by the new Sidewalk Committee, but they also approved the committee’s recommendations for sidewalk infill on Seventh Street associated with the Breckenridge Addition.

     The Sidewalk Policy covers maintenance, inspection, inspection criteria, best repair practices, repair processes, specifications, city responsibilities, infill, and infill procedures. Many of the sections covered already exist in the city code. The new additions deal with infill.

     The council previously asked the Sidewalk Committee to come up with a citywide policy that covered the entire town, and not just the Breckenridge area.

     “The policy addresses key issues related to sidewalks,” noted Police Chief Britt Smith who heads the committee. “We tried to address many aspects as we could to make a sound decision with solid backing.”

     Council member Dave Goedken commented that he was glad to see the policy covered the cost-share issue, with property owners responsible for 50 percent of the project cost.

     Smith said the committee decided on the 50/50 number to cover labor and materials.

     Goedken asked whether the committee could come up with a sidewalk budget for each year. Smith said that would be hard to do, as every project is different.

     “We want to priorities projects by evaluating their cost effectiveness,” Smith said.

     By starting with the Breckenridge area, Smith said the committee could show off the progress made.

     “The goal is to make this city pedestrian friendly and to improve walkability,” Smith added.

     Scott Eastin, a member of the Sidewalk Committee, was present at the council meeting. He informed the council that the policy is just a starting point, and that more changes would come as the committee moves forward.

     “We want to connect the schools, parks, library, etc.,” noted Eastin. “We need to take care of our kids. This is a good starting point.”

     The Seventh Street sidewalk improvements will help direct kids safely to Carpenter School. With approximately 34 kids residing in the Breckenridge Addition, several of them walk to Carpenter for school or to catch a bus to another school building in town.

     Others serving on the sidewalk committee include aside from Smith and Eastin include: Denny Folken, Kris Lyons, and Mayor Brian Wolken.

     With the Seventh Street sidewalk recommendation, the one notable change is a 50/50 cost-share for all properties whether residential or commercial.

     Smith said the recommendation is consist with the Sidewalk Policy and addresses access, utilities, and property boundaries.

     Goedken said an added issue on Seventh Street aside from lack of sidewalk is the speed at which traffic flows. He asked Smith if a crosswalk would be more beneficial than just sidewalk.

     Smith disagreed, saying the kids can be taught about the safe, designated areas to cross the street, and not just in the middle of the street.

     Shannon Simonson who lives in Breckenridge said a crosswalk on Seventh Street, as noted by Goedken, really wouldn’t solve the problem. But the crosswalk on Gill Street is a lot safer for kids.

     “A sidewalk is the safest way to get kids to school,” added Desiree Bacon.

     Smith said neighborhoods change over time, and Breckenridge may not always have so many kids throughout the neighborhood. A new sidewalk verses a crosswalk addresses getting kids to school safely and walkability at the same time. A crosswalk only addresses one, single issue.

     “There may not always be a school there either,” Smith said of the elementary school.

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