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Report: City Under Funding Street Maintenance, Over 15,000 Trip Hazards On Sidewalks

Posted on April 3, 2017

Report: City Under Funding Street Maintenance, Over 15,000 Trip Hazards On Sidewalks

Tallahassee Reports has learned that a presentation to City Commissioners at a Wednesday workshop will report that the “City is currently under funding its street maintenance needs.”

Also, the report will inform the elected officials that it is anticipated that over 15,000 trip hazards exist on city maintained sidewalks.

The sidewalk hazards are important because in 2014 the City of Tallahassee approved a settlement in the amount of $100,000 for City Commissioner Gil Ziffer’s wife after she tripped on an exposed root on one of the city’s sidewalks and suffered significant injuries.

The report indicates that to maintain the current overall street network condition requires an estimated annual funding level of approximately $6.5 million.  The City staff reports the preliminary number of $6.5 million in annual funding is well within an industry rule of thumb of $10,000 per mile for annual maintenance for a sustainable roadway network. The City of Tallahassee has approximately 650 miles of roadways.

However, recent funding for street maintenance has been significantly lower than industry standards. Funding for street maintenance was $2.7 million in FY 2015, $3.2 million in FY 2016 and $4.1 million in FY 2017.

Over this three year period, based on industry standards, the City of Tallahassee is running a street paving deficit of approximately $8.5 million. TR has requested expenditures on street maintenance for prior years.

In addition, city staff will report that a consultants assessment of the pavement condition of Tallahassee’s roads finds the road network falls in the fair to slightly good range.

Tallahassee has a relatively low number of street segments that are in extremely poor condition. However, half of the segments surveyed by the consultant rated fair or lower. Staff reports that if this issue is not addressed, more and more street segments will decline in condition, and the overall street network condition will degrade.

Sidewalks

The City of Tallahassee is responsible for nearly 500 miles of sidewalks.  These sidewalks are subject to deterioration from vehicular loading, tree roots, and other age and environmental impacts.  Historically, funding to address continual maintenance needs for sidewalk infrastructure has been inadequate.

However,the FY 2017 Capital Budget included $825,000 additional funding for sidewalk maintenance.  This funding has allowed staff to better address the backlog of sidewalk condition issues throughout the City.

In October, city staff began a comprehensive assessment of trip hazards throughout the sidewalk network.  This assessment has already identified over 5,000 trip hazards on city maintained sidewalks.  It is anticipated that as many as 18,000 could be identified upon completion of the assessment.  While nearly 1,000 of these hazards have now been repaired, due to the backlog of these issues, addressing them will be a multi-year effort and consideration may have to be given to increasing the level of investment in this critical infrastructure component.

TR will have an update on this story after the Wednesday workshop.

8 Responses to Report: City Under Funding Street Maintenance, Over 15,000 Trip Hazards On Sidewalks

  1. Dirk Dynamic Reply

    April 4, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    This is my surprised face ?

    Not sure what Taxahassee does with all that budget. Big, big secrets.

    • JJ Reply

      April 4, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      The current and former mayor has to reimburse their campaign donors somehow.

    • Diana Steinberg Reply

      April 5, 2017 at 11:05 am

      they have a lot of people on the payroll. Note I did NOT use the term “workers”.

  2. News_Maven Reply

    April 5, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Instead of spending money on six-figure “studies,” how about putting that money to use fixing the roads? Some in the county, like off Oak Ridge Road, are barely passable. Try navigating the road sinkholes on Celia or Ranchero – and then head straight for your mechanic to have your car’s suspension repaired.

  3. Regular Voter Reply

    April 5, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Which are the sidewalks installed/maintained/repaired by, city crews or private contractors?

  4. Old Cop Reply

    April 5, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Repairing the sidewalks may be cheaper than paying the lawsuits. It’s certainly safer for all of us, especially our elderly and visually impaired citizens.

  5. Diana Steinberg Reply

    April 5, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Sounds like a supervisory issue. Who is responsible for monitoring the condition of the sidewalks? Then, who is responsible for making sure that the workers get out there and do the work? In many work areas the problem of required work getting done is due to supervisors and THEIR supervisors letting employees do whatever they want to do. It is very common to see City work crews standing around watching ONE person digging the hole or whatever. I may be old-fashioned, but I always thought if my employer was paying me for 8 hours of work I should pretty much be working 8 hours.

  6. R B Reply

    April 5, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Road/street maintaieance , the lack of , is attributable to insane expenditures such as the $7.5 million pedestrian bridge over South Monroe Street, numerious bike trails, walking trails , sidewalks to no where, parks (Lord we have parks for the parks! Cascades, $55 million, anybody?), and every conceivable giveaway (Frenchtown for the umteenth time, anybody?)—-soon we will run out of taxpayers willing to foot the bill for all this nonsense and rightfully so !!!

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