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.
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.