Mayor Gray’s FY 2015 budget, with full funding for DC’s large sidewalk repair backlog, has an ally in Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh.
Cheh chairs the DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment. She held a hearing yesterday on DC’s overall transportation budget. And at the end of the public testimonies, Cheh stated that she will support the mayor’s allotment.
Iona Senior Services pedestrian advocate Marlene Berlin testified along with Robin Murphy, the Pedestrian Advisory Council representative for Ward 7, in favor of the $33.5 million the mayor is proposing for sidewalk maintenance over three years. That’s a $25 million increase from the original set-aside.
Berlin also submitted ANC 3F’s April 22nd resolution in favor of the mayor’s sidewalk repair budget on behalf of Commissioner Sally Gresham, who was not able to attend the hearing at the very last moment. See the resolution below.
Last-minute changes can happen in the Transportation committee’s markup hearing on May 9th and the Committee of the Whole’s markup session on May 15th. The chair of the Council has the prerogative to make budget changes, some of them significant, and the other council members do not see the changes until the morning of the Committee of the Whole session. This can make for some scrambling by advocacy groups and constituents who want to weigh in. Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert saw this in action last year and provided a good description in this blog post.
ANC 3F RESOLUTION REGARDING FUNDING FOR SIDEWALK CAPITAL INVESTMENT BACKLOG
Whereas, at the D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC meeting on June 24, 2013, Sam Zimbabwe, Associate Director of the District Department ofTransportation‘s (DDOT) Police, Planning and Sustainability Administration, delivered a presentation to the PAC on Pedestrian Infrastructure, Accessibility and Safety; and
Whereas, in this presentation, Mr. Zimbabwe stated that DDOT receives approximately 3,000 sidewalk service requests each year at a cost of approximately $13 million; and
Whereas, DDOT is able to complete only about 50 percent of these sidewalk service requests each year July; and
Whereas, there is a total backlog in sidewalk capital investment needs of approximately $22 to 28 million; and
Whereas, most of this backlog is on local streets that are not eligible for Federal funding; and
Whereas, the Sustainable DC Plan calls for expanding safe and secure infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists in order to reach the goal of increasing walking and bicycling to 25 percent of all commuter trips by 2032; and
Whereas, with the new DDOT “Green Infrastructure Design Standards” released on 4/22/14; and
Whereas, moveDC, DDOT’s Multimodal Long Range Transportation Plan, which is being developed, proposes an option in its policy primer that pedestrians should be “the District’s highest transportation priority”; and
Whereas, Age Friendly Cities has conducted focus groups, and DC AARP has conducted a survey. and they have found that the condition of sidewalks are important for older adults to maintain their mobility for those recovering from falls; and
Whereas, the Falls Free Coalition has found that poor sidewalk conditions hamper mobility for those recovering from falls; and
Whereas, the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council passed a resolution in January 2014 recommending that the Mayor include $28 million dollars in his Fiscal Year 2015 capital budget to ensure that has sufficient funding to address the backlog in sidewalk maintenance investment needs; and
Whereas, ANC Connecticut Avenue corridor of large apartment/condominium buildings and the surrounding single family homes occupied by numbers of older adults, as well as a diverse multigenerational population, all use the aging, and in certain areas, unsafe main and arterial sidewalks throughout ANC neighborhoods; and
Whereas, ANC3F has many unmet sidewalk maintenance needs, which have grown after this harsh winter/
Therefore be it resolved that, for the reasons stated above, ANC 3F recommends that the D.C. Council approve the capital budget to $33.5 million for sidewalk maintenance to ensure DDOT has sufficient funding to address the backlog in sidewalk maintenance investment needs.
Be it further resolved, that Commissioners Sally Gresham and Bob Summersgill are authorized to speak on behalf of ANC 3F on this topic at the DC Council committee of Transportation and the Environment budget hearing.
[signature page follows]
ANC 3F approved this resolution at its meeting on April 22, 2014, which was properly noticed and at which a quorum was present, a quorum being four. The resolution was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.
Adam Tope, Chair