This isn’t something new. When councilor Staggers was still alive we had many discussions about doing a local ballot initiative to force the city to trim the trees in the parking strip and maintain city owned sidewalks abutting private property;
They will get to decide whether to shift the responsibility of maintaining sidewalks from individual property owners to the city. The proposal on next week’s ballot would also impose a tax on property owners, to help maintain the city’s current sidewalks and add them in the many parts of town where they’re missing.
The initiative we discussed was similar. If passed, it would be up to the city council and public works to decide on an additional front assessment fee based on the square footage of your sidewalk and boulevard.
The ballot measure would charge property owners based on how much of their land runs along a street, and what type of street it faces. The measure would include discounts for owners in poorer neighborhoods. Proponents say that a typical family living in a single-family house would pay about $9 a month for the improvements. Of course, people with corner lots, or businesses located downtown, could pay more.
Sioux Falls is littered with bad public sidewalks. I think a better approach is to just have the city fix it and we reimburse the costs through our front assessment.
Marshall surveyed 16 cities last year to see how much information they had about their streets and sidewalks. All of the cities kept meticulous records on where potholes appeared, and they reported being able to fill those within days. But most had no comprehensive information about the conditions of their sidewalks. Washington was the only city that provided an average response time for fixing sidewalks, and it was 270 days, Marshall said.
Kind of sounds familiar. While our pedestrian and biking infrastructure crumbles the city is busy filling potholes that have to be refilled multiple times (instead of just building better roads).
“It’s not sidewalks as the target. It’s improving walkability,” Kraft said. “It’s increasing active transportation. Sidewalks and connected sidewalk networks are a means for getting there.”
I also think new retail businesses in Sioux Falls should be required to put a small bike rack in front of their business. If businesses are required to have so many parking spaces they should also be required to provide bicycle parking.