Ann Arbor: No New Sidewalk Program

A resolution to establish a five-year program to replace sidewalk gaps in the city of Ann Arbor was voted down by the city council at its Sept. 17, 2012 meeting. The resolution had been added to the council’s agenda by Mike Anglin (Ward 5) via an email sent to the city clerk on the morning of Monday’s meeting.

The resolution was amended just to require a report on the issue by Sept. 15, 2013, but it still fell one vote short of the six votes it needed.

The resolution received support from Anglin, Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), and Margie Teall (Ward 4). Councilmembers voting against the resolution pointed to the fact that the city’s non-motorized transportation plan takes a comprehensive approach to identifying such gaps. Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) feared that people might mistakenly believe that certain gaps would necessarily be filled, characterizing it as “teasing” residents.

From the city’s non-motorized transportation plan: “The plan identifies over 75 missing [sidewalk] segments along the major roadways. These areas are confronted with a number of challenges that have prevented sidewalks from being constructed. Steep grades, e.g., hills and ditches or swales as well as vegetation including trees and shrubs are often times found where a sidewalk gap exists. Although the Plan defines the gaps and recommends they be filled, staff has to define the improvement and develop projects for the construction of the sidewalks. At this time there is no cost estimate to complete the sidewalk system and that effort will need to take place as an essential first step. Once the cost to complete the system is known funds will need to be secured. City code requires that properties along a corridor where a sidewalk or non-motorized path is to be located participate in the cost of the improvement to the extent that the property benefits from that improvement.”

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]