Approximately 38 miles of Mexico sidewalks are not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to Jefferson City-based engineering firm Bartlett and West.
An $8.2 million, 30-year plan to change that was approved Monday by the Mexico City Council.
The funding amount includes a two percent inflation rate. The plan is a set of guidelines for sidewalk improvements, including prioritization and repair scheduling. The plan does not yet include exact funding sources.
An explanation of the guidelines was provided to the council by Bartlett and West Professional Engineer Todd Kempker in a work session prior to its regular session meeting. The plan was developed for the city by Bartlett and West through Transportation Engineering Assistance Program funding from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
"Our main goal with the report is to have something the council can adopt that will bring us into compliance with the ADA requirements for a transition plan," said Mexico Public Works Director Kensey Russell.
City's sidewalks are listed as in poor, fair or good condition by Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments. Bartlet and West honed those classifications to determine how many feet of Mexico sidewalk were not compliant with ADA requirements. Mexico’s total sidewalks in any condition equal 55 miles, with 38 of those miles non-ADA compliant, or 68 percent of all city sidewalks.
"The council may recall we have worked toward a concept known as livable streets here," Russell said. "Livable streets is a kind of a comprehensive approach ... to transportation that includes pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic in design and rework."
A MoDOT checklist for city sidewalk requirements include sidewalk slope, panel alignment and intersection ramps. ADA compliance is much more black and white than the poor, fair or good classifications. Sidewalks are either compliant or not, Kempker said.
"We made some assumptions to try and give you a ballpark number to try to attack on a yearly basis," he said, adding the city should work to replace approximately 1.68 miles of sidewalk each year, costing approximately $266,242 based on a cost estimate of $30 per lineal foot of sidewalk.
The city made 1.2 miles worth of improvements to sidewalks in 2018 through grants, cost share, budgeted city funds and private funds. Another 1.2 miles of improvements is taking place this year through similar funding sources.
Bartlett and West prioritized the portions of sidewalk that are not compliant, with sidewalks surrounding schools as most important, then those around government and public facilities, sidewalks serving main thoroughfares, and finally, neighborhood sidewalks. The firm also broke the 30-year plan into three work phases based on sidewalk usage in those prioritized areas. High impact sidewalks, those which most affect neighborhoods and community needs, would be done in the first through fifth year of the project, medium impact in years six to 15 and low impact in years 16 to 30.
"We did not break it up into individual projects at this point, because we wanted to give you flexibility as far as how to fund this. You're going to need to use some creativity of where you can get grants, where maybe property owners can help," Kempker said.
While the plan is not broken into individual projects, the suggested work for each phase are sidewalks near schools in phase one, areas north of the train tracks in phase two and south of the tracks in phase three. There are many different approaches to replacing sidewalks, but in general, an entire stretch of roadway sidewalk should be done at one time, rather than piecemeal blocks, Kempker said.
"That's why once we start working on a roadway here, we kind of finish the roadway off, so you can say, 'Hey that road is done, let's move onto another one,'" he said.
This 30-year plan applies to existing sidewalks only, Russell said. This won't include sidewalk extensions or sidewalks in new subdivisions, which already are required to be constructed by developers by city ordinance.
Budget planning and funding sources for the plan likely will come from projects identified in the city's capital improvement plan, public/private cost shares, grants like Transportation Alternative Program or Community Development Block Grants, special assessments or neighborhood improvement districts, or even removing a sidewalk. Sidewalk removal proposals would more likely happen in residential neighborhoods with sidewalks on both sides of the street, where a sidewalk could be removed from one side, Russell said. The cost of removing a sidewalk was included in the estimated yearly average, he said.
In other business:The Mexico City Council held a second reading and approved an ordinance to update city building code enforcement. City Manager Bruce Slagle said the city received four messages in support of the updates and one message against. A resolution was approved authorizing Slagle to execute an agreement with the Miss Missouri pageant to provide as much as $10,000 from the Mexico Tourism Tax for the pageant's advertising needs. Pageant Co-Executive Director Alice Leonatti and Miss Missouri Katelyn Clark recognized the board for their support and provided a copy of Lake Ozark Profile magazine featuring an article about Clark. A bid was approved from Elliot Equipment of Grandview to purchase a RS Equipment closed-circuit TV camera for $66,000.08 for use in sanitary sewer pipe inspections. There was a less expensive bid for a Tri-Vision camera from Mahoney LLC of Arnold, but city staff determined the camera was not reliable after evaluating references from other communities that use the camera. The bid from Elliot Equipment is less than the budgeted amount of $75,000. The city's current camera is nine years old and has experienced numerous breakdowns over the past 18 months, Russell said.