© Amanda Jess
By Wendy Elliott
How do you decide where to stop patching roads and sidewalks?
That was the question public works director Kevin Kerr was faced with recently. Kerr has been given a total of $50,000 for sidewalk repairs by town council in this year’s budget, an increase over last year’s $30,000.
There are approximately 24.5 kilometres of sidewalk in Wolfville, 18.4 kms of asphalt sidewalk and 6.1 kms of concrete sidewalk. Public works staff recently completed an inspection of all sidewalks in the town.
Kerr explained that the inspection was carried out using a managing sidewalk risks program. Sidewalks were rated as good, fair (satisfactory but in need of repair within the next one to three years) and poor (in need of immediate repair).
The inspection considered hazards that might cause tripping, he said, along with the location and volume of pedestrian traffic in determining the priority of sidewalk repairs.
This year, staff plan to replace approximately 1,600 metres of sidewalk on Main Street, Gaspereau Avenue, Highland Avenue, Pleasant Street and University Avenue. An additional 1,000 metres of asphalt sidewalk will be replaced with 600 metres of concrete sidewalk on Linden Avenue, Summer Street and Chestnut Avenue.
Kerr sees these plans representing a significant improvement to the sidewalk infrastructure. He added that isolated sidewalk defects that pose a safety hazard will be repaired as required and additional sidewalk repairs will be considered as budgeting permits.
An initial plan to narrow the intersection at Main Street at Willow Avenue will not proceed this year. Adding a bike lane and eventually moving the skate park over onto Nova Scotia Power Inc. property will have to wait as well.
Council approved a total capital budget of $3.1 million on March 19. Several new capital projects are planned, such as a Main Street Active Transportation Corridor, the implementation of LED streetlights and other street infrastructure.
Last year, councillors had emphasized the need to build the recommendations of the town’s transportation study into the 2012-2013 budget. The plan will lead to a narrowing of Main Street east of town hall.
New street standards have also been created. This year, all of Linden Avenue, Summer Street, a portion of Willow Street and lower Chestnut Avenue will receive paving. Finance director Mike MacLean says that approximately $200,000 will be spent on patching.
In 2012, council approved a capital budget of $2.75 million. The previous year, council gave the nod to a capital budget of $2.27 million.