Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bellevue decides on sidewalk plans

North side of Cedar Street will get concrete path

Express Staff Writer

Bellevue resident Elisa Tobia walks near the intersection of Third and Cedar streets. She said she is pleased members of the City Council listened to residentsí concerns. Photo by Willy Cook

The Bellevue City Council made a final decision Thursday night on the location and design of a sidewalk that will be built as part of the city's Safe Routes to Schools program. Construction on the Cedar Street sidewalk will likely begin this summer.

The decision came following considerable input from a citizens committee formed last month after property owners on Fifth and Cedar streets protested the encroachment of the proposed sidewalks into city rights of way, which have long been used for gardening, parking and snow storage.

"I want to give a special thank-you to the City Council and to the citizens committee led by David Campbell for working hard on this issue and coming to an agreement," said Councilman Larry Plott in an interview.

Plott joined Campbell and other council members on a walk Thursday afternoon along Fifth and Cedar streets before a final decision was made on the sidewalk plans. The Council's plans state that:

· A single, 6-foot-wide, concrete sidewalk will be built on the north side of Cedar Street from Main Street to Bellevue Elementary School.

· The inner (house-side) sidewalk edge will begin no closer than 16 feet from surveyed property lines.

· The sidewalk will meander slightly from block to block in order to avoid large trees and accommodate some specific needs of property owners.

· No plans are currently proposed for a sidewalk on Fifth Street.

"I am quite pleased with the decision and I think this will be very good for the city as a whole," said David Campbell after the decision Thursday.

Congress designated $612 million toward developing the National Safe Routes to Schools program in 2005. Since that time, the Idaho Transportation Department has awarded $2 million to Idaho communities to improve routes to school. Bellevue received $100,000 of that for construction and $40,000 for education.

Because concrete will cost the city 60 percent more than asphalt sidewalks, the council decided to focus the $100,000 in grant money available for construction on Cedar Street only.

"Our goal eventually is to have sidewalks throughout the city," said Councilman Shaun Mahoney.

The sidewalk to be built along Cedar Street will set design standards for future sidewalks as part of the city's 25-year master plan.

· In other Bellevue news, Mayor Jon Anderson signed a proclamation giving city officials authority to take emergency measures in case flooding of the Big Wood River threatens city property. The proclamation and resolution lasts for 60 days.

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