Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Feds require fancier Woodside project

Residents would have to shovel 5 miles of sidewalks


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

About 2.5 miles of Woodside Boulevard may be in for a major upgrade, thanks to the Hailey Public Works Department and a $3.3 million grant from the federal government. But to use the grant, the city will be required to add "multi-modal" bike and pedestrian access to Woodside Boulevard.

The question arises: Do Woodside Boulevard residents want sidewalks 8 feet in from the street, bike lanes and traffic-slowing measures on the longest road in southern Hailey? The Hailey Community Development Department will hold two public open-house workshops this week to find out.

The project, if completed, would result in five miles of sidewalks that would have to be shoveled by Woodside Boulevard residents, along with five miles of "planting strips," or buffer zones, between the street and the inside edge of the sidewalks. The buffer zones would require landscaping and watering.

Public Works Director Tom Hellen, who helped acquire the grant, said it's typical of towns in the northern Midwest, where he grew up, that residents are required by law to shovel their own sidewalks.

"We need to go there," he told the City Council Monday.

Hellen said 35-year-old Woodside Boulevard needs to be rebuilt and that the grant would only be made available if the city agrees to add sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of the street.

"To get this grant, you have to go to the next step," he said.

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Stacey Ward, who lives at 2841 Woodside Blvd., said the sidewalks as planned would land 2 feet from her front door and perhaps require the cutting of 14 mature trees on her front lawn.

"I am not sold on the buffer zones," Ward said.

Cindy Moore, who lives at the northern end of Woodside Boulevard, said the 8-foot sidewalk setbacks are needed to provide safe pedestrian access on her street.

"It's a lot, but it's necessary," Moore said.

City Administrator Heather Dawson said the Woodside Boulevard upgrade grant was made possible through a Complete Streets Initiative, and based on the inclusion of sidewalks and bike lanes.

"This grant was predicated on an ideology," she said.

Woodside subdivision residents are invited to provide input on the sidewalks project tonight, Jan. 26, from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Community Campus in Hailey, and on Thursday, Jan. 27, at Woodside Elementary School in Hailey.

A translator will be at the open houses for Spanish-speaking participants.

To request special accommodations at the meeting, call Darla Christiansen at (800) 252-8929 in advance. For more information on the project, call Hellen at 788-9830, ext. 14.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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