David Steele

Fixing decades-old sidewalks

David Steele, Economic Development Specialist, No Phone Number Available

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 2 p.m.

Fixing decades-old sidewalks

Many of the vaulted sidewalks Downtown are nearly one hundred years old. Originally used for deliveries, utilities, or as just extra space for the building, these sidewalks are more like small bridges than sidewalks and have gradually deteriorated over time. This deterioration has left the City holding a $40 million dollar repair bill and the City hasn't had a funding stream to tackle the needed repairs – until now.

Sidewalk maintenance and repair is generally the responsibility of the owner of the adjacent property, but it's not a cheap fix and replacing a structural sidewalk can be an extreme financial burden for the property owner. With these vaulted sidealks posing a potential hazard to public safety, the City is stepping up to make sure these aging sidewalks are safe and more appealing for shoppers, tenants, employees, and other visitors to Downtown Spokane. Utilizing parking meter revenues as matching funds, the City secured a $2.1 million Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) grant to help the City begin the long process of making repairs. This initial TIB grant project will focus on filling the vaulted spaces and repairing the walking surfaces as well as replacing any impacted street trees and tree grates.

We're also partnering with property owners who are directly impacted by sections of unsafe sidewalk. The City has agreed to pay 100 percent of the cost to fill the vaulted spaces and replace the sidewalks, but property owners will then have the option to keep the vaults open and upgrade them to today's standards if they agree to pay any costs above and beyond the cost of filling the vault.

With the initial TIB grant, the City is addressing as many of the aging sections of sidewalk as possible with up to 14 having been identified for this initial work. City crews will begin with five sections of vaulted sidewalk that are in need of immediate repairs.

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