The Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition (PedCo) exists to realize completion of the pedestrian network in Lawrence, Kansas and ensure pedestrian access and safety throughout our community.

Lawrence City Commission Considers Sidewalk Repair Policy on March 6

The LiveWell Lawrence Healthy Built Environment (HBE) Work Group and Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition (PedCo) have been studying alternatives to the Sidewalk Hazard Repair Program first proposed by the City of Lawrence in March 2017. Although no action has been taken by the City on this proposal, the City Manager's February 1 memo lists "Sidewalks" as a future agenda item for March 6, 2018.

In preparation for that meeting and in anticipation of a discussion of the program, HBE and PedCo have developed priorities for a policy that addresses maintenance of our sidewalk network. As chair and chair-elect of the Healthy Built Environment Work Group, we encourage members of HBE and PedCo to contact our city commissioners in advance of the March 6 meeting to express your interest in establishing an equitable sidewalk repair program.  We have developed the following priorities as talking points to help members focus the conversation on key issues we as a coalition believe will result in the best possible built environment for all members of the Lawrence community.


LiveWell HBE/PedCo Statement on Sidewalk Maintenance

The LiveWell Healthy Built Environment Work Group and Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition believe that: 

1) sidewalks are a critical component of our community's transportation network,
2) this network provides a means of transportation and supports the health and well being of all community members, regardless of whether they have a sidewalk on their property, and
3) a sidewalk repair and replacement policy must be implemented with equity as a key guiding principle, avoiding a disproportionate burden or benefit to groups of citizens. 

As such, we urge the Lawrence City Commission to: 

1) Direct staff to draft a new sidewalk repair policy that does not place the burden of replacement on individual property owners, but uses the city-generated funds to repair this important transportation network. 

While we realize there are financial and legal challenges to this request, we believe a creative solution can be found and recommend engaging a qualified consultant if necessary.

2) If the March 2017 policy draft that places the financial burden on property owners is to be used as a starting point, we ask that it be amended to ensure the following: 

  • Affordable costs to property owners are guaranteed through a city bid process. 
  • Costs to homeowners are significantly offset by investments through a city-generated fund, especially for our most vulnerable populations who would be disproportionately impacted by this policy. Costs are entirely offset for all HUD-qualified homeowners. 
  • A city-generated maintenance and repair fund shall not be drawn from the funds already identified in the CIP for bikeways and pedestrian improvements. 
  • Implementation shall not be based on geographic area, but by a need-based prioritization system similar to that used by the Transportation Commission. 

Thank you for your interest in this important issue and for your continued effort to build communities that support the health and well-being of all. 

Sincerely,

Jeff Severin, Chair
Gary Webber, Chair-Elect
LiveWell Healthy Built Environment Work Group

Here are some additional resources:

  1. Equitable Funding for Sidewalk Repair Summary
  2. PedCo Sidewalk Hazard Repair Program position statement

Perils for Pedestrians Features Lawrence Sidewalks Woes

"Perils for Pedestrians", a television series examining issues affecting people who walk, came to Lawrence during the summer of 2017 and interviewed representatives of PedCo.  You may watch the Lawrence segment of the program below, view the entire episode, or visit the Perils for Pedestrians website.

Everyone is a pedestrian at some time during the day whether they are on foot, in a stroller, have mobility disabilities, or are just walking to or from a motor vehicle. The Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition (PedCo) promotes a walk friendly community in Lawrence, Kansas.

Lawrence faces many challenges:

  • The sidewalk network is incomplete.
  • Mass transportation needs to be integrated with other modes of transportation.
  • New development should have more pedestrian-friendly designs.
  • The aging population needs transportation options.

The community, in general, needs to understand the advantages of walking and how to create an environment that encourages transportation choices. We support and encourage all efforts to address and overcome these challenges. Our meetings are open to the public. Please join us!


Next Meeting

To Be Determined.

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