Sidewalk master plan going ahead

·2 min read

Jun. 23—The town is taking the next steps in its sidewalk master plan.

At a recent Select Board meeting, Conrad Leger, director of asset management at Environmental Partners, went over the results of their sidewalk study and the next steps the town needs to take.

Leger said the town of Andover has almost 60 miles of sidewalk, 72.9% of which were rated as "good."

However, Leger said, the price of repairs for the sidewalks rated in worse condition would not come cheap, owing to an increase in material costs. Leger said the sidewalks would cost almost $9 million to repair.

Replacement priority would be decided by many factors, including the amount of traffic each spot gets, said Leger. Leger said they do this by using pedestrian traffic heat maps.

Leger also unveiled a public comment tool where residents will be able to leave public comments as the next step in the plan.

"We want to hear from the users of the sidewalk infrastructure and make sure that the data isn't misleading in some areas or we didn't miss something in terms of a priority." said Leger.

Leger said the public comment tool will be left up for 30 days. However, there was significant discussion during the meeting whether or not it should be left up longer.

"The data tells a story but you also want to get a feeling from the community itself," said Leger.

Leger also gave an update on the town's progress in the Complete Streets Program. Leger said Complete Streets is a state program that encourages municipalities to look at all forms of transportation.

The town is currently in the first step of the Complete Streets process, as it has created a policy and now needs the Select Board to approve it, said Ledger. Following that, the policy will be sent to the state for approval, said Ledger.

Ledger said that in his experience most towns that follow through with the system do receive some sort of funding.

Municipalities can receive up to $400,000 for the construction project from the state, he said.

Many residents voiced their support for the Complete Streets program and discussed specific wording in the policy.

Andover resident Dennis Richards talked about the dangers he faces as a runner. Richards also talked about how plans like this combined with the town's Climate Action Plan could have a significant impact on Andover.

"What you are really talking about is not just these independent decisions that are going to affect pieces of the town, you are really changing the culture of the town in really positive ways," Richards said.

The public comment tool, which should be available soon, can be found here: FYOeEh9VyF0wmsQGzI2Um22ZMfJ84eCm9R5fe94HfyrOnR12dvKDcWo