McPherson representatives discussed various street improvements to the southeast area of town at Tuesday’s community meetings. These are the last of eight meetings scheduled to gather community input about which streets should be improved first.
The city of McPherson has 87 miles of streets, and cost to reconstruct all streets that need it would exceed $18 million.
In the southeast area, residents voiced concerns about a number of upcoming sidewalk projects, in addition to street improvements.
“There are matching funds available for trails and sidewalks, but not necessarily for roads that aren’t part of state highway systems,” said City Administrator Nick Gregory.
Jeff Woodward, director of public works, explained that the 10-foot sidewalk project along Avenue A was expensive, but 20 percent of the cost was paid with a federal grant
“Sidewalks are important for safety reasons. If you’ve been down Avenue A at dusk, there’s a lot of pedestrians and bicycles out there and they’re difficult to see,” Woodward said. “We did a traffic study, and from a traffic count for a 24 hour period, there was at least one vehicle per hour going at least 100 miles per hour.”
Street projects are currently funded by a half cent sales tax that generates $1.5 million annually. About 30 percent of of this tax comes from out-of-town shoppers. The tax is up for renewal — not slated to increase — at elections on Nov. 7 this year. If passed, it will extend the tax from 2020 to 2030.
City representatives met with those living in quadrant 4 on Tuesday, and with residents of the other three quadrants on Monday and at meetings in the previous week.
To determine which streets should be at the top of the list, the public works department uses a street prioritization formula that takes into account items like quality of pavement, amount of traffic and how quickly the road deteriorates.
In quadrant 3, proposed projects are East Avenue A, from the east approach to the bridge; East Avenue A, from Maxwell Street to the city maintenance road; South Hartup Street, from Hancock Street to Avenue A; South Front Street, from Centennial Drive to Champlin Street; and East Elizabeth Street, from Hartup Street to Park Avenue.
These projects are proposed based on the street prioritization formula, and residents are encouraged to share input on which they believe to be the most important or suggest other streets they believe to be better candidates.
To share input or for more information, contact the McPherson Public Works office at 620-245-2545.
Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.