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Construction strategies

"There are many ways to get improvements constructed. Be creative, take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Some suggestions:

Regulation of new development and re-development: Developers can be required to install public amenities such as sidewalks, curb ramps and traffic signals. Additionally, zoning requirements can be written to allow for narrower streets, shorter blocks and mixed-use developments. The key is to focus on a few community priorities without creating disincentives to development.

Annual Programs: Consider expanding/initiating annual programs to make small, visible improvements. Examples include sidewalk replacement programs, curb-ramp programs, annual tree planting programs, etc. This creates momentum and community support. Since funds are limited, be careful about the projects you select.
    • Give priority to locations that are used by school children, the elderly, those with disabilities and provide access to transit.

    • Consider giving preference to requests from neighborhood groups, especially those that meet other priorities such as addressing a crash problem.

    • Evaluate your construction options. Consider having city crews do work requested by citizens to provide fast customer service while bidding out some of the staff generated projects.

Capital Projects: "Piggybacking" pedestrian improvements on capital projects is one of the single best ways to make major improvements in a community. Sidewalks, pedestrian ramps, landscaping, lighting and other amenities can be included in road projects utility projects, and private construction in public rights-of-way (i.e. cable television, high-speed fiber optics etc.). To accomplish this, there are several things that can be done.
    • Contact all state and regional agencies, local public and private utilities that do work in public rights-of-way. Secure their five-year project lists as well as their long-range plans. Then, work with them to make sure that the streets are restored in the way that works for your city.

    • Look internally at all capital projects. Make sure that every opportunity to make improvements is taken advantage of at the time of construction.

    • Consider combining small projects with larger capital projects as a way of saving money. Generally, bid prices drop as quantities increase.

Public/Private Partnerships: Increasingly, public improvements are realized through public/private partnerships. This partnership can take many forms. Examples include: Community Development Corporations, Neighborhood Organizations, grants from foundations, direct industry support and involvement of individual citizens. In fact, most public amenities, whether they are traffic calming improvements, street trees or the restoration of historic buildings, are the result of individual people getting involved and deciding to make a difference. This involvement doesn’t just happen, it needs to be encouraged and nourished by local governmental authorities.

The material provided on this page is from the FHWA publication "Pedestrian Facilities User Guide." This guide is currently under review by practicioners and others in the field. Subsequently, the material provided on this page is subject to change in the future.

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