Members of the Streets, Sidewalks and Stormwater Advisory Committee in session at the Senior Center on Feb. 7. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz

Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The Streets, Sidewalks and Stormwater Advisory Committee met at the Senior Citizen Center on Feb. 7 and discussed a variety of topics.
Abdul Yahaya, staff engineer, reviewed plans for 2017 Greenway Trail and pedestrian bridge replacements.
Plans are to remove and replace 4,675 linear feet of existing ten foot wide asphalt trail that runs along Madison from Waverly to Center.
The plans also calls for another 2,200 linear feet of trail replacement, and two pedestrian bridge replacements in the Greenway Corridor, near Winwood Park, north of Madison.
The replacement plan is for application of 4 inches of asphalt over a stone base.
Yahaya said estimated cost was $640,000. The bridge replacements accounts for $280,000 of that total estimate.
Yahaya then reviewed the Pavement Management Program (PMP).
He said $1.7 million had been spent on 2016 street projects. Funds came from a combination of infrastructure tax collection and bond money. Some favorable bids led to additional streets being improved, to result in a total of 27 lane miles of improvements.
Before and after photos of streets repaired, and a map identifying future pavement management areas through 2019, were displayed.
Despite not being in the scope of the original plan, 28 ADA sidewalk ramps were installed in 2016.
“Putting in 28 ADA ramps in this program is significant, in any city, not just Gardner,” said Yahaya.
Mark Pottinger, senior staff engineer, reviewed 2017-2019 projected plans and estimated costs. Current plans estimate about $2 million will be spent on the PMP in those years.
Committee had a lengthy discussion on maintenance of curbs, and how that could potentially escalate costs.
Decisions will need to be made regarding how to evaluate whether curbs need replacement or repair, and if repair, should it be less expensive methods which will last 5-8 years, or more expensive methods expected to last 15 or more years.
During discussion on sidewalk repair, Yahaya said that of 476 ramps that have been evaluated, 270 were rated as bad. Each ramp repair costs about $2,000.
He said every city is facing ADA compliance issues. Repairing  will be an ongoing process.
Yahaya said the Department of Justice is not going to require repair of all 270 ramps in one year.
He said the 28 repaired in 2016 was in some ways above and beyond expectations.
“Gardner should be proud of what we’re moving forward, but we still have to plan for what we’re going to do with the ones we’ve recognized are the greatest imposition,” said Yahaya.
The next topic was who is responsible for sidewalks that settle around storm water drains.
Yahaya said the public works director told him the city’s position was that it remains the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.
Members questioned if that would be enforceable.
Committee also discussed a patron’s request for a crosswalk near the high school, at Waverly and 170th Street.
There is currently no regulated stop at that intersection. A dedicated crossing would require a crossing guard and the school would have to supply that.
Yahaya indicated that the city’s long term vision would see widening of Waverly Road, and these issues would be addressed properly then.
Lee Moore, council member and committee chair, said he didn’t think this committee was the right place to discuss the issue.
Yahaya said it would also be discussed at the next ADA advisory committee as well, to keep advisors informed of complaint driven issues they deal with.