Footpath Maintenance-part of Rates, Roads, Rubbish

Footpath maintenance is at the core of Council business. Part of the ol’ rates, roads & rubbish mantra of what Councils are there for, aren’t they.

FootpathCouncil is due to receive a report from their depot management proposing a new approach to footpath maintenance. I expect we will receive the report at our August meeting.

Their initial thoughts were work shopped with elected members last Monday night. I felt at our briefing that we had different agendas, councillors and staff.

The focus by staff from the depot was in the life span of a footpath. Their focus was on the evenness or the unevenness of the footpath. In assessing the future of our footpath maintenance you may remember those “moon buggies” driving down your street a year or so ago.

Elected members have been given a short list of streets that staff would like us to compare as being an acceptable standard. Footpaths in streets that have  a greater level of unevenness will qualify for upgrade.

Of more concern I believe to you, our rate payer, and our elected members including myself are the ever present trip hazards that we see now in our paved footpaths. Trip hazards are a more important area of attention in our footpath maintenance regime. While we can be proactive with the unevenness in our footpaths, trip hazards by their very nature can only be treated reactivity.

We currently budget for $ 800 k of proactive maintenance and $ 500 k of reactive maintenance. Our depot management believe we can save $ 200 k from the proactive budget by adjusting our (their) interpretation of what unevenness is acceptable.

The depot, possibly due I think to budget constraints, have looked at 20 mm being an acceptable trip hazard. I personally think 10 mm is excessive and dangerous. Rather than simply saving therefore $ 200 k from our overall budget I believe we (if elected members concur with the new staff unevenness assessment) should divert funds from the proactive evenness to the reactive trip hazard footpath maintenance.

 

Footpaths the focus as Budget process commences

Management have commenced the process of setting up next year’s budget. Yes. This early. As part of this process they have evaluated the condition of the footpaths that remain to complete the replacement program.

We can “reasonably” expect (no guarantees) that the three streets noted as having a high priority will get the priority scheduling for next year. Whatever happens we should see all streets finally brick paved by 2018.

 

Birkdale Avenue High
Hackett Avenue High
Kelvin Avenue High
Cowper Road Medium
Argyle Avenue Medium
Ellesmere Terrace Medium
Gray Street Medium
Selkirk Avenue Medium
Winifred Ave Low
Irwin Avenue Low
Irwin Avenue Low
Eglington Avenue Low
Laught Avenue Low
Hill Court Low

 

The priorities noted by admin seem on the surface to me to be reasonable. If you have any observations however to make please let me know.

 

How Good….Or Bad…. is your footpath

Whilst I have been a promoter of getting the footpath replacement program underway the other issue with footpaths that has taken much of my time is identifying and reporting trip hazards in the “new” brick footpaths.

There are times when I have wondered, and this was confirmed recently by staff as justified, that they may get sick of me reporting issues requiring repair with our footpath network. Well, without much warning to elected members administration have determined that it is appropriate to check all our footpaths.

A good move and one that I support. It will be interesting to see how many issues there are city wide. Of course the percentage of issues should be down in Goodwood South where most of my walking occurs.

Watch out then in a street near you for Infrastructure Management Group Pty Ltd, contractors officers  who will be moving throughout the city on Quad bikes capturing the necessary information.

12 Streets to go

With our staff unable or unwilling to offer a program beyond the just recently approved budget for footpath replacement I conducted my own audit just to see how many streets are left in Goodwood South.

I found as follows:

In Millswood
Ellesmere Terrace, Irwin Avenue, Argyle Ave, Hackett Avenue

In Back Forest
Laught Avenue, Ellington,Ave, Gray Street, Selkirk Street,
Winifred Avenue & Hill Court
Cowper Road (west end)

And ….. my very own Kelvin Avenue in Clarence Park.

12 streets left and four years to complete. If at the rate of this coming years budget, maybe we will see them complete in 3 years.

Footpath Replacement Program

Jennie and I have unsuccessfully sought from our administration which streets are earmarked for which years that are left in the short life left in the program. This we are being advised is because it may foster false hope. 

What we can confirm is the program is on track to be completed in the 2018/19 year. That is of course, subject to the whim of the next Council

The streets in Goodwood South that are include in this coming years budget are:

Hammond Avenue, 
Cromer Parade, 
Lynton Avenue and 
Birkdale Avenue.

Something that both Jennie & I will be championing is that there is no change to this program going forward. It is the pair of us who re-accelerated the program 3 years back for the benefit of all the residents, and businesses of Unley, not just Goodwood South.

The next Council need to be encouraged to keep this program up and allow it to be completed and not, as has happened in the past, be allowed to slow down in favour of other projects felt more politically desirable at the time.

With the footpath outside the home of yours truly still being bitumen you can be assured, if I am returned in November, that I will keep the pressure on for the program to be completed in the time frame set by this Council.



Footpath program to continue

The fast tracking of the conversion of Unley’s footpaths from bitumen to brick paving will continue based on my understanding of our current, yet to be finalised budget.

When I was elected to Council in November of 2010 the program had stalled to almost a snails pace. Originally designed to be completed I believe in 15 years it still had at least that time to go as the program as it stood at that time had it taking until 2030.

Your Goodwood South Councillors stood alone in pushing the acceleration for the program and with a new and receptive administration that worked hard to find a way we could bring the program in our long term budget. Jennie & I have remained vigilant with this and have requested our administration to provide the program of upgrading the remaining streets.

We have yet to receive this information but what I can tell you is two fold:

  1. The program will be complete in 4 years.
  2. We know the streets they (administration) are proposing to include in the upcoming budget for next year.

I cant reveal these streets yet because they need approval as we enter the final phases of determining this years budget. As soon as it is finalised I will confirm the streets that make the final cut.

So, even if your street misses out this year, it will be completed before the term of the next Council comes to an end.

Churchill Avenue and Spiers Street

Work at upgrading Churchill Avenue and Spiers Street is nearly complete.

Churchill Avenue has been re-surfaced. Spiers Street has been realigned, and new footpaths constructed.

                                     Spiers under construction                              Spiers now

It is great to see works such as these, and Page Park (refer yesterday’s post), in our little neck of the woods. We will soon be sitting down to start the process of determining the budget for next year and Jennie and I will be looking to ensure Goodwood South Ward continues to receive the funding to see results such as these.

And doesn’t Churchill look a picture.

Trip Hazards a never ending battle

One of the things I have found most interesting since representing the good people of the Goodwood South Ward is the number of occasions I have sent a request to our depot to fix trip hazards. I have lost count of the number of hazards I have reported, all of which up to now thankfully have been fixed.

I have been gratified by the response from the Depot. They acknowledge my request within 24 hours and generally the hazard identified by me has been fixed within a week or two.

A couple of weekends ago while delivering the ward newsletter to houses south of the rail line I identified some 50 hazards. That is a huge number but I expect our depot to repeat their history of fixing them up. All but a handful of these related to our brick pavers. The bitumen footpaths and there are still many of them in Goodwood South.

As we look to our footpath replacement scheme I raise this question, in light of this history.

The bitumen footpaths, many of which are in quite poor condition are not presenting as requiring attention to correct trip hazards. The brick pavers though, even footpaths that might be considered generally as being in good nick are presenting trip hazards all too frequently.

Should we reconsider replacing the remaining bitumen footpaths with brick pavers given these observations.

The photo on the left is a typical movement in bitumen paving adjacent a tree. The one on the right is typical of movement adjacent a tree in brick pavers.

I ask anyone reading this blog what your thoughts are. Are we on the right track.

As council considers the continuation of the brick paved footpath program the elected members representing you need to know……If you have a bitumen footpath that is, in your opinion, in need of replacement; would you prefer to have a new brick paved footpath or a new bitumen one.

FOOTPATH REPLACEMENT ACCELERATION

Council received endorsement last night from our Audit Committee that accelerating the footpath replacement program will actually be a financial benefit to us. Their endorsement resulted from an in depth review by our administration who obviously concur.
This is good news for those among us who have been told they must wait up to another 25 years for their footpath to be replaced. Such a time frame would see those footpaths that were bricked some time back being due for renewal also.
Where to from here?
A workshop or two will be provided to elected members so that we can understand the detail of this assessment. If we agree with the Audit Committee and our Administration we will likely be getting this started as early as our next budget.

FOOTPATH REPLACEMENT ACCELERATION

Council’s Administration has responded to Council’s request to investigate ways we can accelerate the footpath replacement program.

Most of you would be well aware that both Jennie and I included an accelerated program in our respective election campaigns.

It is great news therefore to learn that Administration have completed an investigation and are submitting their findings to our Audit Committee. Subject to how it is received by the Audit Committee I expect given the significance and detail that would apply to the report elected members are likely to be invited to a workshop to better understand it and contribute to a final draft.

It will be more easily dealt with at the City Strategy & Policy Committee meeting and subsequently council if this were to occur. We can then see if Council has an interest in bringing our footpaths for completion as early as 2019/20 rather than allowing it to take up to 2034, 23 years away.

There are a number of Goodwood South footpaths that are not on our radar that is causing concern amongst our residents. It will be great to be able to go to these people and let them know that their street has not been forgotten.