COPPERAS COVE — The City Council reviewed a proposed sidewalk prioritization policy Tuesday in an effort to address who will be tasked with fixing older sidewalks — the city or its residents.

The city has no policy concerning the installation of new sidewalks in older parts of the city.

Several residents have requested the city build sidewalks where there were none before, but city ordinance Section 17 states that it’s the responsibility of the “owner, agent in charge, or tenant, of the property abutting on any sidewalk or parkway, to maintain such sidewalks,” repair them, and keep them in good and safe condition.

Further, there are streets around Cove that do not have sidewalks and are in high-traffic pedestrian pathways, said James Mullen, superintendent of streets and drainage.

The proposed prioritization policy ranks which areas need the most work and are most critical, Mullen said.

“We recommend that the order of priority be based on a total scoring (system),” he told council members.

“The sum of the area’s total utility score and the traffic conditions score will determine which areas receive highest prioritization.”

As the proposal is structured, if a sidewalk is missing within a 0-5-minute walking distance of a school, the utility score will be three points.

If the proposed sidewalk will be in a school zone, that project will earn four points under the traffic conditions score.

If 100 percent of residents are in agreement and agree to pay a percentage of the construction fees for a sidewalk, that too, will bump the project forward.

Also at issue was funding for older and new developments, said City Manager Andrea Gardner.

The city no longer qualifies for the Safe Routes to School program, and projects will depend on the category of funding available, especially if the project is not a Texas transportation enhancement program.

“We also have to consider the homeowners who (already) paid to purchase their own sidewalks,” she said, “because if it’s not the city, it may be taxpayer funds.”

The proposed policy is under consideration by the council.

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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