Downtown city sidewalks will get a much needed facelift with the nip and tuck procedures starting as early as next spring.
The main focus of the pedestrian improvement plan will be cracked or lifted sidewalks, which pose a significant trip and fall risk. The city will also make strides to improve its access ramps for residents with disabilities.
Rolling around downtown is an everyday thing for Gary Abraham, but his motorized wheelchair could use a few more shock absorbers for the cracks and wrinkles in the pavement.
"A lot of times there is. The roads are pretty rough. I mean the sidewalks, seems to be a lot of bumps in them," Abraham, who lives downtown, said.
Now with a grant from the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center, Spokane is looking to smooth out the face of downtown sidewalks..
"Whether that's diamond grinding and smoothing out the cracks or completely moving and replacing the sidewalk," Brandon Blenkenagel, senior engineer for the City of Spokane, said.
The grant totals more than $1.3 million with most of the funding coming from federal congestion mitigation and air quality money. The city's new plan is to resurface close to eight city blocks for both looks and safety.
ADA access is also a big issue.
"Original way of constructing sidewalks there were no curb ramps, and so to actually install the curb ramps is a big piece of it," Blenkenagel said.
The most notable access being the ramps at 1st and Howard and a corner ramp up the street at Riverside and Howard..
"For the most part, for the busy part downtown here it's pretty good, yes," said Abraham.
The grant will also pay for new trash cans and flower planters to be installed around downtown. Bike racks are also slated and trees and tree grates will also go under the knife if need be.
"If we are taking the initiative to put these in we can choose how they look and put a consistent nature to the environment that we create for the pedestrians," said Blenkenagel.
Design work will start this winter with construction wrapping up in 2015.