Mayor Bernero Defends $1.3 Million Waverly Sidewalk Project

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

Mayor Bernero sees a big problem with pedestrian traffic alongside Waverly Road.

"I regularly see kids and adults walking in the street," said Bernero. "When the snow is over here they're in the street because there's nowhere else to to go."

In addition to solving a public safety issue, Bernero says the $1.3 million sidewalk project would provide a necessary link for pedestrian and bike traffic between Lansing and Lansing Township as well as a path to the YMCA and other parks nearby.

But opponents of the project aren't so thrilled with the price tag.

"The residents are calling me and saying, 'Why would we spend $1.3 million on a sidewalk?'" said Sen. Rick Jones (R - Grand Ledge). "We don't need this right now."

The proposed walkway is awaiting approval from the Tri-County Planning Commission. Bernero expects it to take two years to complete. As it stands the project will be funded with city funds, not assessments, although the city is looking at state and federal options to come up with the money.

Currently, the sidewalk ends at the north side of the Moores River Bridge, right in front of political analyst Bill Ballenger's house. He says using public safety as a reason to fund this sidewalk isn't a good one.

"I have lived in this area off and on for 40 years and there has never been an accident or an injury or a fatality," said Ballenger.

But Bernero says he doesn't want to wait for one of those to happen.

"This is a treacherous and busy street," said Bernero. "I want us to act before somebody is killed."

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  • by Liza on Jan 5, 2011 at 11:19 AM
    If the city hourly employees are only working 32 hours a week than legally they are part time. If we can not afford to pay a 40 hour work week where is Virg getting money to spend 1.3 million on sidewalks? I agree with Sam, this makes no sense where is the money for this project comming from? Is he planning a special assement to pay for it? This makes me very worried.
  • by Sam on Jan 5, 2011 at 09:54 AM
    Virg wants to spend all this money on a sidewalk, in a city that works 4 days a week, that doesn't clean snow off sidestreets, and forced employees to take an early retirement, and replaced no one. A city that closed parks and gave Potter park to the county, because the city HAS NO MONEY!! When did 1 and 1 equal 5? I do not know what this man is thinking, if we do not have all of the above and other services which were cut how can we spend money on a new sidewalk? Someone please explain this to me.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 5, 2011 at 04:55 AM
    We just had the cit install bike lanes on Holmes Rd. Taking the road to one lane either way. I have to drive that road 4 times a day. I have never seen a bike rider use the bike lanes, just a guy in a motorized wheel chair. I wouldn't ride on Waverly with bike paths, and while sidewalks would be nice, I can almost guarantee that no homeowner will clean them in the winter. Most don't even clean out their driveways. Most people who ride bikes find safer routes than along Waverly. I ride also but my life is more important than taking what seems to be the shortest route. Riding here would be equvilant to riding on 496.
  • by Dave Location: Lansing on Jan 4, 2011 at 03:36 PM
    As an area cyclist, I applaud this. The stretch of Waverly in question is extremely unsafe, and is about the only option to get from the immediate south of downtown to the southwest parts of the city and beyond. I ride on Waverly when I must, but would feel safer if more attention were given to this area for walk- and bike-ability. As to comments about about parts of Waverly or of the city without walks, that is ignoring the fact that the section of Waverly in question truly is the only path from south Lansing to the broader southwest of the city. I feel this is an appropriate project to undertake, and will benefit the city.
  • by Dan on Jan 4, 2011 at 12:49 PM
    What part of Waverly does Virg drive on? I drive from N Lansing down Waverly to Jolly and back every day. I see people crossing from the apartments at Waverly and Jolly and using the turn lane for a safety net, but there are sidewalks for about a block right where I see these people. That and people crossing Waverly to get to the bus stops, if anyone has seen people walking in the roadway please post it here, because as I see it Virg has either lost his mind, or is seeing things. No one walks north or south in the roadway on Waverly. They run across which is east to west.
  • by Lee on Jan 4, 2011 at 12:04 PM
    I drive Waverly twice a day every day of the week, have done this for over 30 years. I have never seen anyone walking in the roadway. I know speeds are posted at 30 & 35 MPH, but actual driving speeds are between 35 and 50. Who is crazy enough to walk in the traffic lanes with those speeds? This is just Virg trying to do something else that really doesn't need to be done. Spending money we don't have.
  • by Anonymous Location: Sandi on Jan 4, 2011 at 10:01 AM
    Did Virg take into consideration that one lane of Waverly where ever they are working would be closed to traffic. How many of you were backed up for 2 or 3 blockes a few weeks ago when Lansing Twp decided to fix part of Waverly near the bridge. How many people had to wait for several lights to get past the bridge? We do not need this for two reasons, the city has no money, and no one wants a repeat of the traffic jams. Like Sans I NEVER SEE PEOPLE WALKING ON THE ROAD!! Even the idiots don't walk on Waverly. Who is going to buy this story? Not anyone who uses Waverly or lives in South Lansing.
  • by Sans on Jan 4, 2011 at 07:41 AM
    I live right off Waverly, I use the road daily. I never see people walking in the road. No one is that crazy! There are no sidewalks between Miller and Mt. Hope on the city side of the Waverly, no one has asked for them, people who live in the area don't care or don't use Waverly for walking. I think this is a total waste of money the city doesn't have. But we are talking about Virg, who will do exactly what he wants and the devil with the citizens, the neighborhoods, or the treasury.
  • by Hunter Location: Charlotte on Jan 4, 2011 at 02:57 AM
    The city is going to have to cut jobs, reduce pay and more to balance the budget, but the mayor can spend spend spend on projects that the citizens don't want.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 4, 2011 at 02:29 AM
    Some projects are worth the political risk. Virg is now is a lame duck and he his aspiration of moving up the political ladder is in a holding patter until we get rid of more of our great democratic leadership.
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