Although presented with an abundance of challenges during the ongoing pandemic, the City of East Grand Rapids Public Works team and its partners were able to safely proceed with planned construction work and other essential infrastructure projects in 2020. Improving the roughly 50 miles of streets and 80 miles of sidewalks in our community remains a top priority for the City.
The road millage approved by voters in 2015 continues to have a positive impact on our community. Over the past five years, our Public Works team has maintained and improved City street surface conditions. In 2020, Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating scores are once again significantly above projected numbers.
Now halfway through the millage, 70% of City streets have fair to excellent ratings. In 2014 48% of streets were rated good/fair to excellent and to date from the 2015 streets and sidewalks millage, street condition ratings have improved by 22%. The 2020 ratings demonstrate how residents’ tax dollars have been critical to the success of our street and sidewalk improvements.
As we wrap up 2020, the Public Works Department is reviewing asset ratings across utilities infrastructure in conjunction with funding levels. This enables the team to set street projects for spring 2021, allowing us to reach and exceed our 2025 goal of 70% good/fair to excellent ratings.
Here’s what we’ve accomplished this year thanks to the 2015 millage:
Utility Infrastructure Improvements
Water Main Projects
Sanitary Sewer Projects
Storm Sewer Projects
You can learn more about street, water main, sanitary sewer projects and the PASER rating system at eastgr.org/construction.
Three neighborhood mini-roundabouts were added on Argentina and Elmwood for traffic control this year. Our team researched best practices, hosted several community discussions and gathered resident feedback in advance of this project. The roundabouts have resulted in improved safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Working with Progressive AE and Aligned Planning, we began creating the Mobility/Bicycle Action Plan. Our community engagement efforts were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We held meetings in John Collins Park in July and August where participants shared valuable information on their various experiences and comfort levels while walking, running, biking and driving throughout EGR. This feedback resulted in a temporary demonstration Oct. 16 to Nov. 1 at Lakeside Drive/Greenwood Avenue and Reeds Lake Boulevard.
While not a permanent solution, data gathered from this demonstration, in addition to the engagement sessions, has been critical to our planning process. The Mobility/Bicycle Action Plan will be presented to the City Commission this winter. We look forward to continuing our work to enhance EGR’s roadways for drivers and pedestrians alike. You can learn more about this project at eastgr.org/2020mobilityplan.
The City and its contractors began working on plans for the 2021 Hall Street project. In collaboration with the City of Grand Rapids, this rotomill and resurfacing work will significantly enhance Hall Street and seamlessly connect the shared roadways of the two communities. This project aligns with the 2020 Mobility/Bicycle Action Plan, balancing improvements to pedestrian safety, bicycle facilities and maintaining on-street parking to the extent possible.
After the City conducted three virtual community engagement sessions and solicited feedback from residents, the City Commission approved the project plans at its Dec. 21 meeting. You can review the plans at eastgr.org/hallstreet. Construction is set to begin in June 2021 after the school year concludes.
“Despite the barriers created by the pandemic, I’m glad we could proceed with our work and complete our construction projects on time,” Interim City Manager and Public Works Director Doug LaFave said. “Maintaining the City’s infrastructure is incredibly important, and I’m pleased with resident involvement on our plans to improving our roadways.”
The City is committed to keeping residents, businesses and visitors informed of construction projects. Staff and contractors provide residents and businesses with notices before construction and maintenance projects begin. Updates are regularly posted on our Construction webpage, including weekly updates during construction season.
For additional notification of major projects, plans, road closures and public engagement opportunities, follow the City on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for our biweekly e-newsletter, the East Express, at eastgr.org/signup.