Elk Grove City Council Conducts Business, Listens to Citizen; Lessons from the Sidewalk

June 27, 2013 | Last night's regular meeting of the Elk Grove City Council could be described as a tedious, policy heavy sess...

June 27, 2013 |

Last night's regular meeting of the Elk Grove City Council could be described as a tedious, policy heavy session that nonetheless covered items which are important to the future of the city.

Among other things, the city council heard and acted on lengthy staff reports on the city's state-mandated housing element policy and a developer loan package for a low-income housing project. 

One item of note discussed during the public comment section had to do with a residents request to explore the possibility of connecting one of the city's many disconnected sidewalks. After hearing from the resident and explanation of how the city's capital improvement projects are prioritized, the council asked to have the item agendized for future consideration.

While the addition, or at least exploration of building a short infill sidewalk is hardly earth-shattering news or governance, it should act as a reminder to our city council of the things that really matter to constituents. In this case, a safe sidewalk along a busy road.

In the last few years, Elk Grove leadership has displayed an almost fetish-like obsession with grandiose, some might say delusional, plans. Topping the current list of delusional plans is the city's expenditure of tens-of-thousands of taxpayers dollars to explore the possibility of bringing a Major League Soccer team to the city.

As Rob Grossglauser and his young son inadvertently reminded the council last night with his request to explore the construction of a sidewalk in his neighborhood, the things that matter to constituents are often small unglamorous things like a sidewalk.    

What is it that residents expect of their local government? People want to know that their garbage will be picked up on time, public safety will respond when needed, streets are safe, potholes in the road fixed, clean parks, buses run on time, graffiti abated and a whole list of things that while unglamorous, act as the fabric that make a community a desirable place live, and in Elk Grove's case, hopefully work someday.

While Elk Grove has done a good job of meeting most of these services, there are a lot more important and yes, unglamorous things, the city needs to do with taxpayers money than chasing some grandiose plan for a soccer stadium or any other scheme formulating in the bowels of city hall. 

They can start by connecting all the city's sidewalks and trails.  


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Michael said...

The city is spending over one million dollars on a 500 foot stretch of Emerald Park Drive.

The improvements include increasing the size of storm drains to 36 inches, ADA required crossings, street repaving, and installation of about 200 feet of missing sidewalk.

It's questionable whether the increased sizing of storm drains will make a hill of beans bit of difference in flood control, since Elk Grove Creek is clotted with overgrowth.

I've complained about urban flash flooding and lack of sidewalks for nearly 20 years.
The city will not consider walkable neighborhoods, and that's the reason why these deficiencies exist.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the simpliest things mean the most. Thank you for eloquently stating that in this article. What makes neighborhoods strong? Good neighborhood parks, sidewalks and trails, neighborhood watch programs, clean/unclutter neighborhoods (ie no boats, motor homes, trailers sitting for months)and great police service. Our city does OK on most of these...but have you ever tried to get a motor home/boat removed from your neighborhood...all you get is red tape from the city...want someone to come clean up a city owned park...all you get is "budget reductions, sorry, can't get someone there for three weeks". We still have a long way to get to make all of our neighborhoods up to par...being laser focused on the smaller things will go a long way to improving the livability of EG. A soccer stadium will do absoluately nothing for my neighborhood. Time to focus on reality and start with tangible improvments that enrich our neighborhoods.

Sarah Johnson said...

Yet again, we are reminded of the lack of sidewalk connectivity in many areas. It seems to take at least several years to fix what should be pretty simple. It goes back to the basic rule that call for these things to be paid for by adjacent development. This leaves these gaps. We need a system that addresses this at the planning level. Why are we continuing to make this mistake over and over again? Change the approach!

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