Oklahoma City can afford only 26 of 70 planned miles of MAPS 3 sidewalks

BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Modified: August 22, 2012 at 10:53 pm •  Published: August 22, 2012

Sidewalks have become the first MAPS 3 component that won't be completed as originally planned because of budget constraints. But Oklahoma City's MAPS program manager said it shouldn't be interpreted as a sign that other projects will suffer the same fate.

The MAPS 3 Citizen Advisory Board's trails and sidewalks subcommittee met Wednesday and received a report from a consultant that revealed the MAPS 3 sidewalk budget of $6.8 million will likely only pay for about 26 miles of the 70 miles of sidewalks planned.

MAPS Program Manager David Todd said the primary reason the sidewalks are so much more expensive than anticipated are new city and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for width, along with inflation, the cost of rebuilding driveways that the sidewalks cross and installing retaining walls in some areas.

“When this (MAPS 3 plan) was first developed, they were looking at 4-foot (-wide) sidewalks,” Todd said. “We have to do 5-foot sidewalks now.”

Sidewalks and trails were included in MAPS 3 because many of Oklahoma City's arterial roadways have no sidewalks at all, and the city is often criticized as not being friendly to pedestrians. Officials have also touted the benefits of an expanded network of sidewalks and trails to help combat rising obesity concerns.

No more money now

Only the city council can decide to pump more money into the MAPS 3 sidewalk budget, which would likely have to come from another MAPS 3 project budget. Without a current source of more funding, the sidewalks subcommittee voted Wednesday to recommend approval of a document that prioritizes where the 26 miles of sidewalks should be built.

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