After requests from numerous Birmingham residents living on unimproved streets who have been seeking to have their streets paved and curbs added, Birmingham commissioners unanimously approved creating an ad hoc unimproved street study committee at their meeting on Monday, September 25.
The purpose of the committee, which would consist of residents living on unimproved streets as well as a representation of commissioners, is to conduct a citywide study of unimproved streets in Birmingham compared to improved streets and then provide a recommendation to the city commission outlining a long-term plan for the streets, which represent about a third of the neighborhood streets in the city.
The ad hoc committee would have a little over a year, until the end of December 2018, to study the streets before making a recommendation. City manager Joe Valentine said if the committee needed more time, the time line could be extended.
“We have two different kinds of streets – improved and unimproved – for our maintenance cycle,” Valentine said. Improved streets are fully paved with curbs. Unimproved streets have no curbs, and are essentially gravel street with coats of sealer applied on top. “Our maintenance cycle for unimproved streets has come under concern from residents. Every seven to 10 years, they have to be maintained, and there are costs and concerns with the products being used. It needs to be addressed.”
“I think this is an excellent way to go. This will correct many streets, as well as improve communications with the commission,” said commissioner Rackeline Hoff.
Valentine said recommendations from the committee would not be completed by the 2018 construction season, where the normal cycle for cape sealing would continue.
“Once we have their recommendations, we can determine whether we go on with the cape seal program after that,” Valentine said.