Bellaire Citizens for Sidewalk Choice – A Petition for Citizen Participation
SidewalkChoice was founded by a group of Bellaire residents who feel the $55 million dollar 2016 Bonds for Better Bellaire bond issue left out important facts about how the funds would be applied, and changes were made that obscured the true use of a portion of the funds. To see how the City promoted this bond issue go to https://www.sidewalkchoice.com/the-citys-promotion-of-the-2016-bonds-for-better-bellaire/
Use the Volunteer form or the Contact link in the main menu if you want to sign the petition or would like to volunteer to circulate a petition on your block. Thanks!
• We are not against sidewalks per se, we simply believe Citizens should have a voice when it comes to the construction of sidewalks on their block.
• In 2016, long before the Harvey flood, City Council discussed four bond issue propositions. Of the four, one was for streets and drainage improvements and another for sidewalks
• In a clever move, City Council voted not to allow the sidewalk proposition to stand alone, to provide an opportunity for voters to say yes or no to stand-alone sidewalks. Instead five members of Council chose to fold it into Proposition 1 for streets and drainage.
• Many residents who voted to pass Proposition 1 for the much needed streets and drainage were completely unaware that they were also voting for the stand-alone sidewalk plans that the City Council had in store.
• Historically the City built 4-foot sidewalks on one side of residential streets that were to receive street and/or drainage improvements (since City easements were being torn up anyway).
• But the combined proposition allocated $4MM for “stand-alone” sidewalks, which are retrofitted into yards along specified blocks with no corresponding street or drainage work.
• The list of streets to receive sidewalks is based on the arbitrary decisions of the City staff and City Council with little to no input from Citizens.
• On August 6, 2018, members of City Council voted to increase the standard width of residential sidewalks from 4 feet to 5 feet, which means taking up more precious green-space, destroying and removing more trees, and adding more concrete.
• Even though residents on certain blocks filed petitions with 80% or more rejecting any type of sidewalk construction, Council forged ahead. Some streets were removed, others remained – once again arbitrary decisions. We all need to start paying attention.
• During deliberations at recent meetings City Council members have made clear they desire sidewalks to be installed on every block, on both sides of the street, and they retained a standard width at 5 feet. So even if your block or side of the street is not impacted now, it likely will be.
• City Council is acting against the will of many of its citizens, and we need to allow citizens a choice.
• Therefore we are proposing a petition to hold an election and provide Bellaire residents an opportunity to let City Council know whether or not they want sidewalks
(1) If Bellaire wants to add sidewalks, they need to put in drainage to offset the associated increase in water discharge**
(2) If Bellaire wants to add sidewalks to a block, the City needs to obtain the approval of ~50% of residences on a block in signature
(3) Prior to asking for resident’s signatures, the City must provide a detailed plan of trees to be removed and how far the sidewalks will encroach on folks’ property
If you approve and feel residents should have an opportunity to let City Council know what they want, and you are a Bellaire resident and registered to vote, please sign the petition. This is not an online petition. Volunteers will knock on doors, others will set up tables in public areas. If you prefer someone can stop by your home. There’s a volunteer form available, or use the Contact link to request more information. Thank you.
** of note, we would like the drainage calculation to be determined by a 3rd party engineer / hydrologist not benefitting from the construction of sidewalks through contracts
When Council Won’t Act …Neighbors Should Look Out For Each Other