The purpose of municipal government is to provide the high-quality services that residents expect. We do a pretty good job of providing these services in Ann Arbor, but as is true of everything, we must strive for continual improvement.
Water & Stormwater Systems
We have an aging system of pipes that deliver our water and remove our waste and stormwater. The pipes that run beneath our streets are the most important and expensive investment a city makes, yet are often overlooked by residents. As we look to the future, we need to evaluate new technology (and some old technology) to make sure our system is equal to the task.
Over the next decade, we will need to take on several important infrastructure projects including:
Upgrading our aging water treatment plant and pipes to ensure quality water well into the future.
Reducing the amount of stormwater going into the system and constructing environmentally appropriate stormwater retention and water detention systems to address flooding concerns.
Prioritizing street tree planting and incentivizing rain gardens in high-risk flood areas.
Fighting for faster and more intensive cleanup of the Gelman plume before it reaches City water sources.
Here’s what I wrote when I ran in 2015:
“As I walk the Fifth Ward to speak with voters, the dreadful condition of our roads is still something that comes up in every conversation I have. The poor condition of many streets is creating safety issues for drivers, bikers, and walkers.”
We’ve made some serious progress on improving our roads, but as anyone who uses them knows, we have a long way to go. The City has a complete condition assessment of our entire street network and we have set a goal to have 80% of our streets in good condition by 2022. That’s an ambitious goal, but one we’re on track to meet.
Since the lawmakers in Lansing have proven completely unable to get anything accomplished, the task of fixing our roads has fallen almost entirely to us. My response to Lansing’s failure was to accept the challenge of developing new local street and sidewalk millage language that would allow for more flexible use of the funds so that we could address transportation projects more holistically. I worked with former colleague Sabra Briere to develop the resolution of intent which became the Local Street and Sidewalk Millage that was approved by voters in August 2016.
All of our road projects need to be designed with all users in mind. We’ve made progress in this area, but still need to institutionalize these common sense approaches to design and construction. Our road network needs to accommodate all users safely. So no matter if your walk, bike, drive, or skate, we’re working to ensure our transportation network is safe for you.