Steven Lanphear walks his dog, Mindy, daily along Lincoln Avenue in New London. He knows the neighborhood well, but he said that he usually looks down.
"You really have to be careful with the sidewalks that go up and down," said Lanphear.
There are approximately 60 miles of sidewalk in the City of New London, according to the director of Public Works, Brian Sear.
In the last four years the city has spent more than $4 million to repair or replace about 10 to 12 miles of sidewalk. There are still about 20 miles of sidewalk across the city that need attention, according to a rough estimate from Sear.
"You can get anywhere in this town on foot and it is one of our assets that we need to protect," said James Burke, a city council member and former member of the Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
Burke is now the council liaison for public works. He believes New London is the most walkable municipality in Southeastern Connecticut and stressed the importance of maintaining the city's sidewalks.
Burke said that since 2015, the City of New London has taken an aggressive approach, spending about $1 million on sidewalk repairs each year.
"We can never do everything in one year," said Burke. "But we can make sure the next things we do are important."
The City Planner's Office, Department of Public Works and the Pedestrian Advisory Committee all weigh in before the city prioritizes sidewalks that need to be repaired.
According to Sear, the city reviews a multitude of factors including condition, amount of use, connectivity to critical services (schools, parks, hospitals, medical facilities, downtown, etc.) and distribution throughout the city.
The City of New London entered into a $1 million contract with Colonna Concrete for 2020. Sear said that Colonna handles large stretches of replacement.
For the first time this year, the city is also planning on bidding out smaller sections of damaged area of sidewalk that would not require the entire stretch of sidewalk to be replaced.
According to the Department of Public Works, the following sidewalks are on the 2020 priority list:
- So. Ledyard Street from Lincoln to Ahscraft (both sides)
- Elm Street from Rogers to Lincoln (odd side)
- Lincoln Avenue South Ledyard to Connecticut (both sides)
- Ashcraft Road from Connecticut Avenue to South Ledyard Street (with addition of planting strip on the south side)
- Terrace Avenue (east side)
- Perry Street (both sides)
- Willetts Avenue (Waterford to Ocean – south side)