FOR IMMEDIATE RELASE
Public Works leaders presented the findings of a citizen survey regarding capital improvement and transportation projects at the Oct. 2 City Council lunch workshop. More than 1500 citizens responded to the survey, which asked them to prioritize the projects they think are most beneficial to the community, offer guidance on the amount that should be invested in certain city-wide programs and provide any additional comments they might have. The survey was open to anyone who lives, works or visits Springfield and frequents City roadways.
Public Works engineers identified 26 proposed projects for the survey, designed to not only make streets safer, but also more user-friendly for all modes of transportation.
The list was created using the following criteria:
• Increased safety for all users
• Support of economic development
• Protection and enhancement of the environment and quality of life
• Intermodal connectivity
• Condition of the infrastructure
• Opportunity for public and private partnerships
• Efficiency & effectiveness of the system.
The most popular projects identified included:
1. Campbell Ave. Widening (Republic Rd. to Westview St.)
2. Galloway St. Widening (Luster Ave. to Lone Pine Ave.)
3. Kansas Ave. Widening (Republic Rd to Walnut Lawn St.)
4. Division St. Reconstruction (National Ave. to Glenstone Ave.)
5. Battlefield Rd. and Lone Pine Ave. Intersection
6. National Ave. and Sunset St. Intersection
7. Fremont Ave. Widening (Erie St. to Independence St.)
8. National Ave. Widening (Walnut Lawn St. to Montclair St.)
In addition, citizen responses suggested that the City’s current efforts to build and maintain roadways and other infrastructure are appreciated but could use more investment.
The results from the survey were used alongside other considerations, such as City department and partner agency assessed need, continuation project status and equitable geographic dispersion, to calculate a final list for Council consideration. Council reviewed that list today.
City/agency need is determined by City departments and partner agencies who assess other variables that may impact the project’s overall benefit to the community. Total crashes, traffic capacity, infrastructure condition, economic development potential and flooding within the project area were all factors considered.
Highest-Rated Projects (all factors considered):
• Galloway Street (Luster to Lone Pine)
• Campbell Ave. Widening (Republic to Westview)
• Division St. Reconstruction (National to Glenstone)
• West Bypass & Kearney Intersection
• Division St. Sidewalk (West Ave. to Kansas Expwy.)
• Kansas Ave. Widening (Republic to Walnut Lawn)
• Battlefield & Lone Pine Intersection
• National & Sunset Intersection
• Fremont Ave. Widening (Erie to Independence)
• National Ave. Widening (Walnut Lawn to Montclair)
Council also evaluated the possibility of a longer-term option for the ¼-cent capital improvements sales tax. Some reasons that suggest a longer term could be beneficial include:
- The City currently splits up project phases (e.g., design and construction) and cannot fully commit to our citizens that a project will be completed, regardless of need, until a future tax initiative is approved. An extended term would allow us to see a project commitment all the way through.
- Due to short tax terms, it is more challenging for the City to respond to unknown future needs. These could be related to a job growth project or critical infrastructure needs.
- A longer tax term allows us to have the flexibility to respond to such a need, if necessary; and
- The City could utilize bonding to accelerate certain projects and/or to address larger scale projects that might not otherwise be feasible because they would require too large of an amount of "pay-as-you-go" money.
“When you have a longer window of planning, it does create additional efficiencies,” Smith explained. “And could expedite project timelines.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, Council indicated support of the proposed project list and for keeping the sunset, but extending it to 20 years, per City Manager Jason Gage’s recommendation. The public engagement process, including the citizen survey, would continue to occur to collect feedback on projects.
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About the ¼-cent capital improvement sales tax program
The current 1/4-cent capital improvement sales tax, renewed by Springfield voters for the ninth time in 2016, is estimated to generate approximately $30 million, which is being invested in projects such as intersection improvements, school sidewalks and traffic signals.
When possible, funding is leveraged with other partners including county, state, federal, and developer funding to increase the investment return to the citizens of Springfield.
In April 2019, Springfield voters will be asked to approve the renewal (with no tax increase) which funds capital improvement and transportation improvement projects in Springfield. The 1/4-cent capital improvement projects sales tax currently has a three-year sunset, was first approved in 1989 and was renewed in 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016.
Projects that have been completed with 1/4-cent funds include:
Intersection / Interchange Improvements:
I-44 and Kansas Expressway
James River Freeway at National Avenue
James River Freeway at Campbell Avenue
National Avenue at Kearney Street
Campbell Avenue at Primrose
Widening of U.S. Route 65 to 6 lanes, in 2 phases, from Chestnut Expressway to Sunshine Street, and from Sunshine to Battlefield Road.
Widening of Republic Road in various phases.
Turn lane improvements for safety and capacity at various locations, such as Glenstone at Battlefield and Chestnut Expressway at Sherman Avenue.
Bridge and pavement preservation, including bridge rehabilitation on Kansas Expressway viaduct.
Design priority intermodal connectivity improvements to enhance pedestrian, bicycle, and transit mobility.
Construct pedestrian connections to transit stops along Glenstone Avenue.
Enhancements to the Ozarks Traffic Intelligent Transportation System including variable message signs.
Cost-share projects for economic development working with MoDOT, Greene County and private developers
These strategies were endorsed by the City Council and are the underlying philosophy of the Capital Improvements Program.
The City of Springfield's primary responsibility is the protection of life, health, and public safety. Projects which address serious health and safety needs should receive the highest rating.
Improving the city's existing infrastructure also rates high. Projects which improve existing streets, stormwater facilities, etc. to adopted standards; projects which improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the city's basic service systems; and projects which enhance city government's ability to provide basic services should receive the second highest rating. The City Council states as a matter of policy that, all other considerations being equal, improvement of existing infrastructure should rate higher than construction of new infrastructure improvements. Construction of new infrastructure improvements (new streets, new parks, greenways, etc.) is necessary to keep up with the community's growth.
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For more information, contact Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or [email protected].