Committee recommends Lubbock council try new road bond in November

A citizens advisory committee appointed in June tasked with investigating last November’s failed road bond package and making a recommendation to the Lubbock City Council on how to move forward with much-needed street repairs presented its findings and suggestions to the council during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The committee’s final recommendation urges the City Council to call a new bond election in November with a single $200 million proposition to fund 17 street reconstruction and expansion projects, notably excluding any funding for work on Broadway.

The $200 million bond package the committee recommends is about $25 million larger than the $174.5 million ask that failed last November, though it contains a number of similar projects, like widening portions of 114th Street, and adds a few more.

The recommendation also adds two neighborhood projects — reconstruction of several unspecified streets in the Dunbar-Manhattan Heights neighborhood deemed to be in very poor condition, and paving of unpaved streets in City Council districts one and two focusing on high-density residential areas.

Besides the two neighborhood projects, recommended road expansions listed in the committee’s priority order are:

  • 34th St. from Ave. Q to I-27 (Reconstruction of this section is ongoing; the bond would fund additional “back-of-curb” improvements)

  • 82nd St. from I-27 to MLK Jr. Blvd.

  • MLK Blvd. from 74th St. to 82nd St.

  • 34th St. from Quaker Ave. to Slide Rd. (Reconstruction of this section is ongoing; the bond would fund additional “back-of-curb” improvements)

  • 146th St. from Quaker Ave. to Indiana Ave.

  • 114th St. from Indiana Ave. to University Ave.

  • 98th St. from Alcove Ave. to Upland Ave.*

  • Upland Ave. from 34th St. to 50th St.*

  • 66th St. from Alcove Ave. to Upland Ave.*

  • 114th St. from Frankford Ave. to Slide Rd.

  • Upland Ave. from 50th St. to 66th St.

  • Upland Ave. from 4th St. to 19th St.*

  • Milwaukee Ave. from 4th St. to the north city limits*

  • Upland Ave. from 34th St. to 19th St.

  • 34th St. from Milwaukee Ave. to Upland Ave.

*An asterisk indicates the project is adjacent to a school.

The committee did not present an itemized list of the costs of each of these projects but assured the council the $200 million would cover all the recommended projects.

Committee chair Heather Keister said the advisory committee initially evaluated around $360 million worth of proposed projects but whittled it down over the course of their four meetings to what they believed to be the most important projects. Keister said the $200 million figure would be more palatable to voters.

“Our committee has a priority of building a package that can be supported by the community and benefits the whole city,” Keister said. “In the second-to-last meeting, we had our wish list, but we had to come back and understand what the dollars look like and what can we support.”

Keister also said the committee unanimously agreed that something needs to be done with Broadway and added the committee reached consensus that a hybrid reconstruction, reusing the 100-year-old historic brick on parts of the corridor and paving others, was the best option.

However, because of the cost and “controversial” nature of a Broadway revamp, Keister said, the committee advised more time is needed to study and plan such a project.

“(The hybrid option) did get support from a majority in the committee due to the quantity of brick available and the overall cost. However, the committee felt like it’s very important to build a package that can be supported by the community,” Keister said. “We did not want to put forward a project that could potentially put the rest of the bond package at risk. Therefore, the committee did not include Broadway in the final recommendation at this time.”

The City Council will hold a work session at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday following their regular meeting to discuss the recommendation and come to a consensus on how to proceed. Then, if the council decides to call a November bond election, they will need to convene twice in special session between Wednesday and the next Monday to call the election, per state law.

Following the presentation from the citizens advisory committee, the council resumed budget talks for the upcoming fiscal year. They are scheduled to meet Wednesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. to continue those discussions.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Committee recommends Lubbock council try new road bond in November