Richmonders clamor for better roads and sidewalks - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmonders clamor for better roads and sidewalks

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Richmond residents are calling for improvements to the city's aging infrastructure in a community survey.

The citizens polled said the biggest issues come from city streets and sidewalks. It seems they are hoping to see more projects like the ongoing improvements on Midlothian Turnpike.

More than half of respondents aren't satisfied with maintenance of roads, sidewalks and infrastructure. The survey was sent out to 8,500 Richmond households.

City leaders explain they'll use the findings to improve and expand services.

"We can't cut our way out of this," Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall told City Council members. "We can't raise taxes to get our way out of this. We got to be more efficient."

The Department of Public Works wants 80 percent of city streets to be rated good or better, but in order to get to that level it would have to spend $11 million a year.

Right now, the city spends $5 million; next year it'll increase that budget line to $10 million.

"That gets us on the path of making repairs to major streets," Marshall explained. "I think that's what will change the attitude of citizens."

Number two on the list of issues Richmonders say need more attention is service to low income people. The city poverty rate is at 26 percent, which means one out of every four citizens is poor. Monday night, council members and the mayor's staff tossed around ideas to change that.

"We'll focus on getting people to work that's available," Marshall added. "We'll focus on getting them training for jobs that are available. So we'll look at demand-side job readiness and job skills training."

Schools are also on the list of "needs improvement," while areas like city libraries, the solid waste system and parks and recreation exceeded expectations.

The survey cost the city $37,500. 

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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