• Bill Raines

Editorial: Sidewalk Ordinances - Developers and Residents Two Different Enforcement Policies

BEDFORD - (March 24,2022) - Bedford City Council passed a new ordinance 02-2022 and resolution which clarified roles and responsibilities of homeowners when it comes to maintaining sidewalks and retention walls.


(No sidewalks installed at Glen Meadows despite the recommendation to install them as part of the city's transportation plan)


The Bedford ordinance never addressed the role of a property owner when it came to a retention wall, Bedford Plan Commissioner Brandon Woodward, Board of Zoning Appeals, and Clerk-Treasurer helped refine an ordinance that defined these responsibilities.


If a wall is over four feet tall, a building permit will be required to repair or replace the wall. If the wall is two or lower the wall can be removed.


It remains the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain a sidewalk that is on or near their property. If the sidewalk needs replaced, the city will remove the concrete for the property however the homeowner is responsible to pay the contractor to replace the sidewalk.


While the city uses the ordinance to force residents to take action for their sidewalk. The City of Bedford has been friendly to developers. The city has allowed many developers to get a free pass from installing sidewalks, even though many residential neighborhoods are within the city limits.



(City of Bedford never required Developer Jay Fiddler to install sidewalks even though the transportation plan recommended it)


In August 2021, the late Ed Bay filed a lawsuit alleging that in May 2019, developer Jay Fiddler requested the approval to expand Broadview North Subdivision at Oakridge and Morgan Avenue off 27th Street.


Six of those lots were added, however there were no sidewalks installed despite recommendations to do so.


(New houses come up along Fellowship Drive on Beford's eastside, however the city did not require sidewalks forcing pedestrians in the streets to walk)


The lawsuit alleged that the city ignored many of the city ordinances.


Ed Bay passed away on October 1, 2021 therefore the lawsuit did not move forward.


In February 2021, Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore asked the Bedford City Council to pass an ordinance to pass an ordinance to place three stop signs, at the intersections throughout the Broadview North Addition.


The request came following the expansion of the housing project, and increased traffic. With the city allowing no sidewalks, pedestrians were forced into the streets to walk.


Stop signs were placed at Morgan / Oakridge, Dogwood /Oakridge, and Alder /Oakridge intersections.


The City of Bedford exempted many developers from installing sidewalks, despite the city ordinances stating otherwise, and part of the city's transportation plan.


At a minimum, design components should include:


(1) Sidewalks and crosswalks;


(2) Bike and shared lanes;


(3) Wide shoulders;


(4) Refuge medians;


(5) Bus pullouts;


(6) Raised crosswalks;


(7) Audible pedestrian signals;


(8) Pedestrian countdown signals;


(9) Sidewalk bump outs;


(10) Bus priority signals;


(11) Transit stop accommodation;


(12) Road diets;


(13) Access management;


(14) Roundabout intersections;


(15) Traffic calming strategies; and


(16) On-street parking.


(C) Other important elements to consider incorporating:


(1) Green streets. In addition to providing safe and accessible streets in the city, care shall be given to incorporate best management practices for addressing storm water runoff. Wherever possible, innovative and educational storm water infrastructure shall be integrated in to the construction, reconstruction, or retrofit of a street.


(2) Attention to aesthetic. Complete streets are beautiful, interesting, and comfortable places for people. The design of a city begins with the design of streets, as a community places where people want to be. As part of the city's public realm, streets shall be held to a higher standard for design at a human scale. Multi-modal accommodations and all city projects in the right- of-way shall be approached as opportunities to enhance the aesthetic qualities of the city through the thoughtful creation of place. Wherever feasible, streetscapes shall include: Attention to aesthetic.Complete streets are beautiful, interesting, and comfortable places for people. The design of a city begins with the design of streets, as a community places where people want to be. As part of the city's public realm, streets shall be held to a higher standard for design at a human scale. Multi-modal accommodations and all city projects in the right- of-way shall be approached as opportunities to enhance the aesthetic qualities of the city through the thoughtful creation of place. Wherever feasible, streetscapes shall include:Attention to aesthetic. Complete streets are beautiful, interesting, and comfortable places for people. The design of a city begins with the design of streets, as a community places where people want to be. As part of the city's public realm, streets shall be held to a higher standard for design at a human scale. Multi-modal accommodations and all city projects in the right- of-way shall be approached as opportunities to enhance the aesthetic qualities of the city through the thoughtful creation of place. Wherever feasible, streetscapes shall include:Attention to aesthetic.Complete streets are beautiful, interesting, and comfortable places for people. The design of a city begins with the design of streets, as a community places where people want to be. As part of the city's public realm, streets shall be held to a higher standard for design at a human scale. Multi-modal accommodations and all city projects in the right- of-way shall be approached as opportunities to enhance the aesthetic qualities of the city through the thoughtful creation of place. Wherever feasible, streetscapes shall include:


(a) Trees;


(b) Native plants;


(c) Landscape architecture elements;


(d) Public art;


(e) Pedestrian amenities;


(f) Parklets;


(g) Wayfinding signage;


(h) Sidewalk cafes and street-facing retail;


(i) Bike racks;


(j) Benches;


(k) Trash and recycling collectors;


(l) Decorative lamp posts;


(m) Welcome signage;


(n) Bricks and pavers for crossings;


(o) Water stations; and


(p) Any other elements that enhance the attractiveness of the city for healthy lifestyles and healthy economic growth.


(D) Guiding resources shall include but not be limited to the:


(1) Indiana Department of Transportation;


(2) INDOT Smart Complete Streets Guidelines;


(3) Documents and plans created for and approved by the city, including, but not limited to, the comprehensive plan and the bicycle and pedestrian master plan;


The city enforcement of ordinance violations on city residents who some may be on fixed incomes, verses the developers who profit from the establishment of housing additions, and residential neighborhoods is very concerning.


Many places throughout the city does not have a sidewalk, and new trash pick-up ordinances can't help but obstruct many sidewalks throughout the city. The resident is forced to put their trash canister out on the sidewalk obstructing the sidewalk to pedestrians especially along 16th Street along the city's eastside.


The new ordinance may have some merit but the City of Bedford is not consistent in enforcing it's ordinance and exempting others from the ordinances it see fit.


We ask the Mayor of Bedford to follow their own recommendations as well as the appointed city boards.


Residents are already feeling the sting of increased taxes, fees and other associated costs passed on from the city's ordinances and proposals we ask that they pass these costs down to the developers who are better equipped to handle these expenditures.


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