City of Helena discussing sidewalks

Posted at 9:34 AM, Nov 04, 2022

HELENA — The City of Helena held an administrative meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss the state of the city sidewalks and associated programs.

“This meeting was an opportunity to discuss where we are. But moving forward we are very interested in learning about some additional perspectives throughout the community, what folks would like to see us prioritize in terms of sidewalk installation and then options to pay for that,” says City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem, Emily Dean.

Sidewalks in Helena have been a part of the public discussion for multiple years.

The meeting’s agenda included discussion of policy, city code, funding, and enforcement.

The Transportation Systems Department presented options to the City Commission to study in order to address citywide sidewalk needs. City staff from Public Works, Finance, Community Development, and City Attorney’s teams were included in the meeting.

“Having safe sidewalk networks throughout the community not only promotes healthy lifestyles, but also helps people get to where they need to go whether that's for recreation, work, or a walk around the block,” says Dean.

Some ideas presented were expanding a current sidewalk program and sidewalk improvement districts. Dean also wanted to encourage the community to give their input.

While nothing was decided at the meeting, it was a good opportunity for all parties involved to get a better understanding of where things have been, where they’re at, and to begin considering where the city can go.

“So, the next steps will include the staff coming back to the commission with the answers to some of those questions that were posed: what are cost estimates; what solutions, getting more details of what the solutions could look like; what are other communities around the state doing...” says Dean.