· Our streets need to be safe for pedestrians and bicyclists and encourage patrons to frequent local businesses.· This includes reducing speed limits and adding bike lanes on streets like Indian River Road, especially when they pass through residential area and shopping areas.· We also need to allow experiments with traffic calming measures to make side streets safer.· Architectural guidelines (like the Great Bridge Village Design Guidelines) should be established across the city. Better code enforcement on signage and landscaping will also help improve the visual appeal and quality of life in our communities.
· The older sections of the city suffer from a multi-year maintenance backlog for our aging infrastructure, including street pavement, storm sewers and ditches, water systems, sanitary sewers, and pump stations.· The city must also address the on-going quality and safety issues related to the Aqua Virginia system in the Indian River area.· To assure the continued health and vitality of our existing neighborhoods, the resource allocation for this upkeep must be considered before allocating resources for further expansion, particularly when the new expansion will ultimately add to the maintenance backlog.· For Capital Projects, the funding to upkeep existing facilities should generally be given precedence, particularly over the expensive roadway expansion.
· The coming decade will likely see more store closings and vacancies in our strip shopping centers, big box storefronts, and malls.· Old strip shopping centers, like Indian River Shopping Center, are already failing and becoming a blight on their community.· The city needs to look at repurposing these lands, perhaps rezoning them for mixed used redevelopment that combines apartments, condos, and businesses on a single site, as was typical in traditional cities. This would bring residents and business together and encourage new service oriented business such as markets, cafes, and restaurants.
· Expanding infrastructure has immediate costs (even if initially underwritten by the developer) and becomes a long term maintenance liability for the city.· The lower the density and the farther from the “urban overlay” of the city, the higher the infrastructure cost per household and the more likely that these costs exceed the tax revenue collected.· When reviewing new development projects, the city should carefully consider these long term costs. Proposed projects that indicate a negative fiscal outcome during their first decade should be looked at with particular concern.
· improving water quality through efforts such as the Eastern Branch Restoration Plan· adequately funding our Urban Forestry Plan to increase the city tree canopy· supporting efforts to switch to Renewable Energy - both at the residential and utility scale - and improving energy efficiency across the city.· revitalizing city parks and protecting green spaces, and· protecting and fostering our city's wetlands for the vital services they provide in water quality and flood protection.