LINCOLN SQUARE — Ever wonder why there aren't pedestrian countdown signals at every intersection?
Because they cost $14,000.
Coveted left-turn signals are even more expensive, at $70,000, which is a downright bargain compared with the $150,000 tab for a green alley.
As aldermen weigh how to spend their $1.32 million in discretionary money — a decision some aldermen put to a constituent vote — we took a look at what the city charges for infrastructure projects allowed under the program.
A million bucks sounds like a lot of cash and it is — if all your ward needs is a fresh coat of paint on its streetlight poles: $300 each.
Guardrails are another affordable option at $550 for every 10 feet. But they come with a caveat from the city: "Guardrails can become a target for graffiti and loitering."
Those are just the appetizers.
More significant repairs add up quickly: $75,000 to replace a block of crumbling sidewalk; $31,500 for alley resurfacing (more if the alley is concrete); and $80,000 for a single block of curb and gutter replacement.
What if an alderman wants to go beyond basic maintenance and make some actual improvements?
Truly protected bike lanes, which physically separate cyclists from auto traffic, are among the priciest items, at $125,000 per half mile. Five miles would eat up an entire year's discretionary budget.
But the biggest ticket item — the equivalent of ordering the lobster, if you will — is Dickens Village-style ornamental lighting, at $195,000 per block.
That's before tax and tip.
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