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Vital Streets Dashboard  
On February 11, 2014, the City Commission adopted Vital Street and Sidewalk Investment Guidelines to ensure that revenue from the income tax continuation is only spent as promised.  The Vital Streets Oversight Commission​ will report actual expenditures and results to the City Commission and the public each year.

Vital Streets Definitions:


Vital Streets = Complete Streets plus Green Infrastructure

Complete Streets are accessible, safe, functional, and attractive providing mobility that serves the entire community; contribute to the livability of neighborhoods and businesses; and increases economic opportunity for citizens, visitors, and businesses.

Green infrastructure builds streets with nature; using vegetation, soils, and engineering to protect and restore our water system, providing functional aesthetics, and promoting our green canopy to create healthier urban environments.

Vital Streets have a stable, multi-faceted funding strategy that provides for management, maintenance and preservation of the investment.


Types of Streets:

Major, FAU (Federal Aid Urban) Street - A street in an urban area eligible for federal assistance under Title 23 of the U.S. Code. These streets are essential for getting to work or home, and traveling to and from business districts and commerce. They move more people, visitors and goods than other streets. There are 156 miles of FAU streets in the City.

Major, Non-FAU (Federal AID Urban) Street - A major or Collector street not eligible for Federal Aid, Non-FAU Major Streets serve as critical connectors between FAU streets and Local Streets. There are 48 miles of Non-FAU streets in the City.

Neighborhood/Local Streets - These streets provide access to property and host our homes. They support our quality of life and make a neighborhood better - or worse. Over 2/3 of Grand Rapids total street system is made up of neighborhood streets (384 miles out of a total 588 miles).


Types of Road Construction Repair Techniques:

The selection process to determine street priority and type of treatment is very scientific and based upon the PASER (Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating) rating and on the perceived existing condition of the sub-surface utilities, i.e. is the sub-grade adequate? do the water mains and/or sanitary sewer or storm systems need replacement? Engineers consider all of these factors prior to making these types of decisions.


Cape Seal Process: (Cape Seal)

Major and Local streets receive this treatment in an effort to preserve each for approximately 7-10 years. The treatment consists of placing a 1/2" asphalt micro-surface over an existing asphalt street. The process generally takes less than one day to complete. The contractor performing the work must place notifications at the affected residences 24-hours before work begins informing residents that they cannot drive on the new material until it has hardened and dried. This typically takes several hours. Prior to Cape Sealing, the Public Services Department will patch potholes and spray patch (hot emulsion and stone application) failing areas of the street to place a lower level of protection below the new Cape Seal surface to protect the investment. Sweeping the entire street follows this, and then the contractor applies the Cape Seal at a later date.

Hot Asphalt wedging Process: (Temporary Paving)

This treatment typically involves placing an inch of Hot Asphalt materials over badly fatigued and failing areas prone to pothole development. This application limits pothole development and holds the road together for a few more years until more significant work can be accomplished.

Hot Asphalt Overlay Process: (Resurfacing)

This process involves placing a new hot asphalt surface over the entire street or possibly just the driving lanes in some cases. These processes hold a street together for approximately 7-10 years when the street receives a new 1 to 1 1/2" overlay curb to curb.

Mill and Fill:

A mill and fill removes (milling) the existing asphalt surface and adds (filling) a 1 1/2" overlay, preserving the street for approximately an additional 10-15 years. Then a 3" mill and fill is applied, with the hope of increasing the life cycle of the road up to 20 years.  After the removal of asphalt, the surface is thoroughly swept and adjustments made to the structure before or after the placement of the new asphalt.

Crack Sealing:

This process involves placing a 3-inch wide hot asphalt seal over a visible crack in the asphalt or concrete. Applied crack sealing keeps as much water out of the subgrade as possible. Stress cracks can appear as soon as one year after a street is rebuilt. This is not unusual in the type of environment we experience in the Great Lakes region. This preventative maintenance measure provides water protection. It does not provide any structure improvement to the pavement.