Town receives Safe Routes to School grant
By Rudy Hemmann
On Monday morning March 4, 2019, Town Administrator Chris Kirk sat for an interview to answer questions concerning plans for the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) project and grant-funding which made the project feasible.
According to Kirk the project will require renovation of existing sidewalks along the proposed SRTS route, as well as the street crossings, be made ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.
“The caveat with SRTS funds is that (the town) can’t use the money to build pedestrian facilities for high schools,” Kirk stated. “It only applies to elementary and middle schools, which is kind of nice for us because the elementary and middle schools are all in a line north to south, within a couple of blocks of each other.”
Kirk continued, “A big part of the push was to get a connection from Mary’s Farm and the neighborhoods on the east side of the railroad tracks with one consistent pathway all the way to Ivy Stockwell, Turner Middle School and Berthoud Elementary.”
He indicated most of the effort and money would be spent on Welch (Avenue) and Second Street.
“Where there is current sidewalk that does not meet current town standards or ADA guidelines, we will rip those out and replace (the existing sidewalk),” said Kirk. He stated most of the existing sidewalks are not compliant (too narrow, not properly sloped, trip hazards, etc.) and will need to be replaced. Kirk also noted there ere areas where no sidewalk currently exists.
“The idea is to get kids off of First Street for two reasons; one, First Street is too narrow to accommodate a sidewalk on the west side, and there is an irrigation ditch that would add cost due to burying the ditch,” said Kirk.
He also noted Second Street is less heavily traveled.
The proposed plan is to cross First Street at the Indiana Avenue pedestrian crossing, continue west to Second Street, proceed north along the east side of Second Street to Mountain Avenue. Head west, crossing Second Street and continue west along the south side of Mountain Avenue. Cross the railroad tracks to reach Third Street. Proceed south on the east side of Third Street to Welch Avenue. Cross Welch Avenue and head west along the south side of Welch Avenue to Eighth Street. Kids can break out at Fifth Street to get to Ivy Stockwell, proceed west to Eighth Street and use pedestrian crossings on Mountain Avenue to get to Turner Middle School or head north to Berthoud Elementary.
Kirk indicated there will eventually be a north/south backbone to serve the three schools mentioned above.
During general discussion of grant funding and sidewalk maintenance, he reported flagstone sidewalks are difficult to make compliant and to maintain once they are made compliant. With regard to kids who want to ride bicycles to school, Kirk stated he thought the streets were wide enough to accommodate a three-foot-wide bike lane.
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