Safe Routes to School Informational Meetings
Parents are never at a loss for things to worry about when it comes to their children. Those who recognize the value of physical exercise urge their children to walk or ride their bikes to and from school. Many factors come into play with this line of thinking; weather, distance, and time are a few. One of the major points of concern for parents is for their children to make it safely to and from school.
Three years ago the local North Central Kansas AWARE group began studying the status of safe routes to school. They discovered that in areas where there were no sidewalks, kid walked or rode their bikes in the streets. In areas where sidewalks were crumbling, kids walked or rode their bikes in the streets. They came to a common sense conclusion that if kids had good sidewalks to ride or walk on, they would stay on the sidewalks out of harm’s way. When no good sidewalks were available, kids traveled in the streets thus putting their selves in peril.
After researching possible funding sources to build new sidewalks to provide a safe route for kids to follow to and from school, the group focused on the KDOT- Safe Routes To School grant program. The end result of all this work was for NCK-AWARE being awarded a $200,000 grant to build sidewalks to provide safe pathways for kids to follow to and from school. The City of Beloit added $50,000 worth of General Fund money sweeten the pot.
After considerable scrutiny and evaluation, two routes were selected for State One of the program. It is anticipated that safe sidewalks will need to be built in stages as money becomes available. The first route will begin at 12th and Bell Street at the front door of the elementary school and run east to Popular Street. All sidewalks will be constructed using the Americans With Disabilities Act specifications. Generally the sidewalks will be five feet wide and with a cross slope of no greater than two percent or one quarter inch per foot. Existing driveways will most likely need to have a five foot section cut out and replaced with a surface that meets the ADA specifications.
The second route will begin at Western Avenue on Fourth Street and move to the east in three phases because of funding. Phase one will begin on Western Avenue and go east to Chestnut Street. Phase two begins at Fourth and Chestnut Street and go east to Mill Street. Should funding be available, Phase Three will go from Mill to Walnut Street. All sidewalks on the 12th Street and the 4th Street projects will be constructed on the North Side of the streets.
Two meetings were conducted last night at the City Council Meeting Room to explain the process to interested citizens and to answer any question they had. Engineers Stuart Porter and Haleigh Daugherty from the Schwab-Eaton Engineering firm presented a discussion of the history of the program, the needs discovered from the study and how this plan should address the issues. Twelve to fourteen residents attended the six o’clock meeting concerning the 12th Street project and about sixteen people attended the six-forty five meeting for the 4th Street work.
Porter, Daugherty, and City Administrator Jason Rabe, at the conclusion of the presentation, spent time discussing the project with individuals regarding how their property would be affected.
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