Safe sidewalks planned along Elm Street to downtown Troy

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sidewalks along Elm Street are cracked and shifted, which could be a safety hazard.

Sidewalks along Elm Street are cracked and shifted, which could be a safety hazard.

Crooked, shifted and cracked sidewalks along Elm Street in Troy could get a facelift as early as next summer, providing safe walking access from George Wallace Drive all the way to downtown Troy.

“We are hoping upgrading old and creating new sidewalks leading to the downtown area will aid in the attractiveness of Troy, which will also promote a safer environment and healthier lifestyle for our residents while also assisting in economic development,” said Melissa Sanders, the city’s planning and zoning administrator.

A grant made available a few years ago allowed for sidewalks to be updated and created in a continuous path on George Wallace Drive linking U.S. Highway 231 to Troy University. The Elm Street project would also be made possible because of a grant.

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Sanders said the city is in the process of completing an application for a Transportation Alternatives Program Grant. The possible $500,000 amount would provide money to update and create sidewalks on Elm Street from the intersection of Brundidge Street to the intersection at College Drive on the south side of the road, and to the intersection of Academy Street on the north side of the road. The design for the project includes concrete sidewalks with brick pavers and a stamped Trojan head at intersection ramps.

“Elm Street is one of our areas that has a lot of foot traffic,” said Vaughn Daniels, Troy’s Public Works director. “That includes people walking for their health, from the university and school kids, as well.”

Daniels said the sidewalks along most of Elm Street have been in place for a long time and were picked for the project based on the amount of travel they receive and their disrepair.

Grant applications are due June 28 and Sanders said it usually takes about three months for the Alabama Department of Transportation to award grants. If the city were to receive funding, there is a two-year deadline to complete the project.

But the sidewalk project is also part of a bigger picture, Daniels noted.

“It is part of the revitalization of downtown as well as the beautification of the streets leading downtown, making them more appealing to us as a community,” Daniels said.

Sanders echoed that thought.

“This is just one of the goals of the city’s Comprehensive Master Plan under downtown revitalization, which is the expansion of downtown toward Troy University, including redevelopment of important sites and adding sidewalks and greenway to create a University/City District.”

If the city does not receive the grant, Sanders said planners would continue to seek funding from other sources. And there will certainly be more pedestrian improvements around the city. The city has submitted another grant application for Transportation Enhancement Grant funds to replace several sidewalks downtown so they are ADA compliant.

“The hope is for Troy to improve and increase sidewalks everywhere,” Daniels said.

Application for the TAP requires a public meeting that is scheduled at 10 a.m. on June 18. The meeting is open to everyone.