ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene City Council will meet Thursday, and among the topics discussed will be the possible addition of 5-foot-wide sidewalks from Pioneer Drive to Barrow on South 14th Street, and from West Stamford Street to Ambler Avenue running down Old Anson Road.
The two projects would be funded through a Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) program designed to provide easy access for non-motorized traffic in Texas cities.
With a combined cost of $2,359,254 TXDOT would cover 80%, leaving only 20%, or $471,851 in matching funds from the city.
That money would come from the unused 2015 street improvement bond proceeds that were earmarked for sidewalks, meaning no increased cost to the taxpayer.
“We’re basically trying to make that few hundred thousand dollars into a couple million dollars,” said Abilene Public Works Director Greg McCaffery.
The areas in question cover residential, recreational, commercial, and school zones.
“We know a large number of individuals that travel that particular route, because if you go out there today you’ll see a beaten down path along the edge of the road,” says McCaffery.
These dirt and grass trails aren’t always an issue for the able bodied, but during inclement weather, some areas become almost unusable.
“When we get inclement weather, individuals have a tendency to start walking in the street and that’s not a safe condition for anybody,” said McCaffery.
Compliance with ADA standards is also playing a heavy role in the development of these sidewalks, ensuring that all Abilenians can get where they’re going.
Should the vote pass on Thursday, City manager Robert Hanna will file applications with TxDOT to move these two streets to the next stage of the program. Approval from TxDOT will begin the design process for the sidewalks.
If approved and selected by TxDOT, construction is expected to begin in early 2022.