Walking or riding a bicycle to school will soon be safer near several Keller schools.Construction is underway to add more sidewalks as the first project of Safe Routes to School kicked off, with crews working near Bear Creek Intermediate School on Bear Creek Parkway at Apache Trail. Work is expected to begin next week on Gloria Street.Safe Routes to School is a program that began in 2008 when city staff, Keller ISD staff and parents identified areas around elementary and intermediate schools in need of sidewalks.To make walking and biking safer, more than 7,000 linear feet of sidewalk and trail is being added at Shady Grove Elementary; Indian Springs Middle and South Keller Intermediate; Bear Creek Intermediate; and Keller Middle and Keller Harvel Elementary.Keith Fisher, city engineer, said having more sidewalks will encourage those who had previously not been walking and biking to school, to do so.In June, City Council approved a $452,418.11 bid with C. Green Scaping, LP of Fort Worth to handle construction.Work was set to begin in July but was delayed because of paperwork and additional approvals needed from Texas Department of Transportation, Fisher said.In October 2008 Council approved a plan and city engineering staff sent a grant application to the TxDOT in November 2009.The grant was approved in May 2010 as part of a $54.1 million package by the Texas Transportation Commission to fund 200 projects in more than 70 communities.No city money is being used for construction, with federal funding in the amount of $443,658 and an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to fill the $8,760.11 gap.“We hope that these incoming sidewalks and trails will be successful in making walking and biking to campus safer and more appealing to our school children as well as assist in reducing traffic and air pollution around our school,” said Rachel Reynolds, communications specialist. “Every section of sidewalk and trail we build also contributes to the overall off-road connectivity of our community, which provides important access for our residents and encourages physical activity.”City officials have provided a proposed schedule of the work, which is expected to be complete next spring. Bear Creek Intermediate School• Bear Creek Pkwy./Apache Trail: mid-September through mid-October• Gloria Street: October Indian Springs Middle School• Willis Lane: mid-October through early November Keller Middle School• Blue Stem Avenue: November• Bart Street: Nov. mid-November through late November• Lorine Street: mid-November through late November Keller Harvel Elementary School• Charles Street: mid-November through early December• Jessie Street: mid-November through early December Shady Grove Elementary School• South Keller-Smithfield Road: early December through mid-January• Shady Grove Road: January• Sarah Brooks Drive: February• Village Trail: mid-February through late February South Keller Intermediate School• Whitley Road: March For more information, visit www.cityofkeller.com/saferoutes.
Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1