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Sunday, May 21, 2017

After 8 years, Crossville's Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk grant finally nearing completion.

Discussions of sidewalks along Fourth Street and Myrtle Avenue first started some 8 years ago but after a long and winding road, those sidewalks are partly completed and the community will get the benefit.

The first discussion by the Crossville city council of the safe routes to schools grant was in March of 2009 when the application for the grant was approved by action of the council.

It has taken the intervening 8 years and numerous council discussions and grant extensions by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to get the program to where it is today. Sidewalks along Fourth St. past Cumberland County High School have been completed and work is currently being done on sidewalks along Myrtle Avenue. Myrtle Avenue was the most difficult part of the project because it became necessary for the city to purchase additional right of way and pay to have utilities moved before the final design could be approved by TDOT. Several fits and starts put the funding at risk and TDOT gave two additional extensions on the program after giving one they called the absolute final extension.

Sidewalks along Fourth St. have
been completed. This is near the intersection
with Myrtle Ave.

Sidewalks along Myrtle Ave.
are under construction now.

On Friday May 19 kids at Martin Elementary School participated in bicycle safety training provided as part of the grant. The kids learned about helmets, how to ride safely and proper bicycle sizes too.  

Martin Elementary 3rd and 4th grade students
learn bicycle safety.

The state TDOT website describes the SRTS program as follows. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federally-funded program focusing on the benefits of ​children walking and biking to school. Its programs aim to improve safety for children and the community and provide opportunities to increase physical activity. A model program integrates health, fitness, traffic relief, environmental awareness, and safety under one program. Bringing together a diverse group of people to identify issues and find ways to improve walking and biking conditions is the core of a successful SRTS program.

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