Thursday, March 3, 2016
By Denise Dick
The Ohio Department of Transportation has approved the city’s Safe Routes to Schools Travel Plan, and grants to fund improvements for McGuffey and Williamson school areas are next on the agenda.
City council Wednesday approved two ordinances regarding the plan.
One authorizes the city’s board of control to apply for a $375,000 grant from ODOT for safe routes funding for the William Holmes McGuffey and Williamson elementary schools.
“It will add sidewalks around the schools and crosswalk at Williamson [Avenue] and Market Street and new pedestrian crossing signage” at that intersection, said Tom Hetrick, neighborhood planner at the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Agency.
Some streets around McGuffey don’t include sidewalks so those will be installed. Signage will be added as well as flashing school zone lighting and bike racks at both schools, he said.
A second ordinance approved Wednesday seeks $30,000 from ODOT to fund a two-year, part-time safe routes to school coordinator.
Hetrick said the city will do some work around the schools including some engineering work, signage and crosswalk striping.
The citywide Routes to Schools Travel Plan was developed by YNDC in cooperation with the city and the city schools.
It identifies four priority schools: Taft, McGuffey, Williamson and Harding elementary schools.
Taft was the pilot project, selected first because a majority of its students, 82 percent, live within a mile of the school.
The city received a $200,000 grant through Ohio’s Safe Routes to School program for improvements around that school. That work is expected to be completed next year.
Hetrick said the city already has funding for work surrounding Harding awarded through an Eastgate Regional Council of Governments program.
The plan’s approval allows the city to submit grants to fund the Safe Routes projects.