The grant will be used to upgrade and improve sidewalks primarily around South Street and Coffee Street, and will benefit students at the Alabama School for the Blind, Alabama School for the Deaf, Graham Elementary School and Zora Ellis Junior High School.
In addition to improving existing sidewalks and crosswalks, the plan involves putting in new sidewalks on Astrid Place and Johnson Street, connecting Coffee and South Streets, and raised crosswalks over South Street at Elm Street and Asbury Street over South Street.
Detectable warning panels will also be placed at several intersections. It also includes curb cuts that comply with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
City Manager Brian Muenger said, “I would like to thank Dr. Terry Graham and his staff at AIDB for their partnership during the development of this application. This funding will greatly improve the safety of areas surrounding the AIDB campus and will hopefully encourage more pedestrian traffic in the area. Improving pedestrian walkways within our community is a necessity, especially in areas dense with visually impaired individuals.”
Muenger added, “I’m immensely pleased that ALDOT saw merit in the application and I look forward to seeing the project advance. Long-term, I would like to see additional improvements that will make the city more accommodating to the visually impaired.”
He pointed out that South Street’s sidewalks have never been adequate to accommodate traffic not only from the schools but also the public library and a fairly dense residential area. “Especially with the raised crosswalks, it will make the area seem more residential and less of an alternative route to Battle Street.”
In a letter to the state Department of Transportation supporting the grant application, Graham wrote, “AIDB is excited to partner with the city in pursuit of infrastructure funds through the Safe Routes to Schools program. Two of our main campuses (ASD and ASB) are located in a highly residential and well traveled section of the city. Given the residential nature of our schools, every day at AIDB is a ‘walk to school day’ in some way, shape or fashion. These specific streets are also the training ground for orientation and mobility classes for our students who are blind, as they learn to be independent and travel these sidewalks on the streets of Talladega.”
Bids for the project will be let April 1, 2013, with work set to begin June 1, 2013. The project should be complete by Aug. 1, 2013.
Contact Chris Norwood at email@example.com.