New sidewalks near Linden Elementary will help Hamilton student safety

The city of Hamilton has won more than $367,000 for new sidewalks that will make it safer for Linden Elementary students to walk to and from school, and to parks in Hamilton’s Lindenwald neighborhood.

New sidewalks are to be installed on both sides of Van Hook Avenue, from Hoadley to Hayes avenues, around mid-2022 to mid-2023, when the state funds become available. Van Hook is the main north-south street students use.

There are gaps in the sidewalks, forcing children to walk in the street, which also connects people to two parks.

The project also will include crosswalks, signs and new curbs ramps.

A rectangular rapid-flashing beacon also will be installed at St. Clair Avenue, with the grant that was the first Safe Routes to School money Hamilton has received in more than five years.

“The grant will greatly improve the sidewalk conditions for our Linden Elementary School students and families,” said Joni Copas, spokeswoman for the city school district. “Not only does Linden have a large walking population but there are many students who ride their bicycles to school as well. When this project is completed, it will safely connect the entire neighborhood.”

ExploreMORE: Hamilton, parks workers create physical-distance outdoor spaces

The city plans to apply for more funding next year to extend the sidewalks along Van Hook from Hayes to Fairview Avenue. Hamilton officials now are completing an “Active Transportation Plan” that will identify additional projects throughout the city for which the city also may apply for grants at that time, said Director of Planning Liz Hayden.

“Active transportation” means non-automotive transportation, such as bicycle paths and sidewalks.

Hayden said city Planning and Zoning Specialist Larry Bagford attended meetings of every active neighborhood association in January and February to collect public input on areas that people wanted to see improved, so more state grants can be sought. The city and school district had worked on the grant application for more than a year, Hayden said.

ExploreRELATED: Hamilton effort spotlights ‘sunny’ things in the city during dark days

“The cost to do new sidewalks, new paths, new roads is so much more than people think it is,” Hayden said. “That is the struggle, and we’re really grateful the state has such a generous program.”

Chad Konkle, assistant schools superintendent, said the district values the partnership with the city, and, “We look forward to many future partnerships with the City, to continue to move our city and school district forward.”

Under the state grant, the Ohio Department of Transportation did not require a local match from Hamilton, allowing city staff time in managing the project to count as Hamilton’s contribution.

Active Transportation Plan

  • Hamilton, with the help of consultants provided free of charge by the state, is creating an "Active Transportation Plan."
  • "Active Transportation" are non-automotive ways of getting around, such as bicycle paths and sidewalks.
  • To receive Ohio grants for such projects, Hamilton needs to create the active transportation plan.
  • Aside from the obvious safety advantage of not having children walking to school on Van Hook Avenue itself, where sidewalks are lacking, one advantage of active transportation modes, said Hamilton Planning Director Liz Hayden, is, "It's going to hopefully increase the percentage of kids that walk to school, which is a great, kind-of-secret way to keep kids healthy and moving."

About the Author