New sidewalks on Hamilton street crucial for safety of students who walk to school, city says

Grant application zeros in on Grand Boulevard’s lack of pedestrian crossing signal.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Hamilton continues to look for ways to make it safer for pedestrians, especially kids walking to and from school.

Later this month, Hamilton City Council is expected to vote on a resolution for the city to apply for another Safe Route to School grant.

Planning Director Liz Hayden said there is a need for new sidewalks on Grand Boulevard, as the road near the eastern city limits does not have them.

“Also, there is not a signalized place for pedestrians to cross Grand, which is really important because we have Crawford Elementary on one side, Garfield Middle School on the other side, and the Boys and Girls Clubs,” Hayden said.

The 100% reimbursable grant goes up to $500,000 but the estimated cost will exceed that by about $12,000, Hayden said.

“While typically there’s no cost to the city, there is some direct cost to the city in this case,” she said. “There’s also the staff time in implementing the project.”

The Safe Routes to School program is a state-based program that provides resources, technical assistance and funding for projects that encourage and enable K-12 students to walk or ride bikes to school. Funds could be used for either infrastructure or non-infrastructure projects and programs.

The program is annually funded at $5 million for projects. For infrastructure projects like what Hamilton has done, it awards up to $500,000 for projects that are within 2 miles of schools serving K-12 students, and costs cover all phases, including preliminary engineering, detailed design, right-of-way acquisition, construction, and construction engineering.

“We have done so well with that safe routes money,” Moeller said at last week’s city council meeting. “Neighborhoods all across our city, and this is an excellent one to work on next.”

Hamilton has consistently been allocated this grant at or near the maximum award level. The city’s received it four times in recent years, including twice for projects supporting Linden Elementary and once for a project supporting Ridgeway Elementary .

Van Hook Avenue, which supports Linden, is complete pending some pavement markings and punch list items to be done, and Wasserman Road, which supports Ridgeway, will be under construction this spring. Last year, the city was awarded a Safe Routes to School grant that directly supports Crawford Elementary but that won’t happen until spring 2026.

If the city wins this new Safe Routes to School grant for Grand Boulevard, the funds would not be available for a few years.

About 40% of Crawford Elementary students and about 30% of Garfield Middle students either walk or bike to school, and Superintendent Mike Hollbrook said this would give the elementary school students a shorter walk to and from school.

Hayden said there are at least four more projects the city is looking at as possible good fits for the Safe Routes to School grant. She said North B Street and some sidewalks near Brookwood Elementary “are high on our radar,” but there are several other projects they’d like to address.”

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