Rocky Fork Enterprise

Two public meetings set to discuss Safe Routes to Schools

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Two public meetings will be held next month to discuss Safe Routes to School (SRTS), with the first scheduled for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at Gahanna City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road.

The meetings will center on the installation of sidewalks and other aspects involving connectivity to schools, businesses, parks, facilities and activities.

City engineer Karl Wetherholt told ThisWeek the meetings would be in an open-house style, with the Dec. 1 meeting focusing on Jefferson Elementary School, which includes the Shull Avenue and Heil Drive portion of the project.

Some residents have indicated they don’t want sidewalks on Shull, Wetherholt said.

The second meeting will be held Dec. 15 to discuss the remaining parts of the SRTS project.

Officials from Gahanna and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), which administers the federally funded Safe Routes to School program, will be available to answer questions and take input about the project during both of the meetings.

In a recent report to Gahanna City Council, city service director Dottie Franey said the city continually strives to meet the needs of the community and increase safety whenever possible.

Over the years, residents have indicated in public surveys and meetings that connectivity to parks, facilities, schools, businesses and community activities are of high importance to the growth of the community and quality of life. The Gahanna Parks and Recreation Department requested the federal SRTS grant on behalf of four Gahanna schools.

Herb Ligocki, SRTS coordinator for ODOT District 6, told ThisWeek Gahanna was awarded $499,000 in May 2010 for infrastructure improvements at Lincoln and Jefferson elementary schools, Gahanna Middle School East and Gahanna Middle School West.

The SRTS plan includes various enhancements as follows:

ãJefferson Elementary School: Construct sidewalks on Heil Drive and Shull Avenue; move the 20-mph school-zone sign 300 feet east of the school property; and install a crosswalk on Heil Drive at Shull.

ã Middle School East: Install bike racks; realign a path to Venetian Way; and complete the sidewalk on Beecher Road to Hamilton Road.

ã Middle School West: Add a pedestrian crossing on Stygler Road at Coronation; move the 20-mph school-zone sign 300 feet south of the school property; install an on-site walking path around the parking lot on the west side; install bike racks; and install a “No Turn on Red” sign at the Stygler-McCutcheon intersection.

ã Lincoln Elementary School: Move the 20-mph school-zone sign 300 feet east on Havens Corners Road; install a bike lane on Rocky Fork Boulevard, from Landover to Hamilton Road; install a crosswalk on Landover at Meadow Green Circle; extend the sidewalk from Meadow Green Circle into the School property; and install bike racks.

Edie Charles, an ODOT District 6 staffer, said a grant of $96,450 also was awarded to Gahanna on Jan. 26 for non-infrastructure items related to the SRTS program. Those funds are to be used as follows: safety vests and flashlights, $6,000; improved safety signage, $6,000; educational materials, $2,850; consulting services, $32,400; training for staff curriculum and best practices, $18,000; miscellaneous office supplies, $6,000; safety giveaway items, $21,000; and a bike rodeo, $4,200.

For updates about SRTS, information will be provided on the city’s website at gahanna.gov.

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