Austin’s Safe Routes to School program was funded through the city’s 2016 Mobility Bond, with $27.5 million earmarked for work to make walking or biking to school easier and safer for Austin students.
Over the past year, the program has also already finished South Austin projects for students at Odom Elementary School, Baldwin Elementary School, Patton Elementary School, Small Middle School and Becker Elementary School in Austin ISD, as well and Del Valle Elementary School and Del Valle Middle School in Del Valle ISD, Pubic Works spokesperson Carolynn Calabrese told Community Impact Newspaper.
The following schools have or will see projects to improve transportation to campuses this spring:
- St. Elmo Elementary School: The city is planning to install a new sidewalk on the south side of St. Elmo Road from Mt. Vernon Drive to South Third Street. The intersection of St. Elmo and Vinson Drive will also have a tightened radius to slow traffic and increase safety, and a new pedestrian crosswalk will be placed on St. Elmo at James Casey Drive. Also, spot road repairs will take place on St. Elmo near James Casey and the school parking lot. The work at St. Elmo Elementary is expected to begin soon, Calabrese said.
- Kiker Elementary School: Sidewalk ramp improvements will be made at each corner of the intersection of Escarpment Boulevard and La Crosse Avenue, while a new crosswalk and curb extension will be placed on Dalhgreen Avenue at the Kiker Elementary driveway. Similar to St. Elmo Elementary, Calabrese said the city is preparing to start construction on the projects.
- Bedichek Middle School: A project installing new street lighting at the intersection of South First Street and Eberhart Lane was completed in April. Safe Routes To School also completed three sidewalk projects for Bedichek students in February.
- Allison Elementary School: Currently under construct in Southeast Austin, Safe Routes to School is building new sidewalks on the east side of Thrasher Lane and the south side of Lynch Lane. A new sidewalk is also being built on Vargas Lane from Lynch to the current sidewalk at US 183 in partnership with the city of Austin’s Sidewalk Program.
- Travis Heights Elementary School: In South Central Austin, the existing sidewalk at Alameda Drive just north of the Travis Heights Elementary entrance is being replaced on the west side of the street, in partnership with the city’s sidewalk program and the sidewalk rehabilitation program. A new sidewalk is also being built at the south side of East Live Oak Street, with spot repairs on the north sidewalk from Travis Heights Boulevard to Schriber Street.
The city’s Safe Routes to School team also released a final report and list of recommendations for additional projects in the city that could be eligible for funding through the problem. Although the program only has some of the $27.5 million still available, the city recognized 4,654 recommended projects with a cost estimate of over $825 million.
Between South Austin City Council districts 2, 3, 5 and 8, there were a total of 1,759 recommended improvements in the final report. Specific projects to fund from the list of recommendations have not yet been selected by the city.