“Several years ago the city [conducted] a master park and pathway plan, so this is basically fulfilling that plan,” Director of Public Works Byron Bevers said.
Not all of the city’s planned sidewalks will be complete under the existing pathway plan, but most will be finished by the end of 2016. The project includes two pathways in design by developers and five more that will be built by developers in the future, Bevers said. The city has identified more than 10 pathways that will be built in the future.
Crafted years ago, the city’s master sidewalk plan was written with an effort to preserve trees, City Administrator Greg Smith said.
“We take into account obstacles, driveways, trees and other aesthetic issues that can come up with designing them [to be] as least obtrusive as they can be, but still provide biking and walking access,” Smith said. “If we can save a large tree, we do.”
The pathway project will be paid for by three entities: the city, the municipal development district and private developers. Bevers said developers have agreed to fund planned sidewalks if the pathway is adjacent to the development.
For example, in front of the Ethan Allen furniture store on the I-45 feeder road is a short sidewalk installed by the developer that will connect to other sidewalks installed by the city at a later date, Smith said.
“We will not allow a development to come in that does not put in sidewalks,” Smith said. “We make them do it. It’s one of our requirements.”
The new pathways will help area businesses by providing pedestrian access, Bevers said.
Bevers said the pathways are intended for nonmotorized use including walking, bicycling, strollers and rollerblading.
“The goal for all the sidewalks in Shenandoah is to provide an additional means of travel,” Smith said. “Additional means to have family recreation and to allow our residents and our visitors to get from point A to point B without having to get in a vehicle.”
“We want our residents to have a safe place to walk, enjoy the exercise and enjoy the beauty and amenities this community offers,” he said.