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Photo by Jon Anderson.
Janet Riddle and her son, Joel Riddle, take a stroll on sidewalks in The Preserve.
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Old Columbiana Road
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Ross Bridge Parkway
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Cahaba Riverchase Greenway
Alex and Gay Cotten love to take their dogs out for a stroll on the sidewalks in Hoover’s Bluff Park community.
They have done it almost every day since moving to Bluff Park from Altadena in September, Alex Cotten said.
While they’re out walking, they encounter parents pushing baby strollers and people on bicycles, scooters and skates, they said.
“That’s what we want to see,” Gay Cotten said.
They think the new sidewalks in Bluff Park have been a great addition, helping them get to know their neighbors better.
“I think that’s the kind of stuff that brings that younger market in,” Alex Cotten added.
New Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato also is a big fan of sidewalks and said expanding the city’s sidewalk network is an important part of his vision for the city.
“Sidewalks just change the dynamic of a neighborhood,” Brocato said.
In the past, the city has relied heavily on federal funds for sidewalk projects because the federal government will pay 80 percent of the cost for qualifying projects.
But the federal approval process typically takes years, so Brocato said he’s asking city staff to look for projects the city can tackle on its own — and more quickly.
The city already has one such project in the works, approved by the previous City Council in September. The city is beginning a project to widen Old Columbiana Road between Patton Chapel Road and Deo Dara Drive to make it a standard-size city street and add curbs and gutters, said Tim Westhoven, the city’s chief operations officer.
That project, in front of Green Valley Elementary School, also will include connecting the sidewalk on Patton Chapel Road with the one on Deo Dara Drive that now stops at Star Lake Drive, Westhoven said. The project covers about half a mile and is costing the city $882,026. All the money is coming from the city.
The previous City Council also in July approved an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation to update the city’s bicycle and pedestrian master plan. The plan was last updated in 1999. Updating the plan will cost $250,000, with the federal government picking up $200,000 of that, Westhoven said.
The city has been waiting on ALDOT to approve the consultant the city wants to use, but Westhoven said he hopes that plan update can begin soon.
The city this past year completed a 1-mile sidewalk on Preserve Parkway between Sulphur Springs Road and the Preserve Town Center and 3,200 feet of sidewalks on Lester Lane and Cloudland Drive in Bluff Park near Bluff Park Elementary School.
Another 1-mile sidewalk on Ross Bridge Parkway between Alabama 150 and Deer Valley Elementary School also was added, costing about $1 million, Westhoven said.
Jordan Crouch, who lives in the Ashby Apartments at Ross Bridge, said he loves the new sidewalk addition.
He runs along Ross Bridge Parkway four to five times a week, and the sidewalk makes it safer, he said.
“You don’t have to dodge cars,” Crouch said. “It gets a little scary sometimes.”
There are numerous other sidewalk or trail projects already in the works, with the federal government picking up 80 percent of the cost on most if not all the projects.
Here’s an update on some of those projects, according to Westhoven:
CHAPEL ROAD SIDEWALK EXTENSION
► Location: Between Park Avenue and Stone Brook Parkway
► Length: About a mile
► Cost: Estimated $800,000
► Status: ALDOT just gave permission for the city to start acquiring 12-15 easements, which should take another five to eight months; construction should start in eight to 11 months.
WISTERIA SIDEWALK RECONSTRUCTION
► Location: Near the intersections of Monte D’Oro Drive and Monte Verde Circle
► Length: About 500 feet
► Cost: Undetermined
► Status: May be bid out in next couple of months.
CAHABA RIVERCHASE GREENWAY
► Location: Off-road trail off Old Montgomery Highway between the Cahaba River and Riverchase Elementary
► Length: About half a mile
► Cost: $500,000
► Status: Slight delay due to endangered bat species in the area; city hopes to start construction this spring.
PATTON CHAPEL ROAD SIDEWALK
► Location: Between Gwin Elementary School and Crayrich Drive
► Length: 1 mile
► Cost: Estimated $6.1 million
► Status: Part of a road widening and intersection improvement project being managed by Jefferson County; had been slated to begin in June 2015 but ran into delays; right-of-way acquisition is complete; county hopes to award a bid this spring.
BLUFF PARK SIDEWALKS
► Location: New sidewalks on Valley Street, Tyler Road, Cloudland Drive, Savoy Street and Clearview Drive
► Length: 1.4 miles
► Cost: Estimated $990,000
► Status: Right-of-way acquisition should take another year, and construction should take nine to 12 months after that.
VALLEYDALE ROAD SIDEWALK
► Location: Between Caldwell Mill Road and Inverness Center Drive
► Length: 3.5 miles
► Cost: Estimated $13 million
► Status: Part of road widening project; right-of-way acquisition has been underway about 16 months and is about 50 percent complete.
VALLEYDALE ROAD SIDEWALK
► Location: Between U.S. 31 and Riverchase Parkway East
► Length: 0.75 miles
► Cost: Estimated $3 million
► Status: Part of road widening project; just starting right-of-way acquisition.
► Location: From Valleydale Road to Inverness nature park
► Length: 1.8 miles
► Cost: Estimated $1.3 million
► Status: Project is being managed by Shelby County, with Hoover as financial partner; plans are complete; two tracts of land left to aquire.
JOHN HAWKINS PARKWAY
► Location: Between U.S. 31 and entrance to Cahaba River Estates
► Length: 2.5 miles
► Cost: Estimated $4.3 million
► Status: Federal funding had been in place for design work, but project was not priority for previous administration; Brocato wants city staff to seek federal funding for design work again.