Photo by Sam Farmer.
0814 Hoover Sidewalks
Parisa and Paul Dudley and their son, Foster, walk through their neighborhood in Ross Bridge. Sidewalks will be coming to Ross Bridge Parkway along with several other pedestrian projects in Hoover.
Residents Jane and Jerry Smith often walk through their neighborhood in The Preserve. Although there are sidewalks throughout the community, the couple said they could benefit from seeing more pedestrian connections.
The city is responding to the needs of residents like the Smiths. Construction crews for new sidewalks may begin appearing around Hoover as early as November. The city and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) are currently designing four sidewalk and crosswalk projects at Ross Bridge, Preserve Parkway, Chapel Road and Bluff Park. The new walkways will link previously built sidewalks in the area, and Hoover Assistant Executive Director Tim Westhoven described them as part of the “backbone” of the city’s sidewalks.
“These projects were picked basically to complement the existing sidewalks that we have in those areas. They provide a connection between where certain existing sidewalks stop and other ones start,” said Westhoven at a June 7 public involvement meeting.
The Ross Bridge and Preserve Parkway projects could begin construction in November, with Bluff Park proposed to begin in June 2015 and the Chapel Road project slated for January 2016. However, Westhoven said those timelines are early estimates and are likely to change as the design process continues.
At Ross Bridge Parkway, there will be almost a mile of new sidewalks on the west side of the road, running from Deer Trail Road to Deer Valley Elementary. There will also be five crosswalks, including one at the school.
Over a mile of new sidewalks will also be installed on Preserve Parkway from Sulphur Springs Road to the Preserve Town Center. On Chapel Road, another mile of sidewalks will line the south side of the street from Park Avenue to Matzek Drive. This project will require temporary and permanent easements from residents, which could delay construction.
In Bluff Park, a series of short sidewalks will be built on Valley Street, Tyler Road, Clearview Road, Clearview Drive, Savoy Street and Cloudland Drive. These walkways will also require easements in order to be built.
Mayor Gary Ivey said construction costs for the Preserve Parkway project are currently estimated at $750,000, and the other three projects are estimated at $900,000 each. ALDOT will be paying 80 percent of the cost and Hoover will be paying 20 percent.
At the public involvement meeting, Hoover residents had a chance to view the plans, ask questions and voice concerns. Westhoven said he generally saw a “very positive” response. Residents were also able to submit their comments to ALDOT until July 7. Based on this public response, ALDOT and the city may make changes to their current designs.
Westhoven also said this project will not be the last sidewalk addition.
“The city of Hoover has been working very hard over the last decade or so, particularly through the last several years, to make their communities more ‘walkable,’” Westhoven said. “We’re always looking for sidewalk opportunities.”