Coshocton County mobility management begins major sidewalk construction program

| August 4, 2015

COSHOCTON – Coshocton County’s Mobility Management Partnership has announced that its office, in cooperation with the Coshocton County Coordinated Transportation Agency, will lead a community-wide initiative to construct sidewalks in several underserved neighborhoods of Coshocton beginning as early as 2017.

The comprehensive program currently involves nine phases. The first three are combined into the “South Coshocton Sidewalk Project”. The scope of the South Coshocton project, as proposed, could extend existing sidewalks southward along South Second Street to Brown’s Lane, with a possible extension to Kraft Foods, and along South Sixth Street to McWane Ductile (Clow Corporation). A sidewalk along Brown’s Lane / Plum Street would connect Second and Sixth Streets with a possible extension along Serena Drive to the Coshocton City Recreation athletic fields at Kids America.

According to Coshocton County Mobility Manager Tracy Haines, “This entire sidewalk program was developed as a result of our consumer surveys, information gleaned from conversation at public events, as well as visual witness from drivers of the Coshocton County Coordinated Transportation Agency (CCCTA). The general gist of these stories and concerns is that pedestrian transportation in these areas of our community needs to be addressed. As a community, we can and must do better to assure safe transportation and to improve access for these seven neighborhoods that largely consist of elderly, disabled, and low-income residents.”

The mobility management partnership has already provided a rollout presentation of the $1.5 million program in the county, city, and Tuscarawas Township officials and social service agencies. The office recently completed a series of exploratory citizen advisory meetings within the affected neighborhoods to inform the residents there of the program and to solicit feedback from the groups. A final public presentation is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 7 at 6 p.m. during an open house at the Coordinated Transportation Agency office at 401 Main Street.

“As a community, we simply can’t wait for something horrific to happen before we take action,” said Duane R. Meyers, road supervisor of the Coordinated Transportation Agency. “We’ve already heard, twice, of motorized scooters getting stuck on the railroad tracks at Brown’s Lane and have had motorized chairs tip over into lanes of traffic. Drivers repeatedly tell us they see vehicles dodge into oncoming lanes of traffic to avoid pedestrians walking on the streets because sidewalks do not exist or are in a dilapidated state.”

The area to be served by the South Coshocton project would provide safe pedestrian access directly from roughly 630 residences to more than 50 retail businesses, grocery stores, public offices, churches, and physician clinics. The project would connect several residential complexes, including The Commons, The Meadows, Riverside Towers (High Rise), Covington Square, Windsorwood, and the three Minn Lynn mobile villages on the west side of Second Street.

Federal funding is being sought via the Transportation Alternatives Program that is administered in Ohio by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Haines noted that local matching funds will be needed to leverage these funds, if the initial letter of intent for federal funding is approved.

“At the beginning of the year, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx issued a challenge to mayors nationwide to put more emphasis on sidewalks,” Haines said. “The fact that we’ve already been working on this issue for more than two years shows that Coshocton is on the front edge of this issue. Since delving into this, we are finding more and more government sources advocating that communities place greater attention on ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) mobility issues and safe pedestrian travel. Now is a perfect time to act.”

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