PITTSBURG — They won't be walking uphill both ways  in the snow, however local residents — particularly children — will soon have better access to safe walking trails.

According to a release, the City of Pittsburg reviewed the condition of sidewalks and crosswalks around of Pittsburg Schools. Pittsburg Community Middle School, Westside and George Nettels were identified through the study as having a need for change.

Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall said the city is working to make transportation safer for all residents. He said he’s thankful for the Kansas Department of Transportation and the national Safe Routes to School program.

“If you drive around town today, you will notice a lot of construction going on,” Hall said in the release. “If you pay close attention, you will see many of these projects have a significant safety aspect to them. These efforts show our commitment to investing in our most precious asset – our children.”
Hall said the city has worked closes with USD 250.

The Safe Routes to School is a program which encourages active transportation, such as walking or riding bikes, particularly to school.

Thanks to this grant the construction has began on a 10-foot trail along Broadway in front of Pittsburg Community Middle School.

Once complete construction will move to Westside Elementary where there will be a 10-foot trail connecting the Watco Trail to the school from two separate locations and a portion of the sidewalk north to Westside along Miles Avenue.

Then a six-foot walkway along Homer St. from Centennial Drive to George Nettels Elementary will be constructed.

Director of Public Works Cameron Alden said it took the city about a year to get the KDOT grant which is making the projects possible.

Alden said the Active Transportation Advisory Board has been instrumental in the process. The board helped study the crosswalks and sidewalks in Pittsburg.

“They helped do some evaluations,” Alden said. “They have been instrumental in trying to advocate for active transportation.”

The project will cost $240,183, with $187,183 coming from KDOT and a $53,000 match coming from city funds.
According to the release, the trails will complement other safety improvements. This includes a 10-foot trail which will be constructed around South Rouse Street, possibly through another KDOT grant and matching dollars from private donations.

The city plans to have the projects complete by the beginning of the school year.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.