Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lighted crosswalks installed in Bellevue

Plan aims to make Safe Routes to School safer


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

From left, Bellevue Mayor Chris Koch, Councilwoman Janet Duffy, public works employees Jeremy Langley and Tim Higley, and ITD engineer Devin Rigby celebrate the installation of one of four solar-powered crosswalk beacons in central Bellevue. Photo by David N. Seelig

The city of Bellevue recently installed four solar-powered, lighted crosswalk beacons at the corners of Cottonwood and Spruce Streets for safe pedestrian crossing of Main Street, which is also state Highway 75. 

The $20,000 project was funded primarily by federal highway funds through the Safe Routes to School program, as well as by the Bellevue Urban Renewal Agency. 

The city decided to forego portions of federal funding for completion of the project because it was deemed “bureaucratically burdened” by consulting engineer Brian Yeager. He said the city would have to spend $5,000 in application fees alone to get the beacons installed.

Instead the City Council agreed to use city public works funds and labor to install the poles.

In 2009 the city used $148,000 in Safe Routes to School federal grant funding to build sidewalks on the north side of Cedar Street from Highway 75 to the elementary school, and on the east side of Fifth Street from Beech Street to Pine Street. 

The sidewalks provide pedestrian safety for schoolchildren walking and biking to Bellevue Elementary School. The crosswalk beacons were built using the last of the city’s Safe Routes funding.

“The city has worked closely with the Idaho Transport Department District IV staff in Shoshone and Boise staff since the project received its awarding,” said Bellevue Planning Director Craig Eckles. 

Eckles said that in addition, the city has processed a $1.5 million Local Highway Technical Assistance grant to rebuild Broadford Road, which includes a pedestrian pathway on the north side. The new pathway will connect to the new lighted crosswalk at Broadford Road and Main Street.

Eckles said the two intersections across Highway 75 that received the Safe Routes to School grant funding were determined to have the most pedestrians walking to Bellevue Elementary School.

“This is really going to complement the Broadford Road rebuild, which could be completed by 2015,” Eckles said.




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