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SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL
The first phase of the safe routes to school will be kicking off the week of September 5. Phase I will be the construction of sidewalks in the Indiana, Bronson, and Norton project areas. During the week of September 5th, crews from Northern Construction will be performing saw cutting work in anticipation of heavier construction activity to begin the week of September 11th. In addition, surveyors will be marking locations for the contractor to build the sidewalks during the week of September 5th. The lath surveying stakes you will be seeing in the ground are NOT the location of the sidewalks. They are being set in an offset pattern for the contractor to measure off of for the location of the actual sidewalk. If you have any questions, please contact Tony McGhee of Abonmarche at (269) 927-2295 ext. 130
On December 20, 2016 City Council approved the bidding phase of the Safe Routes to School Program. The City received permit approval from MDOT, and the next step is to submit final bid plans to the state to be included on the April 2017 letting. It is anticipated construction will begin in June 2017 and be completed in September 2017.
More information will be available concerning the detailed project schedule soon.
Below is the presentation to Council on December 20 including a project map and overview of the of the project history to date.
The Safe Routes to School Program is a Federal Grant program that began as a national initiative to promote fitness in our youth. The program was developed to assist communities improve their sidewalk networks in order to encourage students to walk or ride their bikes to school. Even though this is a program focused on the schools and surrounding neighborhoods, the sidewalk benefits the community as a whole.
Sidewalks reduce the number of pedestrians hit by cars, reduce vehicle congestion and air pollution, promote health and fitness, improve community security as well as other benefits.
Note that the Safe Routes to School Program is not intended for general repair of sidewalks. The grant program has a limited scope primarily focused on improving the connectivity between neighborhoods and the schools.
Concerns have been raised by residents that there are existing sidewalk locations that need repairs. The City is currently developing a program to address these issues.
PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AND HISTORY
The City was awarded a federal grant to develop our sidewalk network throughout various neighborhoods. For more information about the national and state programs:
The New Buffalo City Council, during their August 3 Special Meeting, stated that sidewalk repair and safety is a top priority of the City (see City Projects for more information.) A City Council work session will be scheduled to review sidewalk improvement options and choose opportunities to harness, possibly including the Safe Routes 2 School grant program.
Pursing improved walkability, the City of New Buffalo will be hosting a walkability review on Friday, September 13, 2013, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, at City Hall, 224 W. Buffalo St. The walkability review will be guided by experts through a Michigan Department of Transportation program. Please see the walkability review page for more information.
HIKE AND BIKE
Sidewalks are a top priority of the City. Sidewalks are part of the City's Complete Streets Program, which also includes, bike lanes, non-motorized paths, improved crosswalks, and other improvements. They make our community more accessible for various non-motorized modes of transportation.
The City as adopted and is working on the Harbor Country Hike and Bike Plan (2010). The new Recreation Plan 2012-2017 (approved 9/18/2012; appendices to be added) also includes hike and bike improvements. Part of the Harbor Country Hike and Bike Plan 2010 is the New Buffalo Area Map, shown below:
Three pieces of the above plan are currently being worked on:
First, the City's 2014 South Whittaker Street repaving project plans to work collaboratively with the Friends of Harbor Country Trails to:
(a) widen shoulders to 5' wide for bicycles,
(b) build sidewalks where they are absent between north of Detroit Street and just south of Clay Street,
(c) replace bad sections of sidewalk between U.S. Route 12 and Washington, and
(d) crosswalk improvements at the Whittaker-Clay intersection.
Second, the Pere Marquette Railside Greenway Trail Plan 2012 seeks to build a trail connecting New Buffalo Elementary and High/ Middle School campuses with a non-motorized trail and to build loops.
Third, as shown on the lower left of the above map, the City is seeking to connect our hike and bike infrastructure with the Marquette Greenway through northern Indiana into Chicago (similar name, but unrelated to Pere Marquette Railside Greenway Trail Plan above). The City Council approved a Resolution in June 2012 to joint the Marquette Greenway Michiana Partnership, a group also including the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, Berrien County Road Commission, and the Friends of Harbor Country, and to appoint Assistant City Manager Ryan Fellows to coordinate planning.
Back in 2010, Jefferson Street was reconstructed within the City limits with wide bike lane shoulders (part of the the orange line on the map above). One-third of this Complete Streets project's cost was covered by the City of New Buffalo, one-third by the Pokagon Band, and one-third by the Local Revenue Sharing Board.
This page last updated on 10/31/2017.