FLORENCE, Ala. — If you’ve ever been to Florence High School or the Florence Freshman Center, you’ll notice pedestrian crossings along Bradshaw Drive, but on neither side of the street will you see a sidewalk.
Florence City Council hopes a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) Grant will provide funding to change that.
“We have a really great walkability project that’s ongoing that will be between districts 6 and 4 right there at Bradshaw Drive and Helton Drive,” District 4 Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks said.
Eubanks said the grant will allow the city to receive 80 percent of the funding for the construction phase of a sidewalk and pedestrian improvement project. It will include installing crosswalks at Bradshaw and Helton Drives, sidewalks along Bradshaw Drive, and synchronizing the signals at Bradshaw Drive and Rickwood Road.
Florence High School Principal Roderick Sheppard said the project would be a great safety benefit for students walking to and from school.
“They’ll have an opportunity now to get out of the road and get on the sidewalk and be able to jog and not have to worry about the vehicles coming through,” Sheppard said.
Sheppard added an estimated 10 to 20 students walk from campus to the YMCA, crossing the busy Helton Drive each day.
Eubanks said students won’t be the only ones benefiting. Florendale Apartments are close by, as well as neighborhoods in Edgemont, and Eubanks said a lot of kids are walking in the pathway and using back streets to get there.
“This at least gives them that safer path if they’re connecting over Helton Drive, or it alerts motorists that this is going to be the case in this designated area,” Eubanks said. “It’s a huge win and I think it’s well worth what we’re doing to make it happen.”
The deadline to submit the TAP grant application is Friday and City Council should know by later in the summer if the application is approved.