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Residents say Farmersville needs safer sidewalks

Residents say Farmersville needs safer sidewalks

City’s Active Transportation and Safety Enhancement Plan identifies sidewalks as the top issue facing residents

@TheSunGazette

FARMERSVILLE – Farmersville has done a lot to improve roads throughout the city over the last four years. With new roads came better sidewalks, more street lights, and safer streets. But not every street in town has a sidewalk and not every sidewalk program qualifies for funding.

The City has been developing an Active Transportation and Safety Enhancement Plan for almost a year, and the work is nearing completion. The goals of the study include: engaging the community; developing an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Plan; evaluating bike and pedestrian collision data and develop a plan to improve accessibility and safety; identifying curbs and ramps that do not meet ADA specifications; and assessing the possibility of providing greater transit connectivity to Visalia.

The consultant partnered with the California State University, Fresno, Office of Community & Economic Development to identify key concerns in the city and the result is a very detailed documentation of specific areas of need. During Farmersville’s Fall Festival in October, the consultants gathered public input from residents about transportation and safety issues in their community. The results of the study were presented last month at the Farmersville Community Center.

Sidewalks were a major issue for residents who cited who broken sidewalks that become trip hazards; mailboxes obstructed sidewalks; and that many sidewalks did not meet ADA standards. Residents also noted that transit stops could be improved by adding shelters, providing a trash receptacle, and removing graffiti.

The plan was funded through a grant and consultant GHD/Omni Means is nearing completion on the data collection and documentation of needs and opportunities. When the plan is finalized, the City of Farmersville will have a document in hand that is required in order to secure funding to implement the solutions noted and potentially make much-needed improvements in Farmersville.

The study will also include developing cost estimates and calculating costs versus benefits.

The next steps in the process include collecting public input gathered to date, identifying ways to mitigate deficiencies, develop cost estimates, prepare the draft report and submit the report to City Council for consideration.

Once the report is finalized, the City of Farmersville will be able to apply for grants to fund some of the highlighted needs and improve transportation, safety and walkability in the community.

Additional public input on the study is welcome. For information, contact Gary Mills, GHD, at gary.mills@ghd.com or call 571-1142.

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