Contact: Heather Deaton
Phone: (903) 799-1306
Date: Nov. 3, 2021
ATLANTA -- As pedestrian and bicyclist deaths continue to rise in Texas, newly awarded funding will help Texans get safer access to schools, work, public transit and community destinations around the state.
During its Oct. 28, 2021, meeting, the Texas Transportation Commission approved more than $55 million for 41 projects across the state that will build sidewalks, shared use paths, bike lanes, pedestrian bridges and other safety features for people who walk and ride bicycles for transportation. This comes after 2020 saw a nine percent increase in pedestrian deaths along with more than a 20 percent increase in bicyclist fatalities.
“We’re seeing a disturbing trend as more and more pedestrians and cyclists are dying on Texas roadways and it’s been increasing for the past five years,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said. “This funding will help improve safety for our more vulnerable users throughout the state - and go a long way in helping us achieve our goal of ending the streak of daily deaths.”
Last year, 731 people died in pedestrian-related crashes, an increase of nince percent from 2019. Crashes involving bicyclists claimed the lives of 82 people, up from 68 deaths the previous year.
Unless we have a deathless day on our roadways within the next week, Nov. 7, 2021, will mark 21 straight years of daily deaths on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX is a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
This federal funding largely comes from the Transportation Alternatives program, with a small amount from the Safe Routes to Schools program. All award selections come after a competitive call for projects from cities and counties across the state that have a population under 200,000.
The Transportation Alternatives program supports local projects that enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety for people of all ages and levels of ability. These projects also provide access to multimodal options and connect important community destinations like schools, jobs, downtowns, commercial areas, and medical facilities.
In the Atlanta District, these projects include:
1. Project Sponsor: Bowie County
Project Name: Bowie County Shared Use Path From SH 98 to FM 1840
Federal Funding Amount: $2,166,204
Project Description: The project will construct a 10-foot wide unpaved aggregate surface path adjacent to US 82 from FM 1840 near De Kalb to SH 98 west of New Boston. The project improves a segment of the Northeast Texas Trail and is part of the future Texas Bicycle Tourism Trail network. The project will include clearing and grading, along with safety improvements including crosswalk striping, safety bollards, curb ramps and signage for 13 street crossings.
2. Project Sponsor: City of Texarkana
Project Name: Kennedy Lane Bicycle & Pedestrian Improvements
Federal Funding Amount: $2,310,247
Project Description: The project will construct 6-foot concrete sidewalks along both sides of Kennedy Lane from SH 93/Summerhill Road to the Cowhorn Creek bridge. Additionally, sidewalks will be constructed along Kennedy Lane to Robison Road, and then along one side of Robison Road to FM 559/Richmond Road. The project will also construct a 12-foot wide asphalt shared use path, extending the Cowhorn Creek Trail from Kennedy Lane to College Drive. The project provides safer pedestrian crossings, expands an existing sidewalk network, and connects sidewalks and bike lanes on College Drive, which was previously funded.
These projects are expected to take 18 months to complete once construction begins.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, maritime, rail, and public transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods. Find out more at TxDOT.gov. "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.