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TxDOT Approves Millions for Safer Access to Schools, Communities

AUSTIN – 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 October 28 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 9 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 9% 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 had a population under 200,000 at the time of application.

In the Amarillo District, the following project will receive funding through this program:  

Project Sponsor: City of Amarillo

Project Name: Barrio Neighborhood SE 10th Ave Streetscape Improvement Project

Phases of work included in award:  Construction

Federal Funding Amount: $1,790,434

Project Description: The project will construct 1.1 miles of five-foot-wide sidewalks, ADA ramps, and crosswalks on both sides of Southeast 10th Avenue. The project includes additional safety improvements including lane narrowing for traffic calming, driveway improvements, corridor access management, and enhanced bus stops.

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.