New side­walks planned for North Hico Street

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Hunter McFer­rin Staff Writer hm­c­fer­[email protected]

Siloam Springs re­cently was cho­sen by the Arkansas Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to re­ceive a grant that will be used to con­struct new side­walks on North Hico Street, a trans­porta­tion depart­ment of­fi­cial said.

The side­walks will be about 1,500 feet in length and 10 feet wide and will be lo­cated on the sec­tion of North Hico Street that is be­tween Cheri Whit­lock Drive and Wash­ing­ton Street, said Daniel Siskowski, staff pro­gram man­ager for the Arkansas Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion. The city has not bro­ken ground on the pro­ject, but a con­struc­tion bid has been re­ceived, said Hol­land Hay­den, city com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer.

The award is also a match­ing grant and re­quires that the city pay for 25 per­cent of the pro­ject, or $38,750, and fed­eral funds will pay for the re­main­der, Siskowski said. Siloam Springs was one of a num­ber of cities in the state to re­ceive monies for such a pro­ject, which were is­sued as a re­sult of two an­nual ini­tia­tives un­der­taken by the depart­ment called the Trans­porta­tion Al­ter­na­tives Pro­gram ( TAP) and the Recre­ational Trails Pro­gram (RTP).

Sim­i­lar pro­grams ex­ist in ev­ery state un­der a dif­fer­ent name and were orig­i­nally cre­ated be­cause the trans­porta­tion de­part­ments

of most states typ­i­cally spend the ma­jor­ity of their fund­ing on state high­ways, Siskowski said. For that rea­son, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment wanted to make an ef­fort to help cities of­fer al­ter­na­tive meth­ods of trans­porta­tion to non­drivers.

The two pro­grams dif­fer in that RTP projects are for recre­ational trails, such as hik­ing trails or bike paths, while TAP projects - which is the case for Siloam Springs - are in­tended for trans­porta­tion pur­poses, Siskowski said. The ap­pli­ca­tion process en­tails the pre­sen­ta­tion of pro­ject ideas to the depart­ment, along with nec­es­sary de­tails such as de­sign plans and es­ti­mated cost.

Af­ter these con­sid­er­a­tions are taken into ac­count, the projects are then ranked in or­der of pri­or­ity and de­cided on by an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee made up of a di­verse group of peo­ple who rep­re­sent or­ga­ni­za­tions rang­ing from the Arkansas Depart­ment of Health, to the Arkansas Mu­nic­i­pal League to the Fed­eral High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion. This year, the depart­ment awarded $8.1 mil­lion to cities statewide to com­plete 30 TAP projects $1.6 mil­lion for 16 RTP projects; Siskowski also gave an ex­pla­na­tion for that dis­par­ity.

“Ev­ery­one likes side­walks,” he said. “Out­door trails are nice, but it seems like no mat­ter where you go ev­ery­one seems to want side­walks.”

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