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Council hears City’s walkability plan

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    Navasota’s vision of citywide connectivity and walkability includes the addition of 50,000 linear feet of sidewalk and trails (in orange) to the existing 65,550 linear fee (yellow). Courtesy photo

Responding to a concern voiced by many Navasota residents, the City’s Planning and Development Intern, Abigail Ledbetter, presented The Navasota Sidewalk and Trails Plan at the Monday, Nov. 9, city council meeting. According to the 2015-2025 City of Navasota Comprehensive Plan, the lack of sidewalks and bike paths was a “recurring theme” at public meetings held in January and February 2015 seeking citizen input into development of the City’s comprehensive plan.

The Navasota Sidewalk and Trails Plan as presented intends to connect Navasota’s 65,550 linear feet of sidewalk and add 50,000 linear feet in the form or sidewalks or trails. Ledbetter’s presentation provided a visual of the City broken down into six sections with the existing sidewalks and the potential sidewalks and trails.

Explaining the goals and vision of the sidewalk plan, Ledbetter said, “Some of the goals was just to provide more connectivity throughout the whole city. They wanted to be able to connect the neighborhoods to all of the schools, the public library, parks, the hospital and clinics, and the historic downtown.”

She continued, “They wanted to create a safe pathway for citizens to walk as well as bike throughout town, and also increase the quality of life and create walkability and spread some economic opportunity just by encouraging people to walk around downtown.”

The draft design allows for up to 8-foot wide stroller and wheelchair-friendly lighted sidewalks and trails, water bottle refill stations landscaped with native plants and pollinator gardens. The Navasota Garden Club, the Noon Lion Club, the Evening Lions Club, Boy Scouts and Navasota ISD have indicated interest in participating in the project, as has Entergy.

As for funding the project, Ledbetter said there are numerous grant opportunities in addition to utilizing dollars in the General Fund and $62,841 available in the Sidewalk Fund. The City has already applied for 30 grants including the Laura Jane Musser Fund which awards from $5,000 to $25,000.

Strand Associates’ fee for engineering services to develop a pedestrian and bicycle system plan is $48,500 and incudes data collection, existing and alternate conditions analysis, plan documentation, conducting public meetings, with an optional $11,200 for crash analysis and a development of an interactive GIS map for public users.

After brief discussion with some suggested added points of interest, questions and concerns about maintenance and moving forward with engineering services, action was pended for additional feedback from an upcoming meeting with Strand Associates.

City Manager Brad Stafford said, “These are just a starting point to get people to see what we’re talking about.”