Polk Vision and the Polk Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) have a shared goal of reducing pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Sidewalks are an important component of aligning resources to establish pedestrian connections between developed areas, schools and parks, and provide a healthy and safe environment.
On a typical school day, thousands of school children throughout the county are walking along portions of major roads in order to get to and from school or a bus stop and many of these roads lack sidewalks. Polk Vision’s Infrastructure Team in partnership with the Polk TPO have evaluated the sidewalk needs surrounding 140 Public Schools in Polk County and identified 179 miles (28%) of major roads within one mile of a school that do not have sidewalks.
As part of this evaluation, the top 74 schools with the least amount of sidewalk were evaluated and a list of sidewalk needs for these schools has been developed.
The Infrastructure Team is sharing this list of candidate projects with municipal and county leaders and is seeking formal resolutions of support for closing these sidewalk gaps. A number of sidewalk projects included in the school sidewalk evaluation have been approved and funded by Polk County and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and scheduled for construction within the next few years. The Infrastructure Team will continue to coordinate with Polk County and various local governments, as well as the Polk TPO and FDOT in order to obtain funding for additional sidewalk needs identified within one mile of a public school.
CANDIDATE SIDEWALK PROJECTS
Phase I (2017) – 10 Public Schools
59 Candidate Sidewalk Projects (23 miles) with an estimated cost of $8.7 Million
Phase II (2018) – 20 Public Schools
84 Candidate Sidewalk Projects (35 miles) with an estimated cost of $13.1 Million
Phase III (2019) – 63 Corridors
63 Candidate Sidewalk Projects (46 miles) and 137 street light improvements. The estimated cost has not been determined at this time.
DID YOU KNOW?
Polk has one of the largest highway networks in the State of Florida. There are over 1,000 miles of major roads traversing all of Polk County’s jurisdictions which include State, County and City roads and is one of the largest in the State of Florida.
Approximately 60 percent of the major roads in Polk County currently do not have sidewalks on at least one side of the road.
To address this need, Polk County BoCC has increased funding for sidewalk expansion by 100% - $1 million in 2016 to $2 million today.
In addition, Polk County Public Schools have allocated $250,000 each year to sidewalk projects since 2017. (Source: Polk TPO)
Visit https://www.polk-county.net/boards-and-committees/sidewalk-advisory-committee for more information.