Jamestown gets sidewalks, signs

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

Jamestown will soon be more walkable thanks to a sidewalk construction project in the works.

Tuolumne County's Community Resources Agency secured some final funds last week to install sidewalks, curbs, bus stops and other pedestrian amenities on multiple roads near the downtown.

Once completed, the improvements are expected to connect the recently updated Main Street with Railtown and Jamestown Elementary School with much more walkable corridors.

"There is currently no continuous pedestrian passage between these areas," Tanya Allen, the county engineer working on the project, stated in a memo to the Tuolumne County Transportation Council.

The proposal calls for constructing 3,600 linear feet of sidewalk along Willow, Seco and Ninth streets, as well as two bus stops with turnouts, shelters and lighted crosswalks at on Seco Street and Fifth Avenue.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013, with engineering, surveying and design starting this fall, according to the CRA.

The TCTC board voted last week to pitch in $91,000 toward the $1.2 million in costs. The project is funded through a number of sources, including federal grants, the state's Proposition 1B fund and local transportation funds, according to the CRA.

Sidewalk projects in the county are identified and prioritized in a number of different ways, said Duke York, a deputy director with the CRA. Most of the county's sidewalks are located in its few urban areas, and different communities like Jamestown, Columbia and Tuolumne have master plans that dictate when and where sidewalks should be installed, York said.

Often times, new sidewalk projects are connected to funding sources, such as grants dedicated to safe pedestrian routes to schools that helped fund walkways in Soulsbyville and along Greenley Road in Sonora.

Also, the Americans With Disabilities Act does require pedestrian access for new construction and development projects and regulates pedestrian walkways for existing routes. But the ADA only requires communities to identify existing spots that are out of compliance and offer a long-term plan to address those areas.

"There's no uniform answer," York said of why some areas in the county have updated sidewalks or walkways and others don't.

Allen said the Jamestown project was included in the Jamestown Community Action Plan, which identifies improvements that the community needs to make. All three roads include stretches without pedestrian walkways.

"They needed continuity from Main Street to (the school and Railtown)," Allen said.

Main Street, which runs through Jamestown's historic downtown, received a facelift in 2009 through a $350,000 beautification project. The job included new street lights, sidewalk improvements and planters for greenery.

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The Union Democrat
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