City seeks grant for supersidewalk along 11th Street

May 16—An 8-foot wide "super sidewalk" could help improve shopping access for a low-income neighborhood, officials say.

In April, Muskogee City Council approved a resolution seeking a state grant for such a sidewalk, to go along the west side 12th and 11th Streets from Martin Luther King Street to access road north of Shawnee Bypass and then from 11th to Sixth Street.

Residents in that area need the sidewalk to get to Walmart or other stores, says Melony Carey, who serves on Action in Muskogee's infrastructure ConnectMuskogee committee.

"The foot traffic along there has really increased," Carey said. "Just the other day, I saw a young couple pushing a baby in a stroller, and there is a margin of about a foot wide on the road. People ride bikes on it. I've seen a woman in a walker on it. Every day, people walk on that street, and it's dangerous because there's just not a margin on either side."

The city is seeking a matching grant from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's Transportation Alternatives Program. Muskogee Parks and Recreation Director Mark Wilkerson said the estimated cost of the sidewalk would be $1.14 million and ODOT would match 80% of that, or $912,000. The city would pay 20 percent, or $228,000.

"It's just to help people from that neighborhood get to the grocery store," Wilkerson said. "There is a low income neighborhood in that area."

Wilkerson also said that when the city surveyed public reaction for its ConnectMuskogee trails program, residents indicated a need for a sidewalk in that area.

"That's why it came to the top of our project list," he said. "The intent is to improve pedestrian access to retail on Shawnee Bypass."

A normal sidewalk is 4 to 6 feet wide, Wilkerson said, adding that the 8-foot sidewalk could accommodate bicycles.

Wilkerson said the sidewalk would link to Centennial Trail. He said the city could hear from ODOT in June or July.