Safe streets & roads grant being considered

The clock is ticking on Gladewater’s application for Safe Streets & Roads For All grant funds – it should take just a few months’ to get notice, according to the city’s code enforcement officer.
Seeking federal funding to help cover the development of an ‘safe streets’ program for Gladewater, Maria Tidwell says the community may be poised for aid from multiple directions.
“We had a successful submission. We should know something by October whether we should get funding or not,” she said.
In addition to its own grant – filed July 10 – Gladewater is also part of the East Texas Council of Governments’ comprehensive application. It covers a wide variety of projects throughout ETCOG’s service area, including improvements similar to Gladewater’s request – new street signage, signaling, sidewalks, crosswalks and other enhancements.
According to ETCOG Executive Director David Cleveland, the East Texas Rural Transportation Planning Organization board gave ETCOG the green light to submit its SS4A Regional Grant Application, combining the efforts of the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority as well as the TxDOT Districts for Atlanta, Paris and Tyler.
“Should this application be selected for funding,” Cleveland told local elected officials via email, “it will position our entire region for an Implementation Grant in the future as well.”
The federal pipeline is large to accommodate Gladewater’s solo application as well as its support for ETCOG’s July 6 submission.
“It kind of looks like a duplicative application, but I put in our need statement that we need all these sidewalks done for our schools,” Tidwell said. “Specifically Texas, we’re having an unusual pedestrian crash rate. Between 2010 and 2019, Texas pedestrian crash rate rose 46 percent.”
Fortunately, those statistics aren’t reflective of Gladewater, Tidwell said, but local officials are keen to focus on prevention for the sake of student safety. A sidewalk demonstration project on Gay Avenue is ready to go: “We’ll have to see what happens. I have a feeling that we’re going to get something for sure.”
Multiple elected officials sent letters of support to be include in the local SS4A grant application.
“Most of the target areas identified are beneficial to the safety of kids going to and from school with sidewalks and updated crosswalks,” council member Brandy Flanagan said an email supporting the Gladewater effort.
Likewise, in addition to a letter of support from Congressman Nathaniel Moran, Gladewater ISD School Board President Ross Morgan filed a letter in support of the city’s push for funding.
“This initiative will be of major benefit to the City of Gladewater, and its schools, to reduce roadway fatalities in the community and make streets and roads safer for the citizens of Gladewater,” he wrote. “This comes at an important time, in that Gladewater Independent School District has recently considered reducing bus routes to students who live close to campus.
“I believe that the proposed action plan and demonstration pilot project is a good model of collaboration between the USDOT and the City of Gladewater because the funds will go toward adding needed sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks and update or add safety road signage on roads and streets in the City of Gladewater.”
For Ross, the partnership with the City of Gladewater and the United States Department of Transportation will also enhance both entities’ ability to support underserved communities here.
“This is a key concern for families, particularly those parents from culturally and linguistically diverse communities who face barriers when accessing services. I am committed to working with the City of Gladewater and support their funding application for this project.”

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