Toole Design Group, the planning firm hired by the city to develop a bicycle and pedestrian facilities plan in conjunction with the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation, is the likely planner of the Safe Routes to School project aimed at linking Whitman Middle School with students who come from the McKinley Elementary School neighborhood.
"Toole is the intended awardee pending successful contract negotiations," said Tressie Kamp, statewide multi-modal programs manager for the Department of Transportation.
Toole's involvement in both projects is seen as a great advantage in marrying the Safe Routes to School development with the city's bike and pedestrian plan.
The planning work, for which the state budgeted $22,000, is one of two grants won by the Tosa community for its Safe Routes to School plan. The other was a cash award of $166,940 announced in December for infrastructure work related to Safe Routes to School, including flashing beacon signs at crosswalks, safety cones, traffic-flow signage, and other pedestrian-safety-enhancing items.
"I think it will create a lot of synergy between the two efforts," said Alderman Jeff Roznowski, who was the primary contact person for the grant.
Roznowski said the projects are closely linked.
"The projects to me are really one and the same," he said. "The McKinley school grant project is really a subset of the larger project. If the larger project, of course, is to figure out connectivity with biking and walking throughout the city, well, one piece of that is McKinley to Whitman, so I think that will work very well for both efforts."
Toole Design is pleased, as well.
"We're very interested in getting to work on the Safe Routes to School plan to make that tie between the two plans as current and as beneficial as possible," said Tom Huber, director of Toole's regional office in Madison.
Doing both plans allows Toole to delve into greater detail where the McKinley to Whitman connection is concerned.
"What the Safe Routes to School plan will allow is just us to look at, in more depth, at schools, the routes that are leading to schools, the connections to schools, and really drill down to the neighborhood level, and the actual school itself," Huber said. "Whereas a community plan, you're backing off and looking at a grander scale than you can with the Safe Routes to School plan."
The bike/pedestrian planning group has met once with Huber. The actual work on the Safe Routes to School link will commence when the contract with the state is finalized, he said.
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