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Alachua County to push for Melrose sidewalk extension

Many Melrose residents call the corner of S.R. 26 and Lexington Ave. "the place where the sidewalk ends."   However, if the Alachua County Commission gets its way, the footpath will be extended six-tenths of a mile to the Santa Fe Lake Park.

Many Melrose residents call the corner of S.R. 26 and Lexington Ave. “the place where the sidewalk ends.” However, if the Alachua County Commission gets its way, the footpath will be extended six-tenths of a mile to the Santa Fe Lake Park.


DAN HILDEBRAN

Monitor Editor

A transportation planner with the Alachua County Road Department told a Melrose business group the county planned to push a project that would extend a Melrose sidewalk six-tenths of a mile.

Chris Dawson told the Melrose Business and Community Association during the organization’s March meeting that his department planned to ask county commissioners March 26 to rank the sidewalk as its top priority for alternative transportation funding.

The sidewalk on the north side of S.R. 26 now runs from S.R. 21 to Lexington Ave. The project would extend the path to the Santa Fe Lake Park.

The federal government funds alternative transportation projects through fuel taxes. Alternative transportation projects include multi-use paths, sidewalks and modifications to intersections to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Although the U.S. Department of Transportation funds the program, the state DOT decides which projects get funded.

Dawson said the Melrose sidewalk should be well-received by Florida’s Department of Transportation because it runs along a state highway and provides a connection between the community and a prominent feature of the town, the park.

Dawson added that even though the project is not expensive, it should make a significant impact on the community.

He said his department also planned to ask the commission to submit to DOT a proposal that would extend Gainesville’s Waldo Road multi-use path to Waldo.  That path now runs north from NE 39th Ave. to the Gainesville Regional Airport.  The proposal would extend it to the Waldo City Park.

Dawson said even if the county commission ranks the  Melrose sidewalk as its top priority. DOT will have the final say on whether the project gets funded.

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