$1.6 Million Federal Grant for ADA-Compliant Sidewalks

Tyler, TX, will build more than 7 miles of ADA-compliant sidewalks using $1.6 million from the FHA’s Transportation Alternatives Program. See what other federal grants support pedestrian-friendly developments

What Happened?

Tyler, Texas, is building out new sidewalks that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act as part of the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Pedestrian Master Plan. The new sidewalks will tap into $1,648,322 in funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program.


According to KLTV, the new sidewalks in Tyler are a component of the Texas Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant Sidewalk Project.  The project calls for 7.2 miles of ADA compliant sidewalks throughout Tyler. The city will receive a maximum of $1,648,322 in federal funding through the Texas Department of Transportation. The federal dollars will reimburse Tyler for 80 percent of construction costs.

The new sidewalks will increase mobility and access for all residents, including those with disabilities.

Federal Funding

The federal dollars will come from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program. The administration’s grants are allocated to Transportation Enhancement activities that involve surface transportation projects falling under at least one of 12 categories such as:

  • Pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure
  • Safety and education programs for pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Environmental mitigation
  • Scenic or historic highway programs

Other programs supported through the Texas DOT enhancement initiative involve bridge and trail construction, streetscape projects and pedestrian malls.

ADA Compliance

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, sidewalks should be wider than three feet to accommodate all pedestrians.  The sidewalks should have a slope of no more than 2 percent, and there should be no fixed items protruding into the walkway. Other ADA transit standards include:

  • Curb ramps or other sloped areas should be placed at all new or altered pedestrian walkways crossing a street, road or highway
  • Time allotted for pedestrians to cross the street should consider walkers traveling less than 3.5 feet per second
  • Alternate accessible routes should be provided when construction blocks public sidewalks

All sidewalk construction projects should take into account the needs of blind and low-vision pedestrians at intersections, as well as those with specific mobility demands.

Connector and Repairs

The Federal Highway Administration is also offering a $397,884 transportation alternative grant to Erwin, Tennessee, for a downtown connector project. Erwin aims to add 4,000 feet of new sidewalks connecting a five mile trail to different access points throughout the downtown area. The goal of the project is to make it easier for residents to access commercial and recreational opportunities in Erwin via an extensive, pedestrian-friendly trail, TriCities reported.

Existing roadways connecting residents to cultural and business sections of Erwin are limited and experience heavy traffic. The connector sidewalks will make the five-mile pedestrian trail more functional for navigating the downtown areas and avoiding areas of traffic congestion.

San Benito County Today reported residents of Hollister will have access to federal funding to support repairs of dilapidated sidewalks in their neighborhoods. Leveraging $375,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program, Hollister will fix up sidewalks in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods.

The federal funding will be used alongside a sidewalk repair loan program lending individual loans to residents to help them fix their own sidewalks at a 2 percent interest rate.

Walking the Walk

Gov1 has reported on similar sidewalk projects funded by the FHA as more communities look to modernize their pedestrian walkways.

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