Starkville school officials hear plan for more walking, biking

By ROBBIE WARD

Daily Journal Starkville Bureau

STARKVILLE – The day after a bike lane was painted on University Drive, the city school board heard of a plan to encourage more students to walk and bike to school.

Starkville in Motion, an organization that supports more sidewalks, bike lanes and hiking trails in the community, presented “safe routes to schools” to the school board. The plan included a few routes that could connect the city's public schools through biking and walking trails.

Some of the paths in the plans are undeveloped or aren't public property. However, Lois Connington, chairwoman for the group's Safe Routes to School committee, said property owners would be contacted and federal funding is available for the project.

About 45 Starkville students ride bikes or walk to school each day, Connington said.

“They're not following safe routes,” she said. “There are none right now.”

The project includes educating people about traffic safety and enforcing traffic laws, along with constructing safer ways for students to get to school.

For decades most developers in Starkville didn't include sidewalks in subdivisions built in the area. Mayor Dan Camp and the Board of Aldermen have said they want to make the city more “walkable and bikable.”

Currently, all students living in the Starkville School District are able to ride school buses, said Phil Burchfield, Starkville Public School District superintendent. He said he supported healthier lifestyles for students but said safety issues must also be considered.

Contact Robbie Ward at 323-9831 or robbie.ward@djournal.com.