Main Street South, photographed on Saturday, April 6, 2024 between Pioneer Avenue and Bunnell Avenue, is one of the locations selected for the Homer All-Ages and Abilities Pedestrian Pathway project approved in the 2024-2027 Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Main Street South, photographed on Saturday, April 6, 2024 between Pioneer Avenue and Bunnell Avenue, is one of the locations selected for the Homer All-Ages and Abilities Pedestrian Pathway project approved in the 2024-2027 Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Homer pedestrian pathway project selected for federal funding

The project will create greater nonmotorized transportation access in Homer

The Homer All-Ages and Abilities Pedestrian Pathway project, or HAPP, has been awarded funding and is officially in the works with the approval of the 2024-2027 Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Statewide Transportation Improvements Program.

Shannon McCarthy, communications director from the Alaska DOT&PF Office of the Commissioner, confirmed on Saturday, March 30 that the 2024-2027 STIP was partially approved by the Federal Highway Administration on March 27, and that the HAPP project was among those approved.

The HAPP project was selected to receive funding through DOT&PF’s Transportation Alternatives Program, which is dedicated to nonmotorized transportation improvements, in the amount of $3,487,500. The City of Homer will provide a 10.5% match in the amount of $387,500. According to city Special Projects and Communications Coordinator Jenny Carroll, funding for the local match has already been set aside in the FY24-25 budget.

While other transportation projects statewide also received TAP funding, Homer’s HAPP project was the only Kenai Peninsula project selected for funding.

According to the description in the STIP, the HAPP “entails the constructions of a 5-foot wide, approximately 4,950-feet-long asphalt sidewalk with crosswalk improvements across various locations to enhance pedestrian safety.”

Further, the project includes adding concrete curbs, gutters and ADA-compliant ramps and upgrading crosswalks with rectangular rapid flashing beacons and high-visibility markings. The project may also require renovating certain city-maintained storm drains for effective stormwater management, the STIP states.

Key work areas selected for the project include Main Street south, between Pioneer Avenue and Bunnell Avenue; Bunnell Avenue, between Main Street and Beluga Place; Svedlund Street, between Pioneer Avenue and Fairview Avenue; and Herndon Avenue and Lee Drive to Main Street. According to a March 7 memorandum to the Homer City Council, high visibility crosswalks were also requested for Pioneer Avenue at Svedlund Street and on the Sterling Highway at Pioneer Avenue, Main Street and Hazel Avenue.

“These sidewalks … bridge critical gaps in the main routes through our city core, through the main business district,” Carroll said. “So one of the most exciting pieces of the project is that we’ll be seeing sidewalks being built on Main Street south, which goes from Pioneer Avenue south, which is a state-owned right of way. We’ve been working for many years to advocate for sidewalks on that section.”

The STIP designates project design to be conducted over 2024 and 2025. Construction is slated to begin in 2027.

The allocated TAP funds will pass from the federal level to the State of Alaska. While the City of Homer, in partnership with staff from the Independent Living Center, put together and submitted the project proposal for inclusion in the STIP, the project itself will be managed by the state.

Among next steps are for the Alaska DOT&PF regional transportation planner to reach out to the City of Homer to initiate a Memorandum of Agreement process which, according to a March 7 report from the city manager’s office, will lay out the specifics of the collaboration and coordination between the Alaska DOT&PF and the City of Homer.

“An important thing to note about this project, or this funding stream, is that the state will design and implement it,” Carroll said. “They will hire contractors to construct it. The city is a partner in that we put the project forward for funding (and) we are providing a match of the award … The award won’t come to the city.”

Carroll also noted that the sidewalk segments included in the HAPP have existed as individual projects among the City of Homer’s priorities for several years, before they were bundled together as a single project in the HAPP concept.

“We had a call from Brad Parsons, who works with the ILC, and he said, ‘I have an idea about how to bundle these projects into one project that has a lot more impact that doing these individual segments,’” she said. “So we worked with him and ILC staff … (and) the HAPP project really brings it all together.

“It was a great collaboration between city staff and organizations that have been advocating for and promoting a more walkable city. That was really appreciated, because I think that made it a much more compelling project to fill several large gaps in our sidewalk network,” Carroll said.

In the March 7 report, the city manager’s office thanked the ILC staff who worked with City staff to develop the HAPP concept, as well as Homer’s many nonmotorized transportation advocates “who participate in community-wide planning and write letters to support funding applications.”

“It was a very competitive field and process this year, and we feel fortunate to have this project selected,” Carroll said.

Find more information about the 2024-2027 STIP, and the Homer All-Ages and Abilities Pedestrian Pathway project (ID# 34426) at dot.alaska.gov/stwdplng/cip/stip/legacy-STIP.shtml.

Svedlund Street, photographed on Saturday, April 6, 2024 between Pioneer Avenue and Fairview Avenue, is one of the locations selected for the Homer All-Ages and Abilities Pedestrian Pathway project approved in the 2024-2027 Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Svedlund Street, photographed on Saturday, April 6, 2024 between Pioneer Avenue and Fairview Avenue, is one of the locations selected for the Homer All-Ages and Abilities Pedestrian Pathway project approved in the 2024-2027 Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

The route for the proposed Homer All-Ages and Abilities Pedestrian Pathway is outlined in this map by the City of Homer. Photo courtesy of the City of Homer

The route for the proposed Homer All-Ages and Abilities Pedestrian Pathway is outlined in this map by the City of Homer. Photo courtesy of the City of Homer

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