New sidewalks will be built along East Side neighborhood - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New sidewalks will be built along East Side neighborhood

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Several people living in the East Side of Chattanooga will soon be able to walk outside safely along new sidewalks.

People living along Wheeler Avenue said they've been asking the city for safer streets for years and now there's going to be more than a mile's worth of new sidewalks in their neighborhood.

Minnie Smith has been living in her Wheeler Ave. home for more than 50 years and said she used to enjoy long walks down her street -- but not anymore.

"These people come down through here and they think they're on the International Speedway," Smith said.

The city is now creating new sidewalks down her street and two others to improve safety.
    
There have been 10 pedestrian crashes in the surrounding areas in the past three years, many of them in District 8, represented by Moses Freeman.

"They've been fearful number one, the children who walk to school or to the bus stops are having to walk in the streets," Freeman said, "And hopefully we'll slow down traffic a little bit now, it has been a dangerous situation for a while."

Smith said neighbors have started showing up to council meetings asking for change. Originally they were asking for speed bumps and a newly paved road.

"We just have to wait until they do something about the street, and now that they're doing the sidewalks we'll just have to accept that," Smith said.

But she's grateful for the new sidewalks, as long as it doesn't mess up her beautiful garden.

"It doesn't really matter in a sense, I'm just going to make sure that they know they got to put that back, that's all," Smith said.
    
The sidewalk will be installed on the opposite side of the street from Smith's home, on the east side of the road, paid for by grant funding.

"This neighborhood does have a preponderance of low income individuals and therefore they qualify for Community Development Block Grant assistance," Freeman said.

Smith wants her neighbors to be able to walk along safely and hopes adding this sidewalk will help them do that.

Sidewalk construction began on Monday and is expected to be completed in three months.

The routes where new sidewalks are being installed are located in both District 8 and District 9. The exact locations are: 

•    Camden St. from Roanoke Ave. to Dodson Ave.
•    Wilcox Blvd. from Dodson Ave. to Wheeler Ave.
•    Wheeler Ave. from Wilcox Blvd. to Citico Ave.

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