Amid $1 million Mercury Boulevard sidewalk grant, City plans for more pedestrian-friendly areas


Photo by Eric Goodwin / Assistant News Editor

Gov. Bill Haslam announced on July 21 that the City of Murfreesboro received a $1 million federal grant to build sidewalks along Mercury Boulevard. The road connects Broad Street to Middle Tennessee Boulevard and Rutherford Boulevard.

Numerous community centers and businesses sit adjacent to Mercury Boulevard, such as Hobgood Elementary School, Patterson Park Community Center, a Murfreesboro Fire Department station and Habitat For Humanity. The four lane road currently has no sidewalks.

City Councilman Rick LaLance said the decision to use the grant for Mercury Boulevard was a “coordinated effort.”

LaLance said that despite the success for Mercury Boulevard, there is still work to be done to improve pedestrian and bike traffic in Murfreesboro.

“One of the things that I know myself and Councilmember Smotherman have been driving towards is multi-use paths,” LaLance said. “Bike lanes are pretty good. We’ve added a ton of bike lanes over the last ten years in Murfreesboro, but I think we need to improve that by making multi-use paths instead of four or five foot wide bike paths.”

Multi-use paths would give pedestrians and cyclists their own paved path to walk and bike on, potentially reducing danger from high speed traffic. LaLance said he thinks more residents will be inclined to walk and bike the city if there’s less danger from automobiles.

On walkscore.com, a website that analyzes data from sources like Google Maps, Open Street Map and the U.S. Census and gives cities a rating out of 100, Murfreesboro scores 24 points.

The City of Murfreesboro will create a “Major Thoroughfare” plan to address the issue of transportation. LaLance said the City encourages residents to get involved.

The City Council conducts a public hearing forum each month. The next meeting is set for Aug. 17. The ordinances it addresses may be found here.

“Let us hear from you,” LaLance said. “Keep your eyes peeled, (and) follow the City on … social media outlets, because we are constantly doing things where we’re having public input sessions. The more people who show up, the better.”

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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