Government grant aims to improve city walkways, paths

Murray State busses line the road in front of the Curris Center. The federal government has awarded Murray city government a new transportation grant. || Jordie Oetken/The News

Samantha Villanueva
Staff writer

A new grant was awarded to the city of Murray for improved sidewalks, bike paths and other means of getting around town in hopes of reducing pollution.

The Murray Calloway Transit Authority received the more than $1 million Bus Livability grant from the federal government, geared to help Murray become a bit more efficient and greener.

Bjarne Hanson, MCTA executive director, said the grant is a new initiative in improving existing non-vehicular transportation programs already in place.

“What this grant is going to be used for is to help build more bike paths, sidewalks, walking trails, etc., and also improve the transportation access to the community,” he said. “We also hope to decrease the amount of pollution and build a much healthier, safer city.”

Hanson said there were several reasons the grant reflected the Transit Authority’s committent to the clean up of Murray to introduce more efficient transportation options.

“Several components of this come into play,” Hanson said. “We want to improve working with livability (fit enough to live in), create and provide sustainable methods of transportation within Murray for a better community, and try to have a less automobile-centered community.”

When the proposal was first introduced, both the federal and state governments were involved in the planning and assisted in the grant’s creation.

Murray State and the city of Murray helped the Transit Authority apply for the grant.

“We were looking for a way of improving the city that included having safer bike ways and other transportation means to improve the community,” Hanson said.

The city of Murray has been planning on ways to improve the already in placed methods of non-vehicular transportation for some time, Peyton Mastera, projects administrator in the city planning and engineering department, said.

Mastera said the main purpose for this new way was to improve life in Murray for everybody.

“The city of Murray has been committed to non-vehicular transportation for some time now,” he said. “We want a much easier way of people to travel and with the new bike paths or walk ways we are closer to that goal.”

The original proposal for a more efficient Murray started with Murray State professor, Robin Zhang, whose GOC 507 class helped secure the grant needed.

Said Mastera: “With their help, we started the path toward a safer and practical community. Not to mention the pollution rate in Murray would significantly go down if the public started using these contributions.”

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