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$174K for Safer Routes to School

Barrington Town Council awards a contract to construct sidewalks and a bike lane on Kent Street to make walking or biking to Hampden Meadows School safer.

Fourth- and fifth-graders at Hampden Meadows School in Barrington should have safer road to walk or bike along within a few months.

The Town Council approved on Monday night a $174,000 contract with Manuel R. Pavao Contractor for construction of sidewalks and other improvements near the school. The improvements will use federal money under the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. Work should start as soon as school closes for the summer.

Work includes construction of sidewalks leading up to the school from New Meadow Road and sidewalks and a bike lane on the entire length of Kent Street between Sowams Road and New Meadow Road.

Kent Street has no sidewalks at all right now -- only grass and dirt shoulders. The sidewalk and bike lane will run along the south side of the street.

“We’ve been working on this for three or four years,” Hampden Meadows Principal Arlene Miguel said. “This is huge for safety and promoting health among children. The bike lane is awesome.”

Hampden Meadows has been pushing kids to ride their bikes to school for some time, she said, and many pupils do ride already. Drive up and down New Meadow Road before school starts or when it adjourns -- especially at the end of the day -- and see for yourself.

The new sidewalks and bike lane on Kent Street, said Miguel, “should encourage more parents to allow their kids to walk or bike to school. I hope it does.”

Sidewalks also are planned for the curved parking area in front of the school. The sidewalk that runs perpendicular from New Meadow past the flagpole on the front lawn to the main entrance to the school also will be replaced.

A bunch of new bike racks also will be purchased for the school, said Town Planner Phil Hervey, who has been working on this project for several years as well. A separate project is developing safer routes to the middle school and Primrose Hill School.

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