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By: Nathan Currie
A section of sidewalk planned nearly 10 years ago is nearing construction. The sidewalk, currently under design by Sain Associates, will connect to existing sidewalk near the intersection of Hermosa Drive and Poinciana Drive in Homewood. It will pass beneath US Highway 280 before continuing east along 20th Place Access Road and the US 280 Ramp to the Cahaba Road intersection. A new pedestrian crosswalk will be installed across Cahaba Road to connect to existing sidewalks.
In 2010, the Freshwater Land Trust developed a greenway master plan for Jefferson County and called it the Red Rock Trail System. A part of this trail system became known as the “Zoo Loop”, as it envisioned a loop of sidewalks and greenway trails which would circle the properties of the Birmingham Zoo and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Jumping forward eight years now, we can see the results of this planning effort as much of the plan has become a reality, with sidewalks already in place along Cahaba Road and Lane Park Road. The Zoo Connector Sidewalk is yet another piece of the Loop as it will border the southern portion of the Zoo property.
Why is the Zoo Connector Sidewalk so important?
- The sidewalk will connect the cities of Homewood, Mountain Brook, and Birmingham. The sidewalk is located in the City of Birmingham; however it connects to existing sidewalks located in Homewood along Hermosa Drive and Poinciana Drive and to existing sidewalks in Mountain Brook along Cahaba Road.
- Not only does it connect cities, it connects residential neighborhoods to destinations such as the Zoo, Botanical Gardens, and Mountain Brook Village.
- There is a well beaten dirt path along the side of the road indicating this is already a heavily used path for pedestrians. Having a sidewalk, along with pedestrian signs and marked crosswalks will enhance the safety of pedestrians.
Currently, the sidewalk design plans are approximately 85% complete. Construction is expected to begin in early 2019.