DURANT – Work is being done on the streets across the city of Durant to help make access for pedestrians safer as they cross some of the main roads.
And the streets themselves are becoming more colorful in the process.
In a collaborative effort, the TSET Healthy Living Program along with the City of Durant, the Choctaw Nation and Main Street Durant, have begun work on crosswalks with high visibility.
The TSET (Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust) program is a state agency and money brought in through this avenue is to be used for programs and grants to help improve the health of all Oklahomans.
Lesa Curry, who works with the Bryan County Health Department and is a wellness coordinator with the TSET program in Durant, said the part of the focus of the program is to create access to healthy foods, as well as improved walkability.
“The city was in need of crosswalks and we volunteered and wanted to make crosswalks and to purchase the items needed, since the city was in a budget crunch,” Curry said. “Under our TSET Healthy Living Grant, we have money designated for active living and transportation strategies, and crosswalks fall under that.”
Curry said the main priorities for her group are the intersections at Washington and Main and also at Ninth and Main.
“There are convenience stores here and a small retailer and a food bank across the street on the north side of Main Street,” Curry said. “It helps create access to healthy options and links the south side of the city to the north so they can cross safely.”
Curry and Brandi Maness, another wellness coordinator with the program, were working on the crosswalks on Wednesday, alongside men with the City of Durant’s Street Department.
And the crosswalks are not simply white stripes on a black pavement. They are colorful and easily noticed.
“The collaborative group got together and looked at what people are doing in other towns,” Curry said. “And they are doing designed crosswalks that draw attention. I think the plain white crosswalks that we’ve had for years don’t catch the attention of our drivers like the designed ones do.
“They’re doing this in a lot of communities across the country. So we just used the colors of our TSET program, our logo has these colors. Main Street and the Choctaw Nation are choosing their own designing colors.”
The TSET colors used are orange, yellow, green and white.
With the paint she acquired, Curry said her group could do about 10 crosswalks, and that Main Street and Choctaw Nation were doing some also.
“It’s exciting and it’s good to see in our town.”