At 3:10 each afternoon, girls in khaki jumpers and boys in navy shorts and white knit shirts spill out of Britton Elementary School on NW 95.
Some head toward Western Avenue, a block away, where a new sidewalk is going in between Britton and Hefner roads.
For Principal Kimberly Zachery, the mile-long strip of concrete is a welcome addition to Britton Elementary's neighborhood.
“To me it makes you more of a community and neighborhood,” she said. No less important: “Having the sidewalk enables the children to not be in the street.”
The sidewalk is among the first tangible signs that MAPS 3 sales tax dollars are finding their way back into the community, in this case retrofitting a well-worn walking path that cuts through weeds and driveways along a busy four-lane road.
The project near Britton Elementary topped a list of proposed sidewalks that once comprised 215 miles. Proximity to schools and heavy use were the top criteria used to rank projects.
The list has been pared down; it's now expected that $6.8 million for sidewalk construction under MAPS 3 will buy 30 to 40 miles of new pavement. That's about half what voters were promised in the campaign for approval of the 1-cent MAPS 3 sales tax.
For comparison purposes, the city has about 8,000 lane-miles of streets.
The sidewalk near Britton Elementary is included in the first of several phases of construction, this one centered in north Oklahoma City at a cost of $1 million. The city council Tuesday approved $1.2 million for the next phase, for seven sidewalks in south Oklahoma City.
Sidewalks are an important part of MAPS 3 — which includes flashier projects such as a streetcar and white-water rafting course — because “we've got to make this community more walkable,” Mayor Mick Cornett said.