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Wichita council approves 10-year plan to improve bike paths

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, at 5:53 p.m.

City council members took another step toward enhanced bicycling in Wichita on Tuesday, when they approved a 10-year $12.5 million master plan to improve bike paths.

The council also established an 11-member advisory task force and approved a series of grant applications to link the city’s bicycle paths.

To frequent applause from the audience, the council threw its weight behind an admittedly optimistic plan to help grow bicycling in the city, one Vice Mayor Janet Miller called “exciting.”

The plan includes key projects to be financed by $500,000 in city capital improvements money every two years, or $2.5 million over 10 years, with federal grant money picking up the rest of the tab. However, as city staffer Scott Wadle told the council Tuesday, it’s a wish list “from 20,000 feet” with federal funding largely uncertain.

The council also approved a series of transportation enhancement applications to the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization for a combined total of $15.6 million of federal grants, targeting these projects in the plan:

• Extending the First and Second Street bike lanes from I-135 to the Arkansas River

• Installing bike lanes on Second Street from the Arkansas River to Hoover

• Installing a bicycle boulevard, a low-speed automobile street targeted for biking, from Douglas to K-96 on Armour

• Installing bike lane markings on Douglas from St. Paul to Edgemoor

• Pending more study, installing a side path connection under I-235 and across the Big Ditch for an interstate crossing at Central or Maple

• Installing bike lanes from 21st to Mount Vernon on Market and Topeka

• Installing bike lanes from Broadway to Woodlawn on Mt. Vernon

• Installing a signal to cross Ridge Road and Westport to reach Sedgwick County Park, and adding a bicycle boulevard starting at Ridge running west to Glenhurst, then south along Holland Lane, Country Acres and Woodchuck to University

• Installing a bicycle boulevard starting at 13th and Perry, running north to 21st Street, and installing shared lane markings on 17th and then 19th from I-135 to Perry

• Installing a bicycle boulevard at Douglas and Sycamore, running south and west to Glenn

• Constructing a path on former railroad right-of-way between Koch Industries and Bradley Fair from Oliver across Rock Road to K-96

In addition, the city will also submit an application for a scenic and environmental project to build a sediment basin, wetlands and micropool system to treat runoff at Crystal Prairie Lake Park.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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