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Planned bike trail projects need approval from Columbia City Council

Sunday, March 27, 2011 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:44 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 28, 2011
A new, curved concrete path is set to connect Green Valley Drive and Moon Valley Road, near East Broadway. The path is part of bike lane improvements in the Old 63 Grindstone Pedway project.

COLUMBIA — Three projects involving construction and reconstruction of bike trails around Columbia are set to begin, pending approval by the Columbia City Council.

Work on the Stadium MKT Connector, the Old 63 Grindstone Pedway and the Scott’s Branch Trail would help connect the bike system in town, said Ted Curtis, bike/pedestrian program manager.

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In 2006, Columbia was one of four communities chosen to receive $22 million in federal funds for a pilot program designed to promote non-motorized transportation. The funds are administered by the organizing group GetAbout Columbia.

The Stadium MKT Connector and the Grindstone Pedway both fall under the GetAbout initiative; the Scott's Branch Trail is being financed through the 2005 city sales tax for parks.

The two GetAbout projects are part of 22 other construction projects that will come from the $22 million initiative. Originally scheduled to last five years, Curtis said the GetAbout effort will continue until all the money is spent — probably an additional two years.

Here's a look at the individual projects:

Stadium MKT Connector

  • Project: This consists of constructing paved connections from the bike lanes along Stadium Boulevard to the MKT Trail on both sides of Stadium. Portions of the trail would be reconstructed to reduce the sharpness of the curves. Lighting would be added in the underpass.
  • Estimated cost: $165,000.
  • Financing: GetAbout Columbia.
  • Timeline: A public hearing for the project is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 4 at the City Council meeting. Curtis said construction should begin in spring 2012 and would take four to five months to complete.

Old 63 Grindstone Pedway

  • Project: This involves a north segment and a south segment. The north segment's changes include widening the sidewalk from 4 feet to 7 or 8 feet, constructing a 10-foot-wide concrete trail looping under the Old 63 bridge on the north bank of Hinkson Creek and building a pedestrian bridge over Hinkson Creek to connect with Moon Valley Drive. In the south segment, the sidewalk on the west side of Old 63 from Ashland Road to Grindstone Nature Area would be widened to an 8-foot pedway.
  • Estimated cost: $1.67 million.
  • Financing: GetAbout Columbia.
  • Timeline: A public hearing for the project is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 4 at the City Council meeting. Curtis said construction should begin in spring 2012 and would probably not be finished until the end of 2012.

Scott’s Branch Trail

  • Project: This involves construction of a trail that would connect the Fairview neighborhood to the future Perche Creek Trail. It would connect to Rollins Road through the Bonnie View Nature Area and would probably be 8 feet wide.
  • Estimated cost: $780,000.
  • Financing: 2005 parks sales tax.
  • Timeline: The City Council is seeking input from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission, said Mike Hood, Parks and Recreation director. The public hearing was originally scheduled for March but has been rescheduled for May. Hood said the construction should begin by late summer and would take about a year.

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Comments

Melinda Lockwood March 27, 2011 | 8:46 a.m.

We live north of town and I wonder when "they" are going to fix and make more usable the Bear Creek trail. I have contacted our city folk and am always told that it is "on the list" of trails to be repaired/made handicapped accessible. When?

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote March 27, 2011 | 9:34 a.m.

This is a much better use of city/federal funds than building parking garages on the public dime to subsidize and thus encourage(doh!) automobile use.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 27, 2011 | 11:17 p.m.

Let them tractors roll. More bike paths = awesome!

(Report Comment)
marvin saunders March 28, 2011 | 2:49 a.m.

Oh yes please waste more money on parks,bike trails & parking garages.The city streets are worst than gravel roads now.Why do the people of columbia let the city so called leaders waste all that money.Now they want to get paid for bad leadership.You people slay me.

(Report Comment)
Jason Entermyer March 28, 2011 | 10:11 a.m.

@Lockwood--I'm a regular Bear Creek Trail user and am not sure what you mean by handicap acessible. It's a gravel trail and in good shape, except after flooding. If you mean making it all concrete, then I'm with you, but there's several of my jogging friends who will always oppose concrete trails.

Also, when gas hits $4-$5 gallon this summer, there will be a greater need for off-road transportation. In 2005, we as voters approved Prop 3 which provided $15 million for fire/police and Prop 4 which provided $35 million for streets and sidewalks. Prop 4 will expire in 2012 (I think?) and that will be the next best time to add more money for streets.

I think people should know the facts about how much money has been allocated so comments like Saunders' are seen as what they are....baloney.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble March 28, 2011 | 3:41 p.m.

Glad to hear about more bike paths. One thing I wonder is why we don't see any blacktop paths in this city. As someone who both bikes and runs, I don't like concrete paths, since they are about 100x harder than the lovely gravel/dirt trails we see on the MKT, and thus bad news for anyone's leg joints. (Trust me, younger runners, this will catch up to you eventually.)

Blacktop seems to be a good compromise. Asphalt is hard and smooth, thus good for cycling and walkers who don't like rough surfaces; and it's much softer than concrete (only about 10x harder than the MKT's surface) so is better for runners, too.

Anyone care to share any potential cons to using this for our trail surfaces, or insight into why this hasn't already been done?

(Report Comment)

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