Let’s Study Biking!

May 28, 2013 at 7:31 am Leave a comment


By Andrew Richter

As if there aren’t enough bike paths that nobody uses;

Golden Valley City Council has approved $20,000 to put toward a feasibility study for the Bassett Creek Regional Trail that will run throughout the city.

Why?

The city previously applied to the Bikeway Development Participation Program offered by Hennepin County. The program aims to support and enhance bikeways within the county. Hennepin County will be matching Golden Valley’s $20,000, making it a $40,000 study.

$40,000 for a Study?

At May 7 city council meeting, the decision was not unanimous. Paula Pentel, a council member, questioned the lack of assistance given by Three Rivers Park District. “It strikes me that Three Rivers Parks should be putting money into this,” she said. “I don’t know why we’re putting any of our money into it.”

It’s all taxpayer money.

Jeanine Clancy, Public Works Director, explained that Three Rivers Park District will be  participating in the study and has the alignment in its comprehensive plan but does not yet have the bikeway in its capital improvement plan. The alignment of the trail was supported by the council in 2011 and finalized by Three Rivers Park District in 2012. At this juncture the bikeway seems to be more of a concern for the city than Three Rivers Park District, according to Clancy.

“I love to ride my bike,” she said. “I look forward to this Bassett Creek Regional Trail.” Despite Pentel’s enthusiasm for the bikeway, she did not support the city’s financial participation in the study. “It strikes me that if we are doing the work that we are doing and paying for, Hennepin County is subsidizing us to do the work that Three Rivers Park District should be doing at the time that they want to construct a trail,” Pentel said.

Mayor Shep Harris agreed, yet he and all other council members voted for the funding and the study. “In my opinion, as I understand it, the feasibility study will help us – in a sense arm us – with some information as we go forward with this planning process to determine what are the pros and what are the cons for this proposed lightrail transit as we do station area planning,” Harris said. “I think this feasibility study is going to help answer some of that.”

Is there any spending the mayor objects to?

About the study

SRF Consulting Group will be responsible for the feasibility study.

The study will begin this spring and will be complete by the end of the year. Comments will be welcomed at various times throughout the study. SRF plans to hold four meetings with affected agencies, one public open house, one city council and city staff workshop and one city council presentation.

City staff will receive monthly updates from SRF staff throughout the study. The purpose of the study will be to analyze opportunities and concerns regarding utilities, right-of-way, steep slopes, intersection crossings and other potential obstructions. The study will also address the bridge over the railway as to whether it can accomodate a bikeway that meets Three Rivers Park District standards.

Looking at the big picture, this project will be closely related to the Bottineau Transitway. “The city brought [this project] forward in an effort to be prepared for the Bottineau Transitway,” Clancy said.

Yet another indirect cost of light rail.

The study will look at three distinct segments of the bikeway: Hwy 100 to Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley Road from Regent Avenue N. to Wirth Parkway and along Golden Valley Road from Wirth Parkway to Xerxes Avenue N.

SRF predicts to complete the study by Nov. 1, 2013.

The final report will include colored maps of the alignment, existing and proposed bikeway sections and estimated cost of the project.

Aren’t you excited!!

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Entry filed under: Agenda 21, City Government, County, Golden Valley, Hennepin, Taxation, Three Rivers Park District, Transportation.

Just What We Need; A New Park & Ride! Here Comes the Agenda 21 Style Pedestrian Plan!

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