Indiana Economic Digest | Indiana
Advanced Search

• Most Recent




home : most recent : most recent October 16, 2018


10/12/2018 6:49:00 AM
Bike and pedestrian path master plan receives OK from Goshen City Council

John Kline, Goshen News

GOSHEN — After nearly three years of work, the city’s “Elkhart and Goshen Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan” has been approved and is ready for implementation.

During their meeting Tuesday evening, Goshen City Council members unanimously approved the passage of an amended version of the long-discussed comprehensive bicycling and pedestrian plan and its adoption into the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Community Vision 2025.

PROJECT RECOMMENDATIONS

The plan includes 33 projects recommended for implementation by the city.

A sampling of some of those recommended projects includes:

• Establishing a neighborhood greenway on Eighth Street from Lincoln to the Central City Trail

• Establishing a bike lane and signed route on Main Street from the Mapleheart Trail to Woodlawn Drive

• Installing a sidepath or sidewalk along the Lincoln Highway from Main Street to Kercher Road

• Installing a sidepath and separated bike lane along Main Street from Middlebury Street to the southern municipal boundary and along Third Street from the Mapleheart Trail to the Lincoln Highway

• And establishing a bike lane and sidewalk along Main Street from Westwood Road to Kercher Road.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

The plan also outlines a number of other recommendations in the areas of education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation which offer significant opportunities for efficiencies in program implementation, Goshen Civil Traffic Engineer Leslie Biek explained.

Included among the recommendations is a suggestion to maintain the project steering committee beyond the plan’s adoption in order to foster continued interagency cooperation between Goshen, Elkhart and MACOG.

Also suggested as an option is the establishment of a new pedestrian and bicycle coordinator position by either the cities or MACOG. Once established, the coordinator would then oversee several of the program recommendations, included in the plan as well as implementation of local and regional infrastructure projects.

Rounding out the primary program recommendations suggested by the plan is the establishment of a Bike and Walk Ambassador program to conduct bike-related events and interact with the public at neighborhood or citywide events, all with the goal of encouraging city residents to ride their bikes more often, and to do so safely.

GUIDANCE DOCUMENT

Rather than committing the city to any future projects, Biek during the commission’s July meeting, said she sees the new master plan as a document that can be referenced as city leaders explore future bicycle and pedestrian-related projects.

In addition, the plan can also be used to bolster the

city’s future applications for related grants and federal funding, which could be important for getting future projects completed, Biek added.

“This is more of a guidance document, priorities, where we can focus on our next projects, and then start to get funding for them,” Biek said of the plan. “So this isn’t really tying us to any particular project, but it would help with grant applications and future planning.”

ANOTHER LOOK

Tuesday’s meeting was actually the second time the master plan had come before the council in the past few months. Back in July, Goshen Plan Commission members had sent the plan to the council with a favorable recommendation. As originally presented, the plan included a section of recommended projects that was prioritized into three main sections: high-priority projects, medium-priority projects and low-priority projects. The council removed the prioritization and created just one list and sent the plan back to the plan commission for review.

PLAN HISTORY

The master plan got its start back in 2016 when the city joined Elkhart and the Michiana Area Council of Governments in applying for a grant through the Indiana State Department of Health Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. The overall goal of the grant was to assist in the planned development of a comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle plan for the two cities.

According to Biek, who first presented the plan for review during the plan commission’s January meeting, once the grant had officially been received by the partnership, MACOG immediately set about searching for a consultant team to guide the process, eventually settling on Alta Planning + Design and Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group.

With the consulting team selected, the process kicked off with a review of existing conditions in each city. The consultant team inventoried existing bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the area, conducted field visits to verify conditions in person, and evaluated related existing plans, policies and programs in the area. Existing data was assessed, including traffic stress analysis, crash data and demand analysis.

Also during this period in the plan’s development, a steering committee of about 14 local stakeholders was formed which then met at key points in the process to provide perspective on past achievements in the area, help identify priority improvement areas and provide commentary on recommendations, Biek explained.

“We also held a number of public meetings, just trying to get as much public input as we could,” Biek told the commission in January. “So we had three public meetings total, as well as an online survey, and based on the public input, and based on a number of criteria, crash studies, any type of data that we had available, any policies that we had available, and kind of comparing it all to our goals, they suggested some policy and infrastructurechanges.”

MISSION STATEMENT

Once identified, recommendations were prioritized based on criteria developed with the help of the steering committee, Biek said.

That work included formulating the plan’s primary mission statement, which includes the following three goals:

• To build and maintain transportation networks that follow Complete Street philosophies, are welcoming and connect people to the places they want to go;

• To create networks that are useful at all times of day and throughout the year; and

• To educate and promote predictable behaviors to ensure that people who walk, bike and drive can travel to and around Goshen and Elkhart safely and comfortably.

GUIDANCE DOCUMENT

Rather than committing the city to any future projects, Biek during the commission’s July meeting, said she sees the new master plan as a document that can be referenced as city leaders explore future bicycle and pedestrian-related projects.

In addition, the plan can also be used to bolster the city’s future applications for related grants and federal funding, which could be important for getting future projects completed, Biek added.

“This is more of a guidance document, priorities, where we can focus on our next projects, and then start to get funding for them,” Biek said of the plan. “So this isn’t really tying us to any particular project, but it would help with grant applications and future planning.”

 

#YYYY# Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.






Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


Software © 1998-2018 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved