Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Bikeable-Walkable Community Plan

In July of 2007, Crystal City and Festus received the final draft of a Bikeable-Walkable Community Plan. That plan was commissioned as a joint project between the Twin Cities in cooperation with Trailnet, a non-profit dedicated to Active Living- a way of life that encourages people to integrate physical activity into their daily routines. Trail networks are seen as a tremendous asset by potential residents, especially younger families, and are looked upon very favorably by many retailers nationwide.  Trails can provide safe routes to school for children wanting to walk or ride their bikes.  They can be used by the elderly to safely enjoy traveling around town on foot or bike.  Trails serve all of our citizens as a universal amenity!  We believe that the time is right to begin implementing that plan.  As we have discussed here before in our post on Complete Streets, multi-modal transportation is the future of road design and is critical to implement in a 21st century community.  The Bikeable-Walkable Community Plan is a crucial piece of what we hope will be Crystal City's Complete Streets policy written in the near future!

The Bikeable-Walkable Community Plan is no longer available for download due to the realization that the data in the file was incomplete. Our apologies.

Our proposal: In order to promote an active lifestyle and to begin providing walkers and cyclists with a designated trail in town, Crystal City should create a basic on-street trail loop from the Crystal City Municipal Park to Hickey White Park. An additional spur should also be created along Eighth Street to the border of Festus to provide an initial link for the joint trail network.

Why a loop? Simply put, it is a fast and relatively inexpensive way to get started on a wider network of both on-street and off-street (or "greenway") trails. According to the Bikeable-Walkable Community Plan (Plan), the signs required for our on-street trails are basic "bike route" signs, with directional arrows designating turns.

Pretty simple!  These signs, placed every quarter-mile and at turns in the route, when combined with a street stencil that could be borrowed from a neighboring community, could be quickly created or purchased and placed.  An excellent opportunity to place trail signs will occur next year when Jefferson and Virginia Avenues are upgraded.  Bikes Share the Road signs have been placed into the budget for the project- hopefully this money could be used to purchase the correct signage (per the Plan and various guideline manuals) for those streets!

The basic loop would require signage along portions of the following streets:

N. Taylor Ave

11th Street

Mississippi Ave
Crystal Ave
Virginia Ave

Jefferson Ave
8th Street

This loop is easily accessible by a sizable portion of town, runs through all four wards, connects the three of our parks, goes by City Hall, the Elementary School, and the High School, and connects with Festus.  A basic start with far-reaching results!  Future projects would continue to fill in the network through on-street signage and hopefully, someday, one or more greenways- such as one to connect Williamsburg with the Municipal Park.  Greenways like the ones outlined in the Plan are frequently the most used and enjoyed aspects of a city's trail system.  We hope that Crystal City gets in the trail game soon!

Map coming soon!

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