Bicycle track among planned improvements
Project to connect neighborhoods
FAYETTEVILLE — Residents who live near Gulley Park soon will have a twoway bicycle track to go along with a number of ongoing improvements on Old Wire Road.
The City Council on Tuesday passed 8-0 a matching grant with the Walton Family Foundation to build the bike track from Ash Street to the park. The foundation’s commitment of up to $1.3 million will split the cost with the city.
The grant payment will come in two installments once the city acquires the right of way and once half the construction is finished. The project should be completed within two years.
Jeremy Pate with the Walton Family Foundation said the track will improve quality of life through active transportation and provide safety to bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists.
“I personally have taken my children on bike to Gulley Park for Gulley Park shows,” he said. “At times it’s dangerous and I never did it again. However, this will correct that.”
The track will stretch just short of a mile along the east side of Old Wire Road. The two-way path for bicycles will be 8 ½ feet wide with a 6-footwide sidewalk next to it. The track will separate bicyclists from motorists with lights and flat stone dividers and a buffer strip will lie between the track and sidewalk.
Bicycle-specific signals will be at the intersection with Township Street. Markings and protected crossings will go in other spots along the corridor.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan thanked the foundation and city staff for working together to make the project possible.
“This has been, truly, a really good partnership,” he said.
Work to redo the intersection at Old Wire Road and Mission Boulevard wrapped up earlier this year. Improvement to Old Wire Road from Mission to Ash Street should finish in the fall. Features include wider sidewalks, a trail, bicycle lanes and a left turn lane at Ash. The city’s transportation bond program paid for those projects.
In other business, the council approved rezoning about 11 acres at Rolling Hills Drive and Old Missouri Road. The rezoning will open a portion of the wooded area to commercial and residential development.
Council members took a tour of the area Monday. The portion of rezoned land doesn’t touch the property line with Butterfield Trail Elementary School, nor does it include the highly visible Keenan Tower House.
Alderwoman Sarah Bunch of Ward 3 said the rezoning promotes infill and will connect neighborhoods to amenities.
“I think this rezoning will be the catalyst that will start us down the road of better connectivity for all of the area over there,” she said.
A draft of the city’s mobility plan update suggests connecting Rolling Hills to Crossover Road. That potential project would require separate council action and no time or money has been set for it, Planning Director Andrew Garner said.
Jordan also announced the first meeting for the Compensation Study Committee set for 4:30 p.m. July 31. Several police officers and firefighters requested the committee be formed during a sometimes heated March council meeting to address pay raises for city employees.
Half the City Council, police and fire representatives, and city officials will sit on the committee. A market study released this year showed the city’s police and firefighters, who are on a step pay system, trailed the regional rate by 15.6 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.
Jordan said the committee will discuss ways to adjust the pay plan without significantly cutting services.
“I hope we just have a good, thorough discussion and we come to a resolution to this,” he said.