The Golden Valley City Council unanimously approved a bikeway feasibility study May 16 for a bike trail that, if approved, would travel along Wayzata Boulevard from Cedar Lake Road to Wirth Parkway.
The bikeway would run through parts of Minneapolis, Golden Valley and St. Louis Park. The project is anticipated to cost $2.2 million, $1.6 million of which would come from Golden Valley.
“I think (the three municipalities) want to get together and at least have a coordinated plan so that there aren’t any big surprises,” said Eric Eckman, Golden Valley’s public works specialist.
Councilmember Joanie Clausen questioned if the project is budgeted for in the future.
“I’m not aware of this being programmed or budgeted anywhere at this time,” Eckman said. “So, this is really just a planning level study to just kind of take a look at what are we working with in these three communities. What are the challenges? What are the opportunities? What would it take to solve some of the issues we’re hearing about in this area including making a bikeway that’s continuous and connects to a lot of the local and regional destinations?”
Clausen questioned how long the project would take to complete, if approved.
According to Eckman, first, the city needs to determine how this project ranks against the many other potential projects when looking at the city’s comprehensive and capital improvement plans.
City Manager Tim Cruikshank said staff members will begin trying to layer the bikeway into long-term budget documents to be discussed at a later date.
Staff members recommend the project be completed in conjunction with Wayzata Boulevard’s pavement rehabilitation, which is anticipated in 12 to 17 years. Segments in other communities can be completed at any time, according to Eckman.
The Wayzata Boulevard Corridor Bikeway Feasibility Study was pursued due to concerns from neighbors about safety, speed, sight distance and traffic volume along the roadway.
Additionally, Eckman said the Department of Transportation approached Golden Valley and neighboring city officials, recommending they look into this area and noted that the county had a grant opportunity for a feasibility study on the project.
In the spring of 2015, Golden Valley, with the support of St. Louis Park and Minneapolis, applied for and was awarded a $17,500 grant for the $35,000 study.
The feasibility study addressed existing roadway conditions, issues and opportunities, characteristics of concept types, alternatives, two public meetings, more alternatives and implementation.
Several concepts were explored in the study, including the addition of bike lanes on the boulevard, a bike boulevard or an off-street multi-use trail.
The city hosted open houses in spring and summer 2016 and the study was reviewed by the bicycle and pedestrian task force.
Contact Gina Purcell at [email protected]