Riding for a Cause

The Washington Park Board got its first look at plans for a proposed new biking/walking path in the city.

Planning Director Sal Maniaci and Parks and Recreation Director Darren Dunkle unveiled plans for the Busch Creek Greenway at a meeting Thursday night.

The proposed path would start at Eighth and Jefferson streets and extend east all the way to the eastern entrance of the Rotary Riverfront Trail. The path will be both on and off city streets and follow the footprint of Busch Creek.

Maniaci said the city is hoping grant funding will help pay for the path. The city is applying for grant funding from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

The Transportation Alternative Grants are 80-20 splits with the city covering 20 percent of the project’s total cost. Dunkle said estimates are still pending, but the concrete work alone could cost $450,000.

The deadline to apply for the grant is in June. Maniaci said the plans need to be presented to the city council, but the city wanted the park board to weigh in first. The park board unanimously backed the plan.

Busch Creek Greenway

Maniaci said the idea for the path comes from a 2011 study of a “bikeable/walkable” plan for the city. The Busch Creek area was targeted as an ideal area for a bike route.

Since 2011, the plan has been modified and scaled down. Maniaci said the original plan called for a path on a lot of private property and the city worked to reroute the proposed course to mostly city-owned properties.

The path is slated to start at Jefferson and Eighth streets. Maniaci said the city would like to make that area the trailhead with things like parking, bike racks and informational signs.

The trail will head south along the creek until it hits Sunnyside Street. Maniaci said plans call for the trail to split somewhat. Heading south, the trail would run along Sunnyside until it reaches Washington High School.

Maniaci said the city would earn “points” with East-West Gateway by connecting with a school.

The bulk of the trail, however, will head north at Sunnyside and keep running along the creek. When the path reaches Highway 47, the proposal calls for the route to head north on MacArthur Street and then east on Eighth Street.

Maniaci said the on-street part of the trail is already a bike route. He said there would be upgrades to the streets to include signage and painting to alert bikers and drivers to share the road.

At Eighth Street and Highway 47, Maniaci said there would be an option for bikers to go north and connect with the trail on the new Missouri River bridge. That trail is expected to connect with the Katy Trail.

Bikers also can continue east along Eighth Street before heading south on Camp Street and then east along Ninth Street until jumping back off-street at International Avenue.

The path would run along the creek at Ninth and Southbend Drive until dipping behind South Point Elementary School. The trail would then move onto Old Highway 100 before heading north on Simmonds Drive and reaching the eastern entrance of the riverfront trail.

Next Steps

Maniaci said the loop of the trail after connecting with the riverfront trail would be about 7 miles.

The actual path would be all concrete, Dunkle said. Concrete is easier to maintain and holds up longer, he said.

The path does touch Washington School District property, Maniaci said. The city plans to meet with the school to discuss working together, but meetings were delayed with last week’s flooding.

Maniaci said there is no time line for the actual project. Funding could be secured for as early as 2018, but there’s no set start date.

The next step in the project is nailing down an early budget before the May 22 administration/operations committee meeting. After that, Maniaci said a public hearing is tentatively set for Wednesday, May 31, to let citizens weigh in on the proposal.