City leaders approved an ordinance last week to secure funding for the proposed Busch Creek Greenway biking and walking path.
The Washington City Council approved an agreement Jan. 2 with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant to fund the 3-mile-long trail. The council voted 8-0 in favor of the ordinance.
The path would start at Jefferson and Eighth streets and head east before ultimately connecting with the eastern entrance of the Rotary Riverfront Trail. The path would run next to the skate park at Optimist Park and the dog park as well.
The federal portion of the grant is $580,162. The city match would be about $145,000.
The plan calls for a mixture of on- and off-street trails. The project would involve the city constructing a 10-foot path along Busch Creek on city-owned property.
The path would start at the trailhead at Jefferson and Eighth streets. The area where the old Frick’s building stood would be a parking lot for vehicles and bikes, and contain signage about things to do in Washington.
The path would stay off the street and run along the creek until it got to MacArthur Street. The path would jump onto MacArthur and head north, before moving east on Eighth Street.
From Eighth Street, the path would head south onto Camp Street and then go east on Ninth Street until it went back off-street at Ninth and International.
The on-street portion of the trail is similar to the current bike trail already designated by the city. For the new path there would be no infrastructure changes and the city would not be adding any bike lanes or building sidewalks.
Instead there would be more signs directing people where to go on the greenway and street “sharrows” — painted markings on the street to show the road should be shared between bicyclists and vehicles.
The on-street portion of the project has caused the most concern for residents along the trail. Several residents along the route said they were worried about increased bike traffic on city streets.
The two main areas of concern were MacArthur Street and the Camp Street area.
Other concerns ranged from a perceived property value decrease and the cost to taxpayers for maintenance. It is estimated to cost $15,000 annually to maintain.
Proponents of the trail say greenways and greenbelts are attractive to young families.
Other residents have stated the stream is an “underutilized resource.” Cities with more walking and biking trails typically are healthier communities and trails could attract tourism and increase the tax base.