Regional bike trail routes proposed

Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:00 am

By Steve Peterson

Residents and bicycle enthusiasts had a chance to view options for the Floyd River Valley Trail Study at a public forum in Le Mars on March 19 at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor on a chilly one of the final winter days.

In April 2012, the Siouxland Regional Transportation Planning Association (SRTPA) formed a Regional Bike Group to start discussions on putting together a study that would evaluate the feasibility of a trail between the communities of Sioux City and Le Mars.

“We anticipated the study would take about a year. We would like to form a bike trail association with the communities of Le Mars, Merrill, Hinton and Sioux City getting together,” said Kellee Van Bruggen, transportation planner at Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO).

“A regional bike trail would increase the health of all its users and communities’ chances of a Blue Zone designation and help in the quality of life. We have people from age 6 to 80s in our club,” said Mike Sturgeon, vice president of Plymouth Cyclists Club.

Three possible scenarios are outlined in the study:

• A “Today Route” focusing on routes that are currently being used by cyclists in the region and recommends installing “Share the Road” signs along the route.

• A “Mainline Route” along U.S. Highway 75, along an old abandoned railroad line, with a separated trail. Its cost is roughly $7.5 to $10 million; and

• A “Scenic Route” identifying the desire among the interested parties in having a more scenic option for the trail. No scenic routes have been identified in the study.

The plan can be viewed on SIMPCO’s website at www.simpco.org/simpco/projects/html.

The path would be 10-feet wide and probably be asphalt.

Future goals are working toward gathering funds the “Share The Road” signs and implement the “Today Route” of the trail for users to operate.

The trail association would work toward funding portions of the “Mainline Route” and working with key stakeholders in identifying areas that would work for the “Scenic Route.”

As phased projects move forward, communication with involved landowners and the public will be constant throughout the process.

Groups included in the process include elected officials from City of Sioux City; Woodbury County Conservation; Siouxland Chamber of Commerce; Siouxland Trails Foundation; Pipe Dream Camping and Tubing; Iowa House of Representatives; Plymouth County Conservation; City of Le Mars; Iowa Department of Transportation; City of Hinton; HR Green; Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; City of Merrill; Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Plymouth County Cyclists; Woodbury County Supervisors; Bike Central of Le Mars and Plymouth County Supervisors.

Questions or comments may be directed to Van Bruggen at kellee@simpco.org or call 712-279-6286.

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