Archived Story

Trail expense minimal on Vernon [UPDATED]

Published 10:27am Thursday, November 14, 2013 Updated 12:30pm Thursday, November 14, 2013

Last Sunday’s editorial in support of furthering bicycle culture in Fergus Falls (“Fergus has a great start for bikers”, Nov. 3) was a feather in the cap of the burgeoning movement.

However, characterization of the League of American Bicyclists’s recommendation to create bike lanes as “expensive” warrants further examination.

While such language is a sure-fire way to fan passions and maintain a veneer of editorial prudence, it was perhaps the wrong word choice.

“Expensive” is a relative term when discussing bike lanes, especially the on-street striped kind.

When compared to doing nothing, yes, but when taken in the context of a larger road (re)construction project, laying down paint is a fraction of a percent of the total cost.

For example, the current Vernon Avenue project was bid at approximately $744,000 (up from the original engineer’s estimate of $560,000).

This is for approximately 1000’ of street, with sewer and water replacement. That’s about $744 per foot, curb-to-curb.

Bike lane striping, based on my research of published estimates of other projects around the country, runs from about $0.50 to $3 per linear foot, depending on the durability of the paint used (more expensive paint leads to less frequent repainting) and the design of the lane.

To add a bike lane to this section of Vernon, for example, would incur an additional $500 to $3,000, which is 0.06 percent to 0.4 percent of the project’s total cost.

One hopes that future activists who rally around the issue of making Fergus Falls a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly city can make the case to fellow residents and city officials alike that this kind of expense is money well spent.


Jake Krohn

Fergus Falls


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