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‘Bicycle Master Plan’ could be in the works Group looking to add trails

Published 11:04am Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Patrick Hollister, active living planner with PartnerSHIP 4 Health, knows what he wants to be celebrating on New Years Eve at the end of 2015: The creation of a Fergus Falls “Bicycle Master Plan.”

Hollister, along with Fergus Falls Planning Commission member Wayne Hurley, and Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Subcommittee member Jake Krohn, have volunteered to gather community and city input and put together a the plan.

“This would be a plan for future infrastructure improvements … envisioning a 20-year time frame,” Hollister said.

He is imagining a document that would include an ultimate build-out of bicycle infrastructure in Fergus Falls, including maps of possible street improvements and trails, Hollister said.

The Planning Commission made the recommendation Monday to approve the plan. The city council will make the final decision.

The exact process for the plan has yet to be determined, but on Monday Hollister presented a draft outlining the process.

“There wouldn’t be any years attached,” Hollister said. “Nor would there be specific cost figures. I think what we’re ultimately looking at is a guide document.”

It will be similar to what a Capital Improvement Plan is for the city, according to Community Development Director and City Planner Gordon Hydukovich, where it’s a guide for projects to be completed over the coming years.

It’s likely that components of the plan would get shifted into the city’s capital improvement plan, according to Hollister.

The first item of business to complete the Bicycle Master Plan would be a kick-off meeting at City Hall, where the community would be invited to learn about the plan and provide input through group exercises allowing people to write comments or suggestions on maps.

 

Anonymous surveys from community members would help the group identify correlations between demographics and biking attitudes and habits. The trio would also meet with service clubs and hold neighborhood meetings to get the details on the pros and cons of biking in the different neighborhoods in Fergus Falls.

“They would be very neighborhood specific,” Hollister said.

Hurley, Krohn and Hollister hope to then have a public meeting regarding the final draft of the bike plan, before moving it through the various city committees and commissions, ending with approval from the city council.

Gordon gave a few suggestions for what to include, but overall he thinks the Bicycle Master Plan is a good idea.

“It is an important transportation aspect for the city,” Hydukovich said. “It’s going to be an adventure.”

Having volunteers create the plan would also be a smart budget decision for the city, Hydukovich said. The alternative would be to hire a consulting firm.

Krohn thinks a master plan like this “would garner some more support and enthusiasm” from more community members than they’ve heard from in the past.

“I think a plan like this could help draw that out,” Krohn said.

 

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