Archive for Monday, July 3, 2006

Bicycling enthusiasts advocate extending trails

July 3, 2006


Though they still have a long way to go, area proponents of a biking and hiking trail are stepping up their efforts to get one extended from Berryton to Clinton Lake and ultimately to Lawrence.

"It's all coming together. This is just one of the last pieces," said Clark Coan, a Lawrence resident and member of the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy.

If, indeed, it comes together, the Landon Trail would be one of several proposed and existing trails that would interconnect and weave their way into the Kansas City metropolitan area and on to the more famous Katy Trail in Missouri.

"I think it will be really popular and get a lot of usage," bicycle enthusiast Eric Struckhoff said. "A lot of people use the trails that are in Lawrence."

Struckhoff, chairman of the Lawrence-Douglas County Bicycle Advisory Committee, has been working with the conservancy to plan for the trail extension.

Earlier this year, resolutions of support for the project were approved by the Topeka City Council and the Lawrence City Commission because the trail would be a path that would link the two cities. In the near future, support will be sought from the Douglas County Commission, Struckhoff said.

A new 15-mile trail would link the Landon Trail with the South Lawrence Trafficway hike and bike path and the new Sanders Mound path near Clinton Lake Overlook. Other trails would tie in with a proposed trail along Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence.

But it is a complicated project that could take years to complete. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks will have to become involved, and their approval - as well as the general public's - will be needed.

Managers at Clinton Lake for the corps and the parks department are just learning about it.

"It's so preliminary right now the only thing I can tell you is we would be very receptive to meeting with them," said Lew Ruona, operations manager at Clinton Lake. "It is going to take a tremendous amount of planning."

John Silovsky, regional public land manager for the wildlife and parks department, agreed.

"We're just going to have to sit down and have a little brainstorming session," he said.

The proposed trail generally would be 8 to 10 feet wide and covered by concrete or crushed limestone. It would pass through a variety of terrain from its start at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka to Berryton.

From Berryton, it will run about nine miles to the Richland area at the west edge of the Clinton wildlife land area. That portion should be complete by the end of the year, Coan said.

The wildlife land is part of the corps territory leased to the wildlife and parks department, which manages it.

The conservancy, which manages trails made from former rail lines, owns the trail up to Richland. Another entity would be needed to manage the trail through the federal property.

The cost for surfacing a trail is about $10,000 per mile, Coan said. Conservancy members volunteer their time to maintain it. No public funding is sought for the trail. Instead it will come from private donations and federal transportation enhancement grants, Coan said.

The exact path of the trail through the area at the south edge of Clinton Lake still needs to be determined, and that decision won't come easily or quickly. The area is federally designated for wildlife, not recreation or multipurpose uses, so some change would be necessary, Ruona said. Moreover, the terrain is rugged.

"You are going to have a lot of ravines, a lot of culverts," Ruona said.

Although the trail likely will take years to complete, it will be worth it, Struckhoff said.

"I like being outside," he said. "You're roaming out in nature and you can just relax."


fletch 11 years, 11 months ago

Great to hear! Area cyclists have been dreaming of a good Lawrence-Topeka trail for years. The Katy trail across Missouri is a wonderful public works project that has resulted in many thriving tourist related businesses along the way, from local bike shops to bed and breakfasts. These cycling routes provide a wonderful exercise outlet as a low cost. Cheers all around on this.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

...and when the area cyclists get this trail, the county should ban riding bicycles on 2-lane roads because some bicyclists do not believe in sharing the road, especially when it is a no passing zone.

irishblues 11 years, 11 months ago

Yes, please give them a trail, perhaps they will stay off old 10. NORMALLY, the cyclist move to the side of the road when riding out this way, still a hazard tho, to them and to me. What really honks me is the cyclist who ride 2 abreast and DON"T get over. These are usually men in full cycling regalia. You KNOW who you are and I hope you're reading this. And before you blast, me - I too was a cyclist, I do share the road with you, but ride somewhere safer than on old 10 and E. 15th street. In a serious pinch, or one fleck of trouble, you leave us both with no where to go!

Richard Heckler 11 years, 11 months ago

The sooner the better. Don't condemn all cyclists for the actions of a few. Drivers can do irritating things as well such as run red lights, see how close they can get to a cyclist and then scream at the top of their lungs and some cyclist run stop stop signs etc etc.

Two abreast is legal. I avoid the heavily traveled streets most of time simply because of the comfort zone. However as gas prices increase more cyclists will show up on the road so may as well get used to it. If caught behind cyclists that much time is not lost and a passing opportunity will come so why not think patience.

Some people enjoy riding a bike more than driving a car because it healthy for body,mind and our air. It's also more fun. Recently a healthy and long term sex life was noted in an article regarding the benefits of regular exercise. Cycling comes in as a good exercise yet low impact on the joints.


average 11 years, 11 months ago

What do you mean, "choose somewhere safer than old K-10". It ain't always about giggles. There are times I need to go to Eudora. You've got a friggin four-lane superhighway half a mile away that cyclists aren't allowed on. But I have to find some non-existant "safer" way to get to Eudora?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

One mention of bicycles in an article, and the lard-butts who can't even walk a block for another pack of cigs are spouting more classic Filbert! drivel.

pundit 11 years, 11 months ago

. Don't get me wrong, I'm supportive, but:

"No public funding is sought for the trail. Instead it will come from private donations and federal transportation enhancement grants, Coan said."

Isn't fed transportation money public funding?

monkeyhawk 11 years, 11 months ago

The advocates of the trail could not possibly be some of the same ones who are standing the way of the SLT, could they? If so, perhaps a taste of their own medicine?

Seems to fit the perfect profile of smart growth.

And by the way, my butt (and the rest of me) is quite firm.

conservative 11 years, 11 months ago

I'd love to see this completed. The trails around this area are awesome and better than other area's I've biked, but it's always nice to have new routes to travel.

Irish, the rules for cycling include that we are supposed to ride 2 abreast. The ones who ride in a huge pack are breaking the law, but the ones riding 2 abreast are following it to the letter.

noodle 11 years, 11 months ago

I think this would be wonderful for our community!

blessed3x 11 years, 11 months ago

How about a usage fee? Maybe a permit the bicyclists have to buy and display on their bike giving them permission to ride on the trails. It would help raise money for the expansion and maintenance of the trails and prove usage of the trails for future expansion needs.

LongGoneFromLarryville 11 years, 11 months ago

Y'all need to get out more. This isn't exactly a cutting-edge concept. Coan's group and others like it have worked for years to piece together scenic links such as these.

Trails such as these are popular with riders all over the country. ("Tourist money" is as also known as "Other People's Money", just like when you take from the gubmint. It's ok!)

Do they cost money? Sure. Did the 4-lane highway that takes your bass-boat-hauling SUV out to Clinton Lake cost a heck of a lot more? I don't know - let's have Marion figure it out for us.

Usage fee? Great idea. What do you pay to plunk your boat down the ramp at the Lake? Make it the same - recreation is recreation. Yours is subsidized, mine is not?

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

stop this bicycle trail!

the area is potentially the habitat of the mountain lion - mountain lions are protected and it might be unsafe -getting attacked- (or stalked) while riding, and putting in a bicycle path through mountain lion country (numerous sightings at clinton lake) is detrimental to the environment of this species... a FULL environmental impact study is needed. call in the corps of engineers!

also, it will be traveling through an area that used to be an ocean. there might be fossils of our ancestors. Some people might consider them sacred.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 11 months ago

hey reality check....kiss my a$$, that lexus going 100mph is not driven by a "redneck" ......keep your racist and classist mouth shut and remember they could survive without you much easier than you could without them.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

well they better keep their eys open for big cats, I hear they are on the rise: I am all for bike trail and all but their are some bike riders that do not really have any better manners than some dumb car drivers trails or no trails there will always be some on both sides that are just plain dumb and rude.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

this bicycle path would be an infringement on the mountain lions lurking at clinton lake. many studies need to be done to see if there are mountain lions and how it will affect their habitat, and if mountain lions are not found, we need to see if this bicycle trail would affect their habitat if mountain lions decided to make a comeback in kansas. i think there are mountain lions at clinton lake. i seriously think i saw one running across the dam road a couple of years ago. also, what about the deer migration and the effects this construction will do to their precious pristine wilderness they call home, and of course the mountain lions who use the deer as food. would this bicycle path curtail the mountain lions' food supply?

this is why there needs to be studies done. we could have a write-in candidate next election - vote for 'manny the mountain lion.'

...sounds vaguely familiar doesn't it?

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

...perhaps in 30 years a bicycle path will be built....that is of course, if the federal government has that kind of money laying around to spend at that time.

stop the bikeway!

freudian_slip 11 years, 11 months ago

This is funny. The other day people were arguing that the lady claiming to see a mountain lion by the river was crazy, and now people don't want a bicycle trail because it infringes on mountain lion habitat.

They're here...they're not...they're here again...

The trail would be a great addition, especially since it utilizes volunteer labor and private donations. If mountain lions attack humans, kill'em.

average 11 years, 11 months ago

blessed3x - The one rail-trail with Kansas state involvement, the Prairie Spirit, does indeed have user fees. Proud to have paid it every year since the first, even though it's totally on the honor system (I've never been asked to show proof-of-payment).

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

freudian slip, it all goes back to 'agnes t. frog' the elusive frog supposedly living in the wetlands and the south lawrence trafficway - thus the 'manny the mountain lion' reference. you must be new to town. in later years came the elusive salamanders supposedly crossing 31st street to mate -down by the wetlands.

since the mountain lion is an elusive critter, more study about its habitat needs to be taken into consideration before a bikeway gets built.

i'm just showing a little tit for tat. no bypass, no bikeway - both arguments for or against should apply to both. i see a possibility of a bikeway in 30 years, when there aren't any funds available for it to be built -just like the SLT today - but the bikeway needs to be put to a public vote first - wouldn't want something done like this without public input.

freudian_slip 11 years, 11 months ago

You are correct, Lunacy, that I am relatively new to Lawrence (within 2 years). Forgive the naivete. I agree these things should be voted on and not left to the devices of what I'm learning is a jacked up city government to a large extent.

monkeyhawk 11 years, 11 months ago

LD- I propose we start a movement against the bike path for your above stated reasons. There really do need to be environmental impact studies done. Not only are the mountain lions in danger of being overrun by spandex, I'm sure there are many more edangered species lurking along the trail.

Where do we start the letter writing campaign?

(Some may think this is in jest...)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Pretty much everything you say is a joke, isn't it, monkeyhawk?

fletch 11 years, 11 months ago

I never really understood why people have such hostility towards cyclists. I hear arguments like "they don't obey traffic laws" or "they take up too much of the road" and apparently that is enough for you to condemn the whole group. But have you looked at other drivers recently? Most of them don't signal lane changes. A lot of them run stop signs. Too many of them go slowly on two lane roads out in the country and make it hard for you to pass them. I don't think you're mad at cyclists. I think yuo're mad at human beings. We're dumb. We're inconsiderate. Sorry. That's life. If you don't like the way a cyclist is behaving, try to respond in a mature way. I say mature, because many of you proclaim to be old and mature when talking down to people about being young and immature. So respond in a mature way if you see a cyclist doing something dumb. Don't roll up to the back wheel to scare them. Donk honk from a foot away. Try to roll up next to them and say something out your window (and I don't mean curse at them). Flash your brights at them if you want to pass.

Oh, and if you're going to complain about traffic laws, read up on them. Bikes are allowed to use a full lane on city streets, FM roads, and many state highways, but are required to stay as near to the right as they can while avoiding parked objects, pedestrians, other bikes, and any debris they judge to be dangerous. This is why we don't ride on the shoulder unless it is clear. Most shoulders are full of broken glass, bits of fiberglass and metal, blown truck tires, rocks, chipped pavement, etc. You wouldn't make it 100 feet before a blowout. That's why we stay in a lane. A bike plus rider is only about 3 feet across. That leaves you a good deal of space to pass. Additionally, two abreast is considered the standard riding formation for numerous safety reasons. Cyclists are to stay on the road unless an alternative path has been provided next to the road. This doesn't mean sidewalks, which are usually not wide or flat enough for an adult cyclist to manuever on (and filled with pedestrians who have the right of way on sidewalks).

So just because a cyclist is on a road irritates you, doesn't mean it's illegal. The Department of Transportation has seen fit that the roads can handle them, so why can't you?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

All votes are in, and it's unanimous that you one funny guy (or gal?)

Richard Heckler 11 years, 11 months ago

How about a user fee aka tax? $5.00 per bike annually. I'd do it.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago is ironic that the person who proposes to 'pave paradise and put up a bicycle path' also sued the kansas department of transportation to stop the south lawrence trafficway. you'd think mountain lions cannot digest spandex. reminds me of the dog who ate a reel to reel tape. it was coming out both ends. this is cause enough to stop this bikeway.

average 11 years, 11 months ago

Most likely, some of each. Like the Prairie Spirit trail and a number of trails I've ridden in Minnesota and on the east coast, it will likely be limestone pug for most of it, but the most heavily-used in-town parts may be concrete if the city floats the project. The Prairie Spirit is pug, but concrete in Ottawa and Garnett.

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