Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: July 26, 2011

Kansas Trail News for July 26, 2011 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:

Sunflower To Hold Summer Meeting

The Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy will be holding its summer meeting on Saturday, August 6 in downtown Chanute. All trails enthusiasts are invited to attend. Chanute recently completed its 1.5-mile Katy Trail (a rail-trail) on the eastern edge of town. Now, plans are underway to build the Western Sky Trail (also a rail-trail) 23 miles between Chanute and Fredonia. A public meeting to discuss this project will be held at 10:00 am at Olpie’s Pizza on Main St. After the meeting, SRTC will hold its meeting at 12:00 noon in the same location. A field trip to the Katy Trail will follow the meeting at 2:30 pm.

KC Bike/Ped Advocacy Group Forms

Below are excerpts from a mailing from BikeWalkKC:

BikeWalkKC advocates for cyclist and pedestrian-friendly facilities and policies, encouraging cities and communities to fund and build trails, bike lanes and sidewalks. We initiate policy change, like Complete Streets and development code reform and support the development of the MetroGreen system via regional funding options and/or a land trust organization.

BikeWalkKC envisons a Kansas City Region where, in 10 years:

  • Bicycling and walking rates exceed the national average.
  • 75% of metro residents live in a Bicycle and Pedestrian-friendly Community and have a Complete Streets Policy.
  • Trails can connect. Kansas City is the natural meeting point for the famous Katy Trail State Park and Kansas’ growing Flint Hills Nature Trail. We will work with local, state, and national leaders to fund and build the trail while preserving space for a future transit system.
  • The regional will have 1,000 miles of new sidewalks and 500 miles of new bike lanes.
  • All local governments enforce strict sidewalk snow removal ordinances.

For more information go to www.BikeWalkKC.org.

Conservancy To Build Osage City Trail

The Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy has announced that it will build the two-mile segment of the Flint Hills Nature Trail lying within Osage City. The newly-elected Osage City Council recently voted to rescind a previous City Council’s decision to build a ten-foot-wide concrete path.

Karen DeOrnellas, a Conservancy director, recently said that “grassroots citizen support for the trail is still strong within the community, so we will go ahead and build the trail segment using crushed limestone as the trail surface. We can build the trail for approximately $30,000, so we hope the City will contribute financially since it will enhance the quality of life of the community.”

A volunteer day to work on the trail section starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 31. Volunteers will meet in a grassy area on the south edge of the trail between 4th and 5th Streets, about a block north of Lakin St. in Osage City. Volunteers are asked to bring loppers, string trimmers, chain saws, etc. if possible.

Trail Bridge Brings Business Boom In Iowa

Below is an excerpt from American Trails (July 2011): “New numbers are in and the new High Trestle Trail is an early success. The $14 million trail and high bridge between Madrid & Woodward officially opened in April. Trail counts show more than 3,000 people are crossing the bridge each week. Businesses said people are leaving a lot of money along the trail.”

Read more: Bike Bridge Brings Business Boom

Hybrid Traffic Light For Landon Trail In Topeka

Trail crossing to get hybrid sign

By THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL, June 19, 2011

Walkers and bicyclists on the Landon Trail in south Topeka will get to use the first hybrid beacon of its kind in the city to help ensure their safety while crossing one of the city’s busiest streets.

City traffic engineer Linda Voss said the signal, in the 100 block of S.E. 29th, will become operational by the end of the summer or early fall.

The beacon, which resembles a small traffic signal, was installed recently. Its lights are covered until it becomes functional.

Similar hybrid beacons are in use in other cities across the nation where large numbers of pedestrians or bicyclists use trails to cross busy streets.

The nearest such beacon to Topeka is found in Lawrence, Voss said.

The signal was necessitated because of the anticipated completion this summer of a new $1.1 million concrete portion of the Landon Trail. Funds for the trail work came from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

When completed, the Landon Trail in Topeka will stretch on ground that once carried the old Missouri Pacific railroad tracks between areas near S.E. 17th and Monroe and S.W. 45th and Topeka Boulevard.

South of S.E. 17th Street, the Landon Trail connects with the Shunga Trail, another concrete path in the city.

Most of the Shunga Trail parallels the Shunganunga Creek. The Shunga Trail goes under major streets, beneath bridges that span the Shunganunga Creek.

City officials said the Landon Trail either had to be rerouted to 29th and S. Kansas Avenue, about a block west of the hybrid beacon location, or have a controlled crossing to keep it on its primary path at S.E. 29th Street.

Unlike conventional traffic signals, hybrid beacons are designed only for pedestrians and bicyclists and should reduce the amount of time vehicles need to stop.

Once a pedestrian or bicyclist presses a button on the hybrid beacon pole, a yellow light will flash for three seconds for motorists on S.E. 29th. A solid yellow light then will be on for four seconds. Pedestrians must wait during this time.

When the yellow light changes to red, pedestrians and bicyclists can cross S.E. 29th. The solid red light remains on for seven seconds.

The red light then will flash off and on for 14 seconds. When the red light flashes, motorists can proceed on S.E. 29th across the path provided it is safe to do so.

Voss said this is a change from signals that rotate through the green, yellow and red cycle, as it should cut down the wait time for motorists.

In some cases, Voss said, a pedestrian at a conventional traffic signal might be “100 to 200 feet” up the block before the light changes back to green for motorists.

In this way, Voss said, the hybrid beacon “is beneficial to both pedestrians and vehicles.”

“Once a pedestrian has cleared the street, and the light is flashing red, you can go,” Voss said. “You don’t have to wait.”

Several factors were in place to prompt the city to install the hybrid beacon in the 100 block of S.E. 29th.

Voss said that portion of S.E. 29th sees about 14,000 vehicles a day — around 1,200 per hour during rush periods.

The area also is congested with entrances and exits to many businesses along S.E. 29th.

Additionally, S.E. 29th has a railroad bridge and a slight curve just east of where the hybrid beacon is located.

As there were few gaps in traffic on S.E. 29th, Voss said, city traffic officials determined the hybrid beacon was a good way to allow for safe passage of those on the trail.

Terry Bertels, director of Parks and Recreation of Topeka, said the current phase of Landon Trail work began this spring. It will connect the concrete portion of the trail from S.E. 25th to S.E. 45th.

The trail then goes east toward Lawrence from S.E. 45th and also has a spur that goes south and west toward Osage City.

Because it is part of the rails to trails initiative, the Landon Trail is built on areas that once carried railroads. As a result, much of the ground is solid, and many of the railroad bridges have been redecked and equipped with new sides.

Kansas Trail NewsKansas Trail News is published by Clark H. Coan, Public Information Specialist for Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy, Inc., P.O. Box 44-2043, Lawrence, KS 66044, 785-842-3458. Reprinted with permission. If you have any trail news you’d like to share, please contact us.

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By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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