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Bicycle Master Plan Moves Forward in Newton

A Bicycle Master Plan has been presented to city commissioners in Newton, Kansas:

A coalition looking 10 years into the future presented its Bicycle Master Plan to city commissioners during a work session preceding their regular meeting Tuesday evening.

The detailed plan outlines streets in town for bike lanes, shared bike and car lanes and areas where bike paths can connect key points such as the Kansas Logistics Park and the YMCA.

“Why a bike plan,” Lorrie Kessler, Healthy Harvey Coalition coordinator, said. “Chronic disease is something we have a problem with in this county. Sixty-two percent in Harvey County are overweight and 11 percent have diabetes.” An adult needs 150 minutes per week of physical activity and children need 60 percent per day, Kessler said. “Increasing physical activity will reduce spending on health care, increase productivity of kids in school,” she said. “The higher the number of cyclists, the lower diabetes is. When we’re talking health, we’re talking community health.”

The move to make Newton more bicycle accommodating originated with the with the ReNewton Comprehensive Planning Initiative in around 2010. The group mapped out a vision for Newton in 2030 and found that bicycling would be important to the quality of life in the community.

“In a year or two millenials will be biggest part of workforce,” said Lester Limon, chair of the Newton Planning Commission. “They want to walk and ride and do things as group. To get these people to move into our community, we need bike paths. It’s the number one thing businesses are asking if you’ve got.”

The Bicycle Master Plan is to go before the Planning Commission Sept. 14. If that group approves it, the plan will then go before the City Commission for approval.

Read more from The Kansan: Bike plan presented to city commission

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About The Author

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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