Janesville bike trail gets big boost
"I think it's one of Janesville's greatest attributes, a real treasure," said Genrich, owner of Michael's Cycles, 2716 N. Pontiac Drive.
There will be more of that treasure to enjoy soon. The city plans to add 1.8 miles to the bike trail with $435,000 in federal stimulus funding.
The new stretch will begin at the intersection of Highway 14 and Wright Road, travel west on Highway 14 then curve north around the edge of Best Buy, Pine Tree Plaza and Walmart and end at Tanglewood Drive.
The trail unites the commercial area with residential neighborhoods on the other side of Highway 14, said Brad Cantrell, Janesville's community development director.
"I think people view the trail as an amenity, and commercial users will see it that way, too," he said. "People can walk to a movie, get an ice cream cone and get dinner with this connection between residences and commercial areas."
The city applied for the grant in June. The cost was estimated based on prior path construction expenses per foot, but Cantrell said he was not sure exactly how much material to build a path costs.
The work likely will be contracted out to a local firm, he said.
Genrich said he already sees people riding their bikes to stores in the area and hopes the trail extension will encourage more to do the same.
"It's a little scary crossing Highway 14 or Milton Avenue (on a bike), so if a bike trail can be made to accommodate people, we're fully in favor of that," he said.
City officials expect construction to begin next summer, but the timeline could fluctuate based on the installation of a new gas main by ANR Pipeline in the same area, Cantrell said.
The extension will add to 25 miles of biking paths already in use in Janesville, but the entire length isn't connected. The city hopes to be able to accomplish that someday and build a path connecting Janesville to Milton, Cantrell said.
The construction of a pedestrian walkway over Highway 26 will further connect the residential and commercial districts, he said. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has estimated that project will begin in 2012.
A meeting will be held once city staff has finalized the design plans for the bike path to gather feedback and answer questions, possibly in September, Cantrell said.