The City Commission unanimously approved the KDOT Inspection Agreement for Kaw Valley Engineering to inspect the Bike Boulevard project in Junction City for $93,553 last Tuesday. Live Well Geary County funds the full cost of the inspection.

In October 2019, the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization, which provides regional transportation planning and programming services across portions of Geary County and other counties, partnered with Live Well Geary County and the City of Junction City to create a plan for a bicycle path on Seventh Street to help Junction City become more walkable and bikeable.

The groups chose Seventh Street because it connects to trails and key assets like downtown, the library and Dillons. It also parallels Sixth and Eighth Streets, which are major vehicle corridors.

The bike route will go from Seventh and Jefferson Streets to Eighth and Eisenhower Streets. Vehicles will still have access, but the street will have lower speeds, traffic calming and restricted turns, encouraging vehicles to use the major vehicle corridors instead and allowing a safer environment for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The City Commission approved the KDOT Transportation Alternative Program in April, an 80/20 grant for the project. Through the agreement, KDOT funds 80% of the cost to build a bicycle route on Seventh Street in Junction City, and Live Well Geary County pays the other 20%.

The total estimated cost of the project is $393,037. KDOT’s share is $249,949, and Live Well Geary County’s share is 95,089.

Before any permanent changes were made, Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization created a temporary demonstration project to test several traffic calming features to gauge public perception and vehicle compliance and speeds.

The demonstration projects with reusable materials allowed the group to determine costs, test ideas and experiment with options to improve safety. According to the plan on their website, flinthillsmpo.org/bikewalkjc, it did not use city taxes or funds. Rather, the demonstration projects were funded by the America Walks Grant, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas Pathways to Healthiness Grant and Metropolitan Planning Organization Consolidated Planning Grant funding.

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