The Wichita City Council approved local funding for bicycle enhancements projects on Tuesday, August 19th, that would create several bicycle lanes and boulevards throughout the city.
Much of the funding for the projects comes from federal grants, from a community transportation grant and from transportation enhancement and a transportation alternative program.
Total for approved construction to keep cyclist healthy and safe totals over $3 million.
Beginning in March 2011, city officials began developing a bicycle master plan based on requests from area residents.
"The biggest request was to make Wichita a safer place to bicycle with dedicated lanes and facilities to provide physical road markings," "In some cases, there are on-street lanes so bicyclists don't have to ride in the same lanes as cars."
(Source of this information came from Wichita Eagle August 20, 2014)
Not a part of this project, but note worthy, is the improvements plans for 135th Street West from Central to Maple. This section of 135th Street will be improved similarly to that from 21st Street to 13th Street. The street will be widened to three lanes (north, south and turning) a sidewalk on the east side and a 10' multi-purpose path on the west. No date for improvements between Central and 13th Street. It will be nice that residents of this area will be able to safely and easily walk and ride from their houses to the commercial hub at 135th and Maple.
The 2015 running of the American Diabetes Association's Tour De Cure turned out to be a great success despite the threat (and eventual delivery) of inclement weather. It was the biggest turn out and donation amount that the Wichita TdC has had to date. 473 riders and over $372,000 raised.
I was encouraged by the out pouring of the fund raisers, the positive attitude of the riders and the support of all the volunteers and ADA staff members. It was evident that these people are on a mission to support those with diabetes.
The ADA is now in the process of planning the 2016 Tour De Cure. The goals have been set and the people are starting to prepare for next year. It is amazing how many people are involved in this process and what great jobs they do. Lee's Bike Shop will, for the fifth year, assist in this year's route development, rest stop locations, route marking and day of event mechanical support. If you would like to help us out please let me know.
The Tour De Cure is just a small part of what the American Diabetes Association does for those with this disease. They help people understand its implications, the daily management they will have to do - everything in life changes for them. They also help fund research for better drugs, equipment and hopefully a cure. If you cannot help by fund raising and riding please assist a rider to meet their goal. Thank you.
Kansas Singletrack Society members and local cycling enthusiasts worked hard to construct some great off-road trails at Air Capital Memorial Park. Located in Wichita, Kansas just south and west of the corner of Highway 54 (Kellogg) and Maize Road on the east bound frontage road. Over 400 hours of time by more than fifty volunteers have been put in to create two miles of trail that wind in and out of the woods and up and over piles of what was once worthless debris. Now the trails are ready to ride. Put on the bug spray and ride hard.
The process of gaining approval to use the land started in January 2011 when Kansas Singletrack Society Member and Lee's Bike Shop Owner Lee Engler worked with Wichita Park and Recreation Department Staff, Board of Park Commissioners and District Four representatives to determine if the land could be used by area cyclist and pedestrians for off road trails. This activity is not allowed in any of the other west side parks. Through support from the City staff and community members, design and construction was approved by the City Council on June 5, 2012.
On Saturday, May 18 a grand-opening ceremony was conducted for the new bike-and-hike trail system at Air Capital Memorial Park. One of the thirty people present for this celebration was City Council member Jeff Blubaugh. "The trail will provide a great opportunity for off-road cyclists to utilize rustic trails in a west-side park with easy access from west Kellogg," said Blubaugh.
Lee's Bike Shop would like to give a special thank you to Brian Frye - President of the Board of Park Commissioners, Jeff Blubaugh - City Council Member, David McGuire - Park and Recreation, and Jerry Jones - President of Kansas Singletrack Society for their efforts with the project and the grand-opening ceremony.
Today there are three looped trails providing something for every experience level. The northern, 1/2 mile entrance loop, will challenge beginning trail riders with climbs, turns and skill developing trail features. The south eastern and western loops are designed to be ridden separately or as one 1 1/2 mile circuit. The western loop is a relatively flat flowing trail that offers intermediate level riders opportunities to develop handling skills by winding through trees, leaning through banked turns, maneuvering through and over obstacles all at a medium to fast pace. This is the longest loop. The eastern loop is referred to as "The Rock Garden". Construction debris deposited from the construction of Highway 54 and from the abandonment of the railroad tracks that run through the park have provided material for challenging technical riding trails. No, we do not have boulders or mountains to climb in Wichita Kansas but our trail builders have creatively turned this area into a loop that will bring even experienced riders back for more.
Side note: This project is adjacent to the Pawnee Prairie Park where bicycles are not allowed under City Ordinance. Illegal bicycling within Pawnee Prairie Park is detrimental to the continued use of the Air Capital Memorial Park Bike Trails. We urge everyone to abide by Wichita Ordinances when riding bicycles on or off road. Please show others that bicycle riders know and follow laws like any other form of transportation and recreational vehicle. Thank you.
Flip-Side note: The trails at Air Capital Memorial Park have been designed with pedestrian and bicycle use in mind. We have requested that horse riders do not use this land. Portions of the trail are very technical and space allowances are tight so passage may be impossible in sections for horses. Also, please be mindful of the hours that were spent by workers grooming the trail. Horse use, specially after periods of rain, damages the trail by leaving deep hoof prints that must be filled in to keep the desired quality of the trail. We also discourage bicycles from riding the trails when muddy. This will keep the trails in the best condition for all.
“So, is there an easy off-road bike trail out here on the west side of Wichita?”
A lot of people ask this question. The answer is yes. There are the paths at Sedgwick County Park and along Zoo Boulevard or Westdale to the Arkansas River Pathway. Those are the most known.
But there is also an un paved off-road trail between west Wichita and Garden Plain that goes through Goddard. It is called the Prairie Sunset Trail.
The trail is an old railway right-of-way located about ½ mile south of Highway 54 from 167th Street to 295th Street West. You can access the trail from any street between those intersections or drive to Santa Fe Park in Goddard and start from the parking lot where there are restrooms. The trail is eight miles in length and constructed of fine gravel that makes it easy for any style of cycle.
The trail is the product of The Prairie Travelers organization. This group’s mission is to support the establishment of an inter-connected trails network in the state of Kansas by preserving railroad corridors for use by walkers, joggers and cyclist. This organization strives to make more trails available for the public and they also help to maintain the existing trail by having monthly work days. You can find out more about the Prairie Travelers and their projects at www.prairietravelers.org.
The Prairie Travelers are in the process of securing labor and grant funding to extend the trail from 167th Street to the east. See how you can help here.