SALISBURY – The funding has officially been put in place to begin the initial phase of a bike path network throughout the City of Salisbury.
The first resolution to come before the City Council on Monday evening was to authorize Mayor Jim Ireton to sign the grant agreement and accept a grant of $13,750 from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Bikeways Program for the provision of the initial two miles of pavement marking and signage necessary to create a bike path “Spine” route from downtown Salisbury to Salisbury University. The total cost of the project is $25,000.
According to the resolution, the Maryland Department of Transportation and the City of Salisbury have been working together to improve bicycle connectivity between the Downtown Central Business District and Salisbury University.
The bicycle facilities improvements to be constructed include the creation of a bike route, which will run from the intersection of Camden Ave. and West College Ave. to North Division St. near the Government Office Building, providing dedicated bicycle-only lanes and shared bicycle and motorized vehicle lanes, lane striping for dedicated lanes, shared lane markings for shared lanes, bicycle markings on the pavement, and bike route signage along the route.
The city is agreeing to provide 45 percent of the project costs in matching funds, including private contribution and/or services of actual project costs, in amount not to exceed $11,250 for the pedestrian-and-bicycle facilities improvements.
The project will enhance bicycle safety and access to the Maryland Blue Crab Scenic Byway and will improve bicycle circulation in downtown Salisbury and the vicinity of Salisbury University.
Matt Drew of bike-SBY, which has been an organization involved throughout the entire process, explained this started out as small personal project of his own and had grown to involve many others.
“The basic concept is to connect people from where they live to where they either work or go to school, and where that commonality in pattern of travel to start creating bike lanes so we can promote cycling,” Drew said. “What popped out of that initial study was 18 miles of a network within the urbanized part of Salisbury that we didn’t have connectivity with bike lanes, and there is actually over 6500 people that live within a core area of Salisbury that live less than 2 miles from where they either go to school or work, so by creating this bike lane network we can in essence connect this blatant demand for bike with people who could use it.”
Drew furthered the initial “spine” route is a north/south connector that runs through the center of the network, and there are hopes to break out east and west from the route to create other north/south routes.
“Thank you all for your patience,” Councilwoman Terry Cohen said. “We have been waiting patiently here at the City. The State has a process of approval on these plans, and I know Public Works went through a lot going through the plan with the State…so I am very, very happy that we have come to this day in time for the beautiful weather.”
The next resolution on the table was to accept a donation of $2,500 from Salisbury University, a donation of $2,500 from the Seagull Century Foundation, and a donation of $1,250 from bike-SBY that was all included into the city’s contribution of $11,250 for the pedestrian-and-bicycle facilities improvements.
“Thank you to those who are making the donations to help make this possible,” Cohen said.
The council voted unanimously to approve both resolutions.