Before crowded chambers, the Shawnee City Commission voted in 4-3 split to approve the Bike Route plan, which was put together by the Engineering Department.
Several citizens spoke in favor of approving the trails, including Shawna Turner, president of Sustainable Shawnee and chairwoman of the Shawnee Planning Commission.
Turner gave a brief history of the proposal, beginning with the request from the Planning Commission for the Engineering Department to put together a plan for bike routes through Shawnee. After a few months and several meetings with community bicyclists and the traffic commission.
However, after these meetings, the traffic commission voted 3-3 to deny the request, against staff’s recommendation.
Turner requested that the commission approve the request.
“I can tell you that the community has supported it,” she said.
Bill Burke, an avid biker and community member, also requested the commission approve. He cited safety concerns.
“I’ve been hit by a car in Shawnee, so I do know that it’s dangerous,” Burke said.
Monica Mullins, another avid bicyclists, cited health issues. Mullins said that approval could help with the obesity issues we see within our community.
Ron Taffe of the traffic commission was present and explained the reason he voted against the proposal included safety concerns, and uncertainty whether or not bike lanes were actually necessary.
Taffe estimated there were only about 150 bicyclists in Shawnee, and with another estimate of $1,000 per mile for adding lanes, striping roads, and adding signage, Taffe said he couldn’t justify spending that much for a small segment.
City Engineer John Krywicki explained that this is not requesting any funding, but instead just allows for an official bike route, which will then allow the Engineering Department to gather information and estimates regarding the cost of striping the road, and adding signage.
“We feel like this is the first step to make the traveling public more aware,” Krywicki said.
Commissioner Keith Hall moved to approve the proposal, with Commissioner Pam Stephens seconding the motion.
The motion carried 4-3, with Hall, Stephens, Mayor Wes Mainord, and Commissioner Steve Smith voting in favor, and Commissioners Linda Agee, James Harrod, and John Winterringer opposing.
The commission also voted unanimously to enter into a contract with Water’s Edge Aquatic Design to work with the city for the redesign of the City Pool.
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