City requests federal funds for new path route

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 9, 2015

 The nonmotorized trail and pathway system will take this route through Troy and would be completed in one phase starting in 2017.

The nonmotorized trail and pathway system will take this route through Troy and would be completed in one phase starting in 2017.

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The City Council has again requested federal funding for Troy’s nonmotorized trails and pathways system. The Michigan Department of Transportation extended the deadline for Transportation Alternative Program grants.

The deadline was extended from Nov. 2 to Nov. 24. Kurt Bovensiep, public works manager, said MDOT “reached out and gave them an extension” and allowed the city to resubmit an edited version.

The Troy City Council voted unanimously to  authorize the city to apply for the grant Nov. 23.

The plans for the city’s trails and pathways system took a different turn after residents in the Hills of Charnwood subdivision objected to designated bike paths through their neighborhood and the state withdrew a $600,000 grant.

“This was a planning goal of the city for many years,” Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick said of the nonmotorized trail before the Troy City Council at its Nov. 23 meeting.

During forums Aug. 20 and Oct. 5, residents of the Hills of Charnwood said they and other residents oppose designated bike lanes marked on streets in their subdivision. Concerns included a drop in property values and increased crime.

The new route includes a connection to the Clinton River Trail at South Boulevard and Adams Road. It connects to the Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center, Firefighters Park, Boulan Park, a planned dog park and four schools in the Troy School District.

Jennifer Chehab, senior project engineer for Hubbell, Roth & Clark, the contracted firm that would provide engineering services for the trail, said the project has been vetted extensively with residents during the public engagement sessions.

The city submitted a request for $1.55 million in TAP funding — with a city match of $1.5 million. Following federal engineering and bidding guidelines, if the grant is approved, the project would not begin until April 2017.  Because of the later start date, it would be completed all at once at the end of 2017 instead of in three segments as originally planned.

The city’s portion of the funding is budgeted in the capital fund over the next three years.

“Public engagement is important for a TAP grant,” Bovensiep said to the council. “The first plan had a lot of opposition. We went back to the drawing board.”

He noted that 72 percent of the pathway is not on major roadways.

“They are very interested,” Chehab said of MDOT officials regarding the Troy pathway project. “We should hear at the end of December.”

She explained that that is when MDOT will approve 2017 grant funds.

“This is a very important project for me,” said Troy Mayor Dane Slater, adding that residents “overwhelmingly tell us they want trails and pathways.”

He noted that during the economic downturn, the council took $3 million that was slated to develop a nonmotorized pathway system through the city and appropriated it to the general fund.

“This, to me, is really good government,” said Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek. “The route is the best thinking of everyone we could involve in the process.”

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