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Council Looks at Oregon Ave Bike Path

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Council Looks at Oregon Ave. Bike Path

Hospital news | Monday, March 6, 2017

Contact: Thomas Hottman

It's been a long road for those behind a proposed protected, two-way bike lane connecting downtown to Moore Park, and members of the Klamath Falls City Council will decide whether to give the project more traction on Monday.

City council members will consider moving ahead with construction of the proposed Oregon Avenue protected bicycle lane at a regular meeting at or after 7 p.m. Monday.

On the table is authorization for the city to enter into a $35,000 consultant services contract with Kittelson & Associates, Inc. to complete final plans for the project. The consulting firm has already prepared the scope of work for the bike lane. Sky Lakes Medical Center Foundation will reimburse the city for the $35,000 contract expenses.

Project construction

The proposed bike lane project is divided into segments. Phase I construction would connect downtown Klamath Falls to Biehn Street using North Ninth Street and Oregon Avenue right-of-way with a two-way protected bike lane. Phase II of the project will be considered at a later date.

The project has been steered by Sky Lakes Wellness Program Director Katherine Pope, as well as the late Dr. Stephanie Van Dyke, who served as medical director of the center. Initial funding was obtained through a grant in 2013, followed by various open houses.

“This is a project for community improvement,” Pope said.

Pope shared the dedication of Van Dyke on the bike lane project, even in her spare time away from work.

“She would be ecstatic and she would want this to happen,” Pope said.

Transportation opportunities

The proposed bicycle lane aims to expand daily active transportation opportunities for all ages and abilities, and to create a healthier, more vibrant connector between Klamath Falls destinations, according to the city's memo.

Council members first addressed the project in a March 2016 work session. The project is part of a 58-item active transportation system improvements list in the June 2016 Urban Trail Master Plan.

The project's final plans and specifications are funded through $209,000 that Sky Lakes Medical Center received through Cascade Health Alliance, according to Pope.

No public dollars will be used to fund the project, according to Joe Wall, management assistant to the city manager.

Councilman's opposition

The project has faced verbal opposition from Council member Bill Adams, who believes a protected bicycle lane could take away traffic lanes and parking.

Adams said Friday he has no issue with bicycles but believes roads should remain the same or use an alternative bicycle route. Adams plans to vote no on the agreement.

“I'm opposed to it,” Adams said.

Pope said a protected bicycle lane would leave more than adequate parking for residents, as well as make both bicyclists more predictable due to a barrier between two and four-wheeled vehicles.

“It will make these streets safer,” Pope said.

Business topics

In other business, council members will also consider approval of making downtown parks tobacco-free, and to allow off-premises liquor sales for Rodeo's Pizza & Saladeria.

Betty Riley, executive director for South Central Oregon Economic Development District (SCOEDD) plans to make a presentation on Enterprise Zones within the city.

There will be an opportunity for public comment at the meeting.