By Shane Jones
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT— Picture a perfect world where people who are driving and people riding bikes could coexist. Sometimes, a very difficult thing to handle. Bikers sometimes cause traffic and drivers sometimes are not paying attention to their two-wheeled, motorless counterparts.
Starting in 2017, the city of DeWitt, DeWitt Township and also the Clinton County Road Commission will start a new project that will try to limit the traffic and increase the use of non- motorized traffic via a new bike trail. For some residents, it was a surprise to hear the plans behind this new project .
“I have not heard much about the new trail, I do know that there are many trails already in DeWitt. I think it is a great idea and people will enjoy it. I like how DeWitt is always trying to grow and make things better for the community,” resident Elliot Daniels said.
Clinton County Road Commission Director of Engineering Dan Armentrout gave a very detailed route of where the projected trail will be constructed.
“The proposed trail would run from Old (Route) 27 to Panther Drive at the school. The route is proposed to go along Herbison Road and would be constructed over a 3-year period,” Armentrout said. “The trail project would be built jointly with the resurfacing of Herbison Road and phased along with the Herbison Road projects.”
“At this time, we are looking at the three phases to be split:The first phase will start at Old 27 to the DeWitt Township Hall/Rambler Drive. The second phase will start at Township Hall and go to Turner Road. The last phase will start at Turner Road and will end at the school.”
However, the funding for the project has not been secured and the project budgets have not been finalized.
“The hope is to fund 80 percent of the trail with federal dollars with the Township and City providing the 20 percent match for their respective portions. The preliminary estimates for all three phases of the trail combined is $850,000,” Armentrout said.
“I have received questions from residents about the proposed path, but nothing that I would consider negative,” City Adminsitrator Dan Coss said.
As always, the main issue with combining non-motorized traffic and motorized traffic is safety. With this addition of a new trail, Armentrout and others anticipate an increase in non-motorized traffic and for there to be separation between non-motorized traffic and vehicular traffic.
“Working with the City of DeWitt and Clinton County Road Commision, we still are not sure of which end to start the project,”said DeWitt Township planner, Brett Wittenberg. When asked about the issue of traffic on the trail Wittenberg went on to say that some parts of the new trail, there will be approximately ten feet for the shared- use path. One of those parts will be on Schavey road, but the approximate space on Herbison road has not been finalized.
According to Michigan State University bikes expert Tim Potter, big cities or small cities are starting to build these trails not only for the use of biking or running, the trail adds property value to homes that are around it. Also it is for attraction use to try and bring more people to that area and to keep those citizens that already are residents.