Once the Big Four Bridge ramp is complete in November, Jeffersonville officials envision pedestrians and bicyclists continuing on paths throughout the city.
While it might not be implemented by the time the bridge ramp is finished, a plan has been devised to improve access for pedestrians and bicyclists in Jeffersonville. Despite the plan’s infancy, downtown business owners see big things down the road.
“I just think this is wonderful, not only for all of us local people ... but it’ll be a great tourist draw,” said Linda Williams, owner of the Old Bridge Inn at the corner of Pearl and Chestnut streets, where pedestrians will enter the city from the Big Four Bridge ramp. “Tourism, especially heritage tourism — Jeffersonville just fits into that so well for the bed and breakfast [and] for the shop keepers here. We need new sidewalks, that’s improvement number one ... having bike lanes, that’s another thing for people that like to take their bikes when they travel.”
A citywide comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plan that was presented to the public last week now rests with the city’s plan commission for a recommendation. It will then head to the city council for ultimate plan approval and to be included in the city’s comprehensive plan.
Officials have identified 30 miles of trails and improvements, but they carry a big price tag: $32 million.
“Obviously, we don’t have $32 million,” Jeffersonville Planning Director Shane Corbin said.
Corbin explained that the overall cost is somewhat misleading, because it includes a cycle track recommended for Utica Pike with an estimated cost of about $11.7 million. And if the city does pursue a project with a high cost, it will seek funding to help pay for the improvements.
The initial phases of the bicycle and pedestrian plan, which includes about 13 miles of lanes, sidewalks or pathways, can be done for around $400,000, Corbin said.