SALISBURY — Good news for cyclists in Salisbury: the Mayor and Council learned Monday that plans for city bike lanes are nearing completion and just waiting on word over grant funding.
“The sky is the limit,” said Matt Drew, executive vice president of AWB Engineers. “This thing can be as big as we want it to be.”
Drew came before the council this week as the representative of a group of private citizens pursuing grant funding to install bike lanes throughout Salisbury. If the $13,750 Maryland Bikeways Program grant comes through, Mayor Jim Ireton hopes to begin Phase I of the project this summer.
Phase I would connect several downtown destinations such as the hospital, Salisbury University and five area public schools, according to Ireton.
Besides the nearly $14,000 grant, the project, which will focus on the installation of bike lanes on established roads, will require matching funding of $11,250, for a total of $25,000. Drew is asking the city for $5,000 as an in-kind match, meaning $5,000 worth of labor and service. The rest of the matching funds will likely come from private donations.
If Phase I goes according to plan, Drew explained that the end goal is to eventually install 18 miles of bike lanes, though such an endeavor will be a long-term aim with a potential cost of roughly $130,000.
Drew asked the council for the official support of the city and suggested bringing any related agencies into the fold.
“We need to have law enforcement involved,” he said. “We need to have school systems involved.”
According to Ireton, this push from private residents reflects the tip of the iceberg in terms of the actual interest that exists in the community.
“The excitement that bikers in town have exhibited in the last couple of months is fantastic,” he said.
If grant funding for Phase I comes through, and word on that is expected within the next two months, Drew told the council that it could serve as a platform to lobby for future grants.
“Everything depends on us being successful with this first phase,” he stated.
Drew estimated that there are close to 3,700 potential users for the theoretical 18 miles of bike lanes.