By DENISE GRANT
Bicylists will have more ways to get around Findlay in 2020.
Findlay City Council voted in June to accept about $1.7 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation from its Transportation Alternatives Program, or TAP, to extend the Blanchard River Greenway Trail, and to create lanes for bicycles along Blanchard Street and Lincoln Street.
The project would extend the Blanchard River Greenway Trail from the dead end at 1100 E. Main Cross St. to Bright Road.
Total cost of this part of the project is estimated at $421,052. The state matching grant will require the city to pay 5 percent of the project cost or $21,052.
The Greenway Trail extension is currently under design, and is scheduled for construction in 2020.
The bicycle lanes on Blanchard and Lincoln streets will cost an estimated $1.3 million. The matching state grant will require the city to pay 5 percent of the project cost or $63,157.
Findlay Service Director Brian Thomas said this part of the project will include a separate multi-use trail along one side of Lincoln Street, from Cory Street to Blanchard Street, and separate bike lanes on Blanchard Street from Sixth Street north to the Blanchard River Greenway Trail.
This part of the work is currently under design. The project was scheduled for construction in 2019, but Thomas said ODOT has pushed it back to 2020.
In future years, the Blanchard River Greenway Trail may be extended even farther east.
Officials had sought to extend the trail all the way to Riverbend Recreation Area, but ODOT approved the extension only to Bright Road.
“ODOT had some concerns about getting the trail across the Blanchard River since the existing bridge on Ohio 568 is not wide enough to meet all of the design requirements, so they only funded a portion of the project,” Thomas said.
In the next grant application, officials are again trying to extend the Greenway Trail from Bright Road to Riverbend.
“We should hear from ODOT sometime in August if we were awarded the grant or not,” Thomas said.
Thomas said it’s the city’s goal to submit a TAP application every year.
TAP money played a big part in Findlay’s downtown Main Street reconstruction.
The city received $3.3 million in state TAP grants for the improvements to Main Street. Marathon Petroleum Corp. also donated $1.9 million.
Most of that work was completed in the summer of 2017.
The downtown project, meant to slow traffic on Main Street and make it more pedestrian-friendly, included improvements on Main from Lima Street to Center Street.
Curb “bump-outs” were installed at each intersection in the improvement area. Mid-block crosswalks were added between Hardin and Sandusky streets, between Crawford and Main Cross streets, and between Main Cross and Front streets.
Cory Street was also resurfaced, with curb replacement.
A one-way dedicated bike lane was recently opened on Cory Street from Lima Avenue to Main Cross Street for southbound bicycle traffic, on the west side of Cory Street.
Cory Street north of Main Cross Street is now a “shareway,” marked by signs, meant for both bicycles and motorists.