Oak St. improvement design OK’d

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SANDPOINT — After being an item for discussion for the past five years, the Oak Street bike path is now on schedule for construction this year.

For his final presentation to City Council last week, Public Works Director Ryan Luttmann asked council to approve the final design and bid documents for the Oak Street bike path.

The Downtown Revitalization Project was initiated by the city in December 2000 to engage the community in discussions about the future of its downtown. A plan for future improvements, including the Oak Street improvements, known as The Downtown Streets Plan and Design Guide, was published in 2012.

“Many of these projects that we’ve worked on were initiated before my time here, and this is no exception,” said Luttmann, who started with the city two years ago and announced his resignation last week.

The Oak Street bike lane project was originally identified as a corridor in the design guide, looking at links to the lake for multi-modal opportunities, Luttmann said.

A public meeting was held in 2013 for the Oak Street improvements project and the city of Sandpoint was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Idaho Transportation Department for design and construction in 2015. A $100,000 match will be provided by the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency for the project. The estimated cost of the project is $365,865.25.

The proposed design for those improvements include a bike path, upgrades to the curb, gutter and sidewalk between Boyer Avenue and across Fifth Avenue.

The original design concepts focused on the area between Boyer and Fourth avenues, Luttmann said, but due to challenges such as cost, the project was scaled back.

“There are still opportunities for the extension of that cycle track toward the lake, but this looked like the more critical opportunity, connecting the community trail and getting the cycle track, or the bike path, across Fifth Avenue and into the downtown core,” Luttmann said.

Comment received during a public workshop in July were incorporated into the final design, including the protection of existing large trees, as well as maintaining existing sharrows — markings to indicate a shared cycle/vehicle path — between Boyer and Sixth avenues rather than widening the road.

Luttmann said the anticipated start date for construction is in April.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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