Wichita moves forward with new bike, walking path

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The City of Wichita is moving forward with plans to build a new biking and walking path.

Wichitans and city leaders have talked a lot about the need for quality of life and opportunities for improved quality of life. They believe a new path can help work toward that goal.

“One of the ways, that we’ve seen from surveys and plans, is by improving walk-ability and bike-ability, and so this is a method, a way that we’re able to use infrastructure to do that,” said Scott Wadle, senior management analyst for the city.

The path will be located right along the Arkansas River. The city conducted surveys that showed citizens want a path at this location.

Wadle pointed out desire lines in the grassy area along the Arkansas River: “We know that that’s evident that people will use it because you can see here today the desire line that has been put in from people just walking in this area already.”

Currently, there’s a paved path on the west side of the river.

The city plans to build a half-mile concrete path, that starts just behind Gander Mountain to the Lincoln Street dam. It will include a “pause point” with benches and flowers.City staff are also considering the addition of more lighting in the area.

According to Wadle, the path will provide a loop — plus it’s additional connectivity for improved safety and convenience for bikers between the two destinations.

“The access and getting to the other side of the river, there’s only a few places where you can do that. You have to do that at the bridges,” he said. “So this will be a nice improved location where people can go ahead and bike and walk to get to the downtown.”

Wadle said the new path costs around $650,000. The city was awarded a $150,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. The rest of the funds have been allocated from the city’s Capital Improvement Program.

The city hopes the project will be finished by next spring.