By Zach Logan, Staff Writer
It has been almost ten years now since the Office of Facility Services began drafting plans for Armstrong State University’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Pathway.
According to Kathryn Twining, the Director of Facility Services, the office envisioned a 2.3 mile loop that would circle around the perimeter of campus and would serve as both a passageway for cyclists and walkers as well as a recreational track for the staff and students.
Facility Services divided the loop into three phases.
The first phase starts in front of the Fine Arts Building and continues to the athletic fields. It began in 2005 when Facility Services applied for funding through the Transportation Enhancement Program (TE).
Twining explains that the program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation was established to enhance the traveling experiences of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. TE initially gave Armstrong $500,000 to begin phase one. According to the ‘Construction and Growth’ section on the university’s website, Facility Services completed the first part of the path in June of 2011, along with elevating the pedestrian crosswalks and creating a second entrance to the parking lot along University Drive.
Facility Services are currently overseeing the construction of phase two, which connects at the Fine Arts Building and intersects at both Science Drive and Arts Drive, then ends close to the pond near the east end of campus.
Right now the only part of phase two that has yet to be finished is the section between Science and Arts Drive. Twining says that they are waiting for the completion of the Gateway Signage on Burnett Lawn so that they can proceed with the rest of the path.
Once phase two is finished Facility Services will move on to the final phase of the project.
Phase two will focus on linking the pathway at the Student Union Building, along Library Drive, to the existing path near the greenhouse and pond.
Twining mentions that Armstrong has yet to receive an award from TE for phase three, but plans to reapply sometime in the future.
Funding is not the only problem with phase three. Twining said that Facility Services will have to address the issue of traffic flow along Library Drive before they can even begin construction on the rest of the path.
Even though the overall project has yet to be completed, students are already making use of the pathway. Alex Martinez is a sophomore and a member of Armstrong State University’s Cross Country Team and runs on the path at least twice a week with his teammates.
Martinez said the issue of having to find other sidewalks to connect him to the other parts of the path, but is appreciative of having this addition to campus. “The bike path benefits my team and I, especially on rainy days, as we try not to run in the grass to avoid injury from slipping.” Martinez said, “The bike path [also] gives us support for our footing.”
The cost for phase one and two is estimated to be around $965,000 with TE contributing $700,000 in grant money, leaving Armstrong to cover to rest.
There is no word yet on how much the final phase will cost. In Georgia, the TE grants are awarded once every two years.
Facility Services will have to wait until 2015 before they can reapply for funding, setting the completion date for the bike path to no earlier than 2016.