City Delays Vote On Walk+Bike Plan

Last week, the Warsaw City Plan Commission gave its approval for the Warsaw+Winona Lake Walk+Bike Master Plan. (See related story)

On Tuesday night, the Warsaw Common Council, which has the final say on whether the plan moves from a proposal to a final project, was presented with an hour long synopsis of the plan, as presented by Jonathon Mooney of consulting firm RW Armstrong. “One year later, here we sit with a blueprint,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer in introducing Mooney.

Using a Powerpoint program, Mooney summed up the 67-page master plan with an hour-long review. He told why the bicycle and pedestrian plan was born – to provide mobility and increase the quality of life initiative – how data was gathered for the project, and ultimately how creating 87 miles of bicycle/pedestrian paths can be made possible.

While the council overall has been supportive of the initiative, councilman Jerry Frush and councilwoman Elaine Call were concerned with Mooney’s notation that the community completed only 184 surveys that were offered online from May through July 2011. “There are 18,000 people in Warsaw and Winona Lake. That’s only 1 percent saying they want this. That sounds low to me,” Frush said.

During the planning and development stages of the master plan, the public was asked to complete an online survey of 28 questions. A dozen questions focused on walking, 12 on biking and the remaining four were basic questions. “I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s actually high,” said Mooney. “I’ve done a lot of planning projects and that really is still high.”

Call asked if there were other ways to survey people, including doing direct mailings saying, “It didn’t seem to be a good response. With that said, I will say this one of the best, most comprehensive master plans I have ever seen.”

Thallemer credited the efforts of the KCV Cycling Club and the bicycle advisory committee for their tireless work in preparing the master plan and recognized the committee individually. The committee includes Staci Young, chair; Brad Bishop, Bill Crane, Greg Demopoulos, Mark Dobson, Denny Duncan, Fred Helfrich, Robin Mitchell, Steve Riffe, Ron Robinson, Greg Schroeder, David Taylor and Troy Turley.

Instead of taking any official vote on the master plan at Tuesday night’s meeting, Thallemer noted there are some minor revisions needed and asked that the plan be presented in a final resolution at the council’s next meeting, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 4.

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