May 12, 2014

Mansfield city council looks at options for bicycle plans

Consultants recommend $300,000 in projects.

The City Council on Monday got a look at a scaled-backed master plan to make Mansfield streets more welcoming to bicyclists, starting with a $300,000, three-year implementation schedule to ease into the program with share-the-road signs and other less-expensive measures.

Park officials and city consultants trimmed the original $11.1 million plan down to $6.78 million, after some council members in previous work sessions voiced concerns about costs and impeding traffic on already congested thoroughfares.

The start-up plan would be funded at $100,000 annually by the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corp. board, which administers a half-cent sales tax for park and recreation projects. But eventually the parks department budget would be tapped.

Councilman Cory Hoffman reiterated his concerns Monday, noting that the start-up plan draws from a wider pool of projects than just the cheapest and least invasive — street signage, which mostly asks motorists to be aware of bicyclists. It costs about $1,000 per mile.

Hoffman said he wanted to see “the exact plan” each budget cycle before spending the $100,000

Councilman Stephen Lindsey, an avid cyclist who supports a more extensive network of road sharing, disagreed, saying that would overly limit the park board’s discretion.

“If you’re drilling down because you have a personal desire not to see [a particular project], at that point, in my opinion, that is micro-managing,” Lindsey said.

The city’s consultant, Kimley-Horn, was commissioned for $65,000 last summer to evaluate Mansfield’s streets, survey residents and conduct several public meetings to present preliminary versions of the on-street bike master plan.

The short-term and long-term plans include shared lanes, with signs and road markings, at up to $10,000 per mile, and striped bicycle lanes at $25,000 per mile. The costlier projects include 10-foot-wide paths that run alongside a street, at $300,000 per mile.

Shelly Lanners, the city’s community services director, said she would lay out the plans for the park board Thursday. The council ultimately has final say.

Also Monday, the council ratified an economic development deal with the Kroger grocery store at Matlock Road and Debbie Lane. Kroger plans to spend about $11 million to expand the 64,000-square-foot store, adding 23,000 square feet, said Jim Freeman, real estate supervisor for Kroger in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

He said the newer Kroger at Texas 360 and East Broad Street is still much larger, at 123,000 square feet.

Freeman said construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2015 and to conclude by the end of 2016.

For that investment, the Mansfield Economic Development Corp. board, which administers a half-cent sales tax for business projects, has agreed to pay Kroger $70,000.

Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641

Twitter: @Kaddmann

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