EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written in response to a reader-submitted question through Open Source, a platform where readers can ask Richland Source’s newsroom to investigate a question.
MANSFIELD — Mansfield City engineer Bob Bianchi once proposed a bike trail along Woodland Road, but that project was abandoned due to a lack of public support.
The multi-use trail along Trimble and Cook roads currently dead ends where Woodland and Andover Roads meet.
When Mansfield constructed the Trimble and Cook road multi-use path in 2017, Bianchi proposed an addition that would continue from Cook and run parallel to Woodland Road towards Marion Avenue.
Richland Source reader Lori Ramey recently asked for an update on that proposal via our Open Source platform:
“What happened to the plan to extend the Trimble/Cook Rd walking path onto Woodland Rd? The path welcomes activity, which is great, but there have been many close calls on Woodland from speeding cars.”
Ramey and her husband moved to a home on Woodland Street a couple of years ago. The couple is concerned about the safety of people who walk in the street due to the frequency and speed of traffic.
"People use that as part of their walking path all the time," she said. "A lot of the neighbors do have a big concern about the speed that some of the cars drive down here."
Ramey said motorists often treat the neighborhood more like a country road -- driving faster than the speed limit and running stop signs.
"My husband's actually seen people almost be hit and put their hands on the hood of somebody's car. We've heard of people having to jump into the ditch to get out of the way of cars," she said. "It's just not an ideal situation. It seems like the city needs to do something to make it safer."
Bianchi made a similar point during a proposal to city council in June 2017, noting that Woodland Road is a narrow street that experiences a great deal of foot traffic.
Nevertheless, Bianchi confirmed to Richland Source this week the Woodland Road project is not moving forward. To extend the path along Woodland Road, the city would have to build on private property.
“We found very little interest from the neighbors along Woodland Road and a lot of negative feedback about constructing a bike path along Woodland Road,” he said.
City officials still hope to one day continue the path network in a different direction.
According to Bianchi, the city has "long-range plans" to extend the path by creating a connector with the B&O Bike Trail. Preliminary plans were drawn up a few years ago, but the city was not able to come up with the funds to move forward with the project.
The cost of the trail would likely exceed $1.1 million, Bianchi said earlier this year. Although most of that cost could be covered by grant funding, the city would first need to find local dollars to match.
Since the extension would not run alongside a public roadway, the city would have to use general fund money for the project.
“When we have projects like this, they’re weighed against the needs of the city at the time," Bianchi said.
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