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Niles transportation plan to improve walking and bike trails

Transportation plan to improve walking and bike trails

NILES — Infrastructure in the city will be receiving updates to help improve overall transportation, including biking and walking.

City council members said at Wednesday’s meeting the main goal of the plan is to promote a more healthy and livable community for people of all ages and to create a place in the city where walking and biking is safe, convenient and enjoyable by all.

A survey on how to use recently obtained state grant funds and for feedback on infrastructure was open May 7 to July 5, with 71 responses from online and print surveys, according to city council members.

Other goals of the active transportation plan are to:

• Incorporate a complete streets policy and move toward that concept as funding becomes available;

• Create a Safe Routes to Schools program;

• Bring community strengths together and have collaboration among the city, county, partnerships and sponsors;

• Become a more multi-modal community by adding more sidewalks and bike trails;

• Increase connectivity within the city by adding both sidewalks and bike trails / lanes that will provide safer options for all modes of transportation.

Niles will be collaborating with the Mahoning River Corridor Revitalization Plan, biking groups, and rails to trails groups in order to make this project happen smoothly, Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz said. The input they offer will help shape the overall infrastructure.

Council has hoped the infrastructure plan would improve the condition of many sidewalks and implement an improved transit service plan that would have WRTA providing a fixed-route and para-transit through the city.

According to Mientkiewicz, some current challenges and gaps within the city are:

• The lack of bicycle infrastructure between downtown and a major park, schools, U.S. Route 422, business district and downtown business district;

• Walking routes around the downtown area need improvement. There is no walking or biking route on Route 422;

• Transit stops do not have supportive infrastructure, such as shelters, on Route 422, which is the only WRTA route in the city.

“I’m feeling very excited that the city could undertake this plan to provide a safe and updated infrastructure for its residents,” Mientkiewicz said.

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