Draft plans for Bisbee bike, pedestrian path available for view

Draft plans for Bisbee bike, pedestrian path available for view

BISBEE — Two conceptual designs have been prepared on the proposed Bisbee Bike Path and the city and Bisbee Bikeways are taking comments on them prior to an online meeting 5 p.m. on May 4.

Thanks to a grant written by Bisbee Bikeways from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Grant Development Program, a feasibility study for the 1¼-mile shared use path on U.S. Route 80 that would connect Old Bisbee and Warren has been completed and draft plans drawn.

Meggen Connolley, founder of Bisbee Bikeways, announced the completion of two conceptual designs performed by Brent Crowther and his team at Kimley-Horne. The idea is to provide a safe and comfortable path for residents to walk and bike.

Connolley stated in an email, “The pathway concept has been developed considering traffic and safety impacts on Hwy. 80 and will improve the comfort of people riding and bicycling.”

The plans propose one lane in each direction on U.S. 80 to allow for the pathway with a turning lane in the middle. The pathway will run on the eastbound side of U.S. 80, adjacent to the Lavender Pit, between Naco Road and Erie Street and will have a buffer between the pathway and the roadway.

According to the draft plans, the goals of the project are to create a safe facility for persons walking and bicycling along U.S. 80 between the Lowell District and Historic District; make it comfortable to use for people of all ages; make it a convenient multimodal connection between the Historic District and the Lowell District; make it aesthetically pleasing with landscape enhancements and public art that displays the cultural heritage of the Bisbee area; include way-finding to and from the pathway to make it easy to find and use; and to make it financially viable to implement and maintain.

The plans call for a 12-foot-wide pathway with directional arrows for east and west travel. The width allows it to be cleaned by a street sweeper. The raised medians will be constructed with colored and stamped concrete. Lighting will be at pedestrian level and will be compliant with dark skies principles, directing light downward toward the pathway to provide visibility and improve safety.

In Plan A, Main Street becomes one way westbound between U.S. 80 and the Historic District. Vehicles that previously would use eastbound Main Street from Historic Bisbee to U.S. 80 would use Naco Road, which becomes a two-way street. Vehicles headed to eastbound U.S. 80 would head east on Naco Road and make a left turn onto eastbound U.S. 80. Vehicles also can go straight on Naco Road, crossing U.S. 80 to access the Queen Mine Tour. The driveway for the Queen Mine Tour to the highway will be relocated west. Access to the Queen Mine Tour will be provided from the eastbound U.S. 80 to Main Street loop ramp. It carries an estimated cost of $2.3 million.

Plan B minimizes impacts to the existing intersections that connect U.S. 80 to Historic Bisbee. The pathway is constructed adjacent to the existing streets from Dart Road, near the Queen Mine Tour entrance, west to its terminus. It requires construction of retaining walls adjacent to Main Street near the Queen Mine Tour entrance. In addition, Plan B requires the widening of the U.S. 80 Main Street underpass to accommodate the shared use path. The estimated cost is $4.7 million.

Connolley explained, “The project began in December 2018, one phone call at a time, one meeting at a time, and one grant at a time by the Bisbee Bikeways team, and it’s amazing to now see these renderings by Crowther’s team.”

Though there are concerns from some about the slowdown in traffic due to the reduction of travel lanes, Connolley has received many positive remarks from residents waiting for the project to come to fruition.