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Plans for bicycle subcommittee move forward

Plans for bicycle subcommittee move forward

August 24th, 2017 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

In this April 11, 2011 file photo, bicyclists traverse the bicycle/pedestrian lane attached to the northbound Missouri River bridge in Jefferson City.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

With Jefferson City's bicycle subcommittee resurrected, the Environmental Quality Commission is working toward implementing the group's goals.

Six people have shown interest in joining the subcommittee, four of whom attended the Environmental Quality Commission meeting Wednesday, Commission Vice Chair Ashley Varner said.

A Jefferson City bicycle subcommittee existed in the early 2000s but disbanded sometime later. It was revived last month with the purpose of providing more "substance to cycling," said Varner, who will head the subcommittee.

Jeff Smith, utility regulatory auditor for the Missouri Department of Economic Development, attended Wednesday's commission meeting and said he wants to join the subcommittee to encourage more cycling and improve the city's cycling infrastructure, such as providing more bike racks. Smith biked the Katy Trail and said with it nearby, the community should have more features to attract bicyclists.

"It's nice to be able to have that place of comfort near you," Smith said. "You can come downtown to a restaurant, sit down, have some beers, so I think it could bring more folks into downtown and promote culture and raise some revenues for the businesses."

Varner, healthy communities coordinator and wellness navigator at Capital Region Medical Center, said the next step for the subcommittee is to set up a meeting to outline its goals and implementation. The main priority she wants the subcommittee to focus on is community cycling education. The subcommittee will also host events to promote cycling and find ways to improve infrastructure.

Something the subcommittee might help with is implementing a bike share program, which consists of individuals picking up bicycles at different self-serve stations around the community and returning them to other bike stations.

"Bike share is a way to bring cycling to the community, to allow people in our community or tourists to use cycling as a recreational purpose without having to own their own cycle," Varner said. "They can use our greenways and use our bike lanes on the streets to get anywhere they need to or want to, like if it's the Capitol to do the museum there or going out to do a tour at (the Missouri State Penitentiary) or go to the Katy Trail, just to experience our community."