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Lansing looking to expand River Trail, other paths in city

lansing river trail bridge with signage covered in snow on a wintry day
Lansing River Trail

Officials in Lansing are pursuing two infrastructure projects to facilitate non-motorized transportation and expand the Lansing River Trail system.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to accept federal grant funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program. More than $400,000 in federal dollars and about $100,000 in local spending will be used to construct new pathways for pedestrians and cyclists.

One proposed path would stretch from Shiawassee Street to Saginaw, linking existing bike lanes with the 13-mile-long River Trail. The other would create sidewalks between central Frandor, Ranney Park and East Lansing and connect to the eastern end of the trail.

Lansing Public Service Director Andy Kilpatrick says the city chose to target these projects for federal funding to make it easier for people to take advantage of walking and biking paths.

“There were kind of some short extensions that we thought could sort of extend that River Trail, so that more people could enjoy that,” he said.

Kilpatrick added the connections to the trail system increase travel options for pedestrians and cyclists in the community.

“Especially, you know, with the River Trail system, anytime we can link to those, we try and do so,” he said.

The projects would comply with Lansing's Complete Streets ordinance, which requires the city to consider multiple modes of transportation when implementing new roadways and projects. The new pathways would also coincide with a future redesign of the east side of Michigan Avenue that would add protected bike lanes.

Once federal dollars are allocated to the project, the Michigan Department of Transportation will oversee the construction and implementation of the new infrastructure.

Kilpatrick said the new pathways could be completed by late 2024 under the current timeline.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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