Ferndale should see construction begin next month on new bicycling infrastructure under the 17.1-mile Woodward Corridor Neighborhood Bicycle Network loop with five neighboring cities, even if it’s going to cost more than initially planned.
The City Council this week OK’d an extra $47,000 after the lowest construction bid came in 16 percent higher than the original estimate. The money is the city’s local match to a federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant awarded in July 2015 to Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak.
The project will entail constructing new dedicated, painted bike lanes, shared lane markings (called “sharrows”), improved pedestrian street crossings with flashing lights and curb extensions, and wayfinding stations with bike repair stations and racks for parking.
Council had originally approved its $112,200 local match in December. Ferndale’s portion of the $406,000 bike network project is now $182,700, including $23,500 for work on some sidewalk ramps. The city is getting about $162,000 in TAP funds for the project.
“The overage is due to having a small amount of work at numerous locations spread out of 14 miles of the bicycle network, thus reducing any economies of scale that we typically see on projects confined to one work area,” city planner Justin Lyons wrote in a memo to council.
Council members expressed frustration about having to return to the project for more funding, which will come out of its Major Streets fund. Several noted that not approving the extra expenditure would mean losing out on the federal grant, and they reasoned that the TAP grant helps the city achieve many of the goals it has already laid out in its multi-modal Ferndale Moves plan.
“I don’t think it’s throwing good money at bad, I think it’s throwing good money at a good investment,” council member Greg Pawlica said.
Lyons told council members that many businesses have expressed strong support for the city’s bike lanes alone Nine Mile and Livernois. He cited Axle Brewing Co.’s plans to open a taproom and beer garden on Livernois, saying the owners have said their decision was influenced in part by the presence of the green painted bike lanes there.
Ferndale’s construction projects total $345,000 and constitute roughly 85 percent of the total five-city project cost. Construction is projected to wrap up in July.
Ferndale in 2014 used TAP grant funding to install painted bike lanes along West Nine Mile and Livernois. Royal Oak also used TAP funding for bike lanes on Fourth Street.
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Creative Commons photo by Michigan Municipal League