Plans in motion for new city trails

Northwest is planning to finance a walking trail on Fourth Street, one that would eliminate multiple crosswalks.

The city of Maryville will potentially see two new walking and biking trails in the near future, one of which would trace an iconic Northwest street.

Maryville City Council approved resolutions requesting funding and support from the Missouri Department of Transportation for two trail projects in late October.

The projects would be extensions built off existing trails on Fourth Street and Torrance Street.

Traced by a series of Bearcat paws, Fourth Street is home to some of Northwest’s most scenic and well-known areas, including Bearcat Stadium, Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building, International Flag Plaza and Colden Pond.

“In front of fine arts, there is no sidewalk on that Southside, this would be to continue that connectivity," Manager of Capital Programs Scott Kuhlemeyer said.

Fourth Street also contains multiple crosswalks, something that both Northwest and city officials want to solve.

“It would eliminate five to six pedestrian crossings on the University campus,” City Manager Greg McDanel said. “We know how they go everywhere in that section so this would consolidate that down to two or three.”

Assistant Vice President of Facility Services and Capital Programs Allen Mays said the trail would also help accommodate large crowds of people that walk to get to the football stadiums on game day.

"You see people walking through the grass. You really don't pay attention a whole lot to the crosswalks because you're walking across the grass instead. We feel like we're addressing a lot of those issues,” Mays said

In addition to new streetlights in the area, the school is expected to plant a series of trees to help tie in with the campus arboretum.

May said the project was one example of Northwest's campus master plan, a comprehensive or far-reaching plan of action for improving Northwest.

"Beautification and wayfinding is an aspect of campus master plan, so there are a number of projects that are associated with that,” Mays said. “This is a focal area of the campus.”

Mays credited the student body, noting that new student fees have been critical for Northwest to be able to carry out master plan beautification projects like this.

While roughly 43 percent of the Torrance Street trail would be paid for the city and the rest by state funding, the Fourth Street trail was only made possible by outside contributions.

“This is a fully funded project from Northwest Missouri State University,” McDanel said. “They’ve identified an area of their campus that they consider to be a prime candidate for pedestrian enhancements.”

The Torrance Street trail extension would be nearly twice as long as the Fourth Street trail, and unlike Torrance, would connect multiple trails.

The plan calls for extending the trail that cuts off near South Mulberry Street and then connecting it to the South Munn Avenue trail behind the middle and high school.

Maryville City Council first began preliminary discussions on a number of potential trail extensions back in September before prioritizing the two projects.

City Council requested trail funding as part of MoDOT’s Transportation Alternative Program.

A long-time recipient of TAP funding, Maryville is one of many cities that use TAP funds in order to expand its non-traditional transportation systems.

Maryville has $75,000 budgeted as a match for the Torrance Trail project, which is expected to cost around $250,000.

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