The proposed bike path from downtown Kodiak to Deadman’s Curve hit another dead end during Tuesday’s City Council work session when City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski said she had not heard back from the State Department of Transporation. During last month’s work session council members were told they would have to sign a draft agreement with the DOT on the bike path project before any definitive costs could be provided. Many council members expressed concerns about the unknown cost and didn’t feel comfortable signing a contract without knowing the cost. There were other questions about the agreement that council members raised, but Kniaziowski said she was unable to reach anyone with the DOT since then. Councilman Charlie Davidson said it wouldn’t behoove the council to continue discussions about the project without those answers.
— (Bike Path Cont. 1 :10 “I don’t know there’s just too…from the Department of Transportation.”)
Councilman John Whiddon seconded Davidson’s opinion and said those answers will be determining factors for him on whether or not to go ahead with the project.
— (Bike Path Cont. 2 :48 “My major concern with this whole…on bike paths or any other project.”)
City Mayor Pat Branson agreed with Whiddon and said council members should also be cognizant of looming budget discussions.
— (Bike Path Cont. 3 :22 “We have the budget right around…not be fiscally responsible at all.”)
Before the discussion began, a handful of community members spoke out against the project, citing the financial burden it would bring. Andy Schroeder is the director and founder of Island Trails Network and was the projects sole advocate during the public comment period. He brought with him a detailed list of options that could help cover some of the costs.
— (Bike Path Cont. 4 :33 “First, ITN obtained a grant of…that the borough supports this project.”)
Schroeder also said the borough projects much less in maintenance costs for the bike path than the city’s estimate of $30,000 a year. The council took no action on the plan or draft agreement, postponing the matter until answers to remaining questions could be answered.