CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston could finally get its first official bike lanes by the end of the year, City Manager David Molgaard said, if City Council members OK a design contract next week.
"We're going to recommend a contract with TRC Engineers for up to $280,000 to provide planning, design and contract administration services related to the Kanawha Trestle walk and bikeway system," Molgaard said.
Its name notwithstanding, the project involves dual bike lines -- one in each direction -- along the river side of Kanawha Boulevard, from Magic Island to Patrick Street, Molgaard said.
Consultants working on a new comprehensive plan for the city unveiled the bike lane proposal last September during an Imagine Charleston open house at the Culture Center.
Council members agreed in October to redirect $2.2 million of city and federal funds to the project. The money was originally earmarked for the Kanawha Trestle Trail plan to convert the CSX train trestle for hiking and biking, which engineers said could cost $15 million or more.
An ad hoc committee unanimously chose TRC among eight firms that responded to a request for qualifications, Molgaard said. Unlike most other firms, TRC came up with a novel approach.
"My initial thought, and most of the other firms agreed, was to keep the curbs [between the Boulevard and the walkway] and keep the light fixtures in place, which put the bike lanes near to the traffic. We were thinking you'd need some kind of bollard system to provide separation from the traffic," Molgaard said.
"One of the things I think the selection committee liked about the system from TRC was the provision for a buffer between the bike lanes and vehicular lanes. They felt we could move the light poles north, move the bike lanes next to the pedestrian walkway and add a little green space, some plantings."