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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Bike initiative to raise funds for signs

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  • The ReNewton Bicycling Initiative wants to make roads safer for those who like to bike across the county, and they have volunteered to raise their own funds for a sign project."We're willing to pick that up," Jerry Smith with the ReNewton Bicycle Initiative said at Monday's Harvey County Commission meeting. "... We'll do our part to see that this works."Members of the ReNewton Bicycle Initiative spoke during a previous county commission meeting and requested signs promoting bicycle safety be placed on county roads.The group would like to see about 70 traffic signs placed on county roads to remind motorists to look out for bicycles and that by law, motorists must give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing them on the road.The group proposed to pay for the cost of the signs, about $1,000, if the county would take care of the cost of installation (posts, labor, etc.). They would like the signs to be in place around March of 2013, the beginning of the cycling season.ReNewton Bicycle Initiative members divided the signs into three groups, based on priority, and commissioner-elect Randy Hague suggested possibly putting up the signs in these stages. In case the county Road and Bridge department did not have time to put them all up by March, they could at least finish priority No. 1, he said."This really is a public safety issue," he said.Commission chair Marge Roberson also supported the project."Harvey County has been pretty forward-thinking in promoting wellness activities for our citizens," she said. "I think it's a great idea. I think it's a great way for government and private partnership to work together."Other businessCommissioners also authorized Harvey County staff to move forward with a KDOT federal fund exchange program.The program would allow Harvey County to exchange its federal funding for Kansas Department of Transportation dollars to use on Road and Bridge projects. Although the exchange rate would be $0.90 of state funds for every $1 of federal funds, county officials believe they could save time and money due to relaxed regulations that come with the program.Jim Meier, county Road and Bridge superintendent, previously told the commission that by trading federal funds for state dollars, the county will be able to avoid some of the stricter federal requirements. However, the relaxed regulations will not impact the safety of projects such as bridges, which still would need to be approved by an engineer.The county would be required to develop a plan of how it would spend the money. The county could decide to use the exchange dollars to fund 100 percent of a bridge project, or the county could decide to contribute some of its own funding, and use the exchange dollars for several projects.  

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