New Spring River Trail connection planned near former Cahoon Pool
The city of Roswell’s engineering department wants more feedback on the bike and pedestrian master plan before the period for public input closes.
City Engineer Louis Najar said public input regarding the plan can be submitted online until Aug. 31. Since the website went live in May, Najar explained that his department has not received enough responses.
“Postive, negative, we just want comments,” Najar said.
“We’re trying to make our city better,” Merideth Hildreth, planning & zoning administrator, said.
The interactive map, via the website (bhinc.com/roswell-bike-ped-plan/participate/#map), will be closing on July 31 and the 19-question questionnaire will be closing Aug. 31. Najar said comments can also be emailed to him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Engineering department staff also explained that a new flyer and survey with a section for input is available for users of the city’s Pecos Trails Transit buses. Hildreth said a bus driver informed the steering committee that transit users take the trails to get to their bus stops. Bill Morris, community development director, said there are 650 stops on the city’s transit system.
Residents can place icons to mark spots for bike parking, biking and walking destinations, obstacles and hazards, poor trail and sidewalk conditions, bikeway/sidewalk gaps. They can submit general comments or ideas anonymously.
The intention of the plan is to “build off of the existing network of sidewalks and trails and develop a comprehensive bike and pedestrian network,” as stated on the project’s website. The map states the study is focused on pedestrian and bike facilities inside the city limits. However, it is open to input all across the Roswell area.
On Friday, the interactive map had 36 comments. Glenda Allen, Civil Engineering Tech Designer II with the city of Roswell, said comments have a theme of concerns about trail safety and maintenance.
Representatives from the city, Roswell Independent School District, Roswell Bicycle Club, New Mexico Department of Transportation and others have a presence on both a focus group and a steering committee regarding the plan.
After public input and design, Najar said that all of these projects and ideas must go through Roswell City Council committees and on to full council to be considered.
Certain comments indicate that cyclists and pedestrians would like to see improvements to sidewalks and bikeways on Brasher Road, McGaffey Street, Mescalero Road, Sunset Avenue and Garden Avenue. Some specific locations where sidewalks and bike-friendly paths were requested were around Roswell High School and Stiles Park & Ballfield.
Other comments suggested bike routes near Goddard High School and Del Norte Elementary for students to commute to school. In reaching out to RISD, Najar said a very low number was provided for students biking or walking daily.
As listed in the comments, stray dogs, trash, broken glass, homeless presence, and poor riding and walking surfaces were concerns on the trails themselves. Near streets, people wrote comments about lack of safe sidewalks close to schools, lack of bike lanes and signage, speeding cars and gaps in sidewalks.
The engineering firm overseeing this project, Bohannan Huston Inc. (BHI), out of Albuquerque, held the first public input meeting on May 2 with about 30 people in attendance. The second meeting will be held after data is collected from the questionnaires and interactive map, with a third meeting slated for early next year, where a drafted plan will be presented.
The Spring River Trail and Hondo River Trail are both east-to-west thoroughfares that have received $278,000 collectively in funding to be improved.
Ryan Porter, assistant city engineer with the city of Roswell, explained federal funding for these projects — with the city also contributing — is slated for the federal fiscal year 2020 for Spring River, at $149,000; and in 2021 for the Hondo River Trail, at $129,000.
Najar said the plan is to have both projects designed in the fall and out to bid in the spring.
Morris said Mayor Dennis Kintigh has been pushing another north to south trail going along the BNSF railroad. Morris said the railroad has been “extremely” hesitant due to potential liability.
Currently, the Spring River Trail goes through the parking lot between the city’s Parks and Rec office and where Cahoon Pool once was, crossing Union Avenue into Cahoon Park and ending at the Spring River Zoo.
Morris said the intention is to reroute the trail around where Cahoon Pool was. He said the high-dive platform is being preserved and a plaque will be made to commemorate the history of the pool.
City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at email@example.com.