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Kevin M

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Platinum Improvements and HMBA rep
« on: July 30, 2011, 10:00:11 AM »
As I mentioned in another thread, and as I've discussed with a number of the park's most dedicated volunteers, Wapehani is going to see major improvements as part of Bloomington's commitment to moving up the Bicycle Friendly podium from Silver to Platinum.  This will, over the next several years, include capital improvements such as bathrooms and improved bicycle access.

Parks & Rec is working closely with the city's Planning Department to make this happen.  This process will also involve a more involved partnership with the HMBA, who is our supporting partner on a major grant application which we hope will allow us to fund some capstone projects (boardwalks, features) that will complete the revitalization of the official trail system that we began two years ago.

Even though we will have to wait for capital improvements, we will be bringing all stakeholders together to develop a larger vision for mountain biking in Bloomington (hopefully early in 2012).  Without preempting that phase of the process, I believe that everyone is excited by the prospect of enlarging Wapehani, as well as linking it to a companion trail system.  I would encourage you to use this thread to post suggestions in the meantime.

Finally, Allen Edwards has agreed to take on the responsibilities of being the local HMBA representative as we move forward with this process.

Dave G.

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Re: Platinum Improvements and HMBA rep
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2011, 11:56:23 AM »
Congrats to Allen and to Wapehani Park for this good news!

Dave
David Gardner
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heartland

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Re: Platinum Improvements and HMBA rep
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2011, 10:33:12 PM »
This is really exciting! I think the changes that are in the works will make an already awesome park even better.

Here are my two cents. Out of the proposed plans, the top three projects that I'd like to see are

  • Bike trail connections to Wapehani. I love accessing Wap. via the Clear Creek Trail, and while jumping on Weimer Rd. to get to the park isn't bad at all, it'd be even better (and would probably attract more users) if there were a bike path connection.
    Also, a bike friendly route coming from the north would be tremendously helpful. Riding in on Bloomfield Rd. sucks. Are there plans to extend the B-Line Trail on the rails west of Rogers St.? If so, it would be AWESOME if they could somehow link down to the Twin Lakes Rec. Center. That'd be an easy and much safer way to access the rec center, the baseball fields, and Wap. by bike.
  • Park facilities. Bathrooms would be great, especially if they were big enough for changing clothes.
  • It'd be cool to build an expert loop with more technical features. The top of Outcrop Hill strikes me as a good spot - the log skinny is already up there, and there are already several "qualifiers" in place (steep climbs to access that part of the park) that would limit the numbers of new riders venturing up there.

Many thanks to Kevin and HMBA for all the hard work and planning that's going into this project!

Kevin M

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Re: Platinum Improvements and HMBA rep
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2011, 01:18:18 PM »
I think everyone wants those first two major capital improvements, but of course they're expensive and coupled to political and economic realities in a time of austerity.  I would look for an improved Clear Creek crossing by the end of 2012 as part of major Tapp Rd infrastructure work.  A lot of people, not just mtbr's, want safer bike infrastructure along Bloomfield, as well as a more efficient flow at the Rec Center (probably a roundabout at Weimer).  And of course we hear about the Powerline route periodically, too.  So the good news is that better bike access is coming, but it's several years out.  Same issue with a bathroom, which would likely also include a tool storage shed (kind of like Leonard Springs).  I'll look into the costs involved in a temporary chemical toilet in the meantime, maybe just during peak riding months.

The bulk of our trail system is More Difficult; we come up short on Easy and Most Difficult.  So yeah, I'd love to see more Expert trails as much as I'd like to see more Beginner mileage.  We could certainly look at intensifying Outcrop Hill and signing it as black diamond.  Realistically, IMHO, we need to look outside the current official park boundaries to add mileage on either end of the difficulty spectrum.

Any particular kind of "features" that you especially want to see?

heartland

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Re: Platinum Improvements and HMBA rep
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2011, 01:44:15 PM »
Yeah, I'm sure that the infrastructure projects will take a lot of time and money, but as a long term goal I think they'd be a huge improvement to that whole area.

I agree that more beginner mileage would be helpful and that it'd take more land to build them.

As far as features go, I'd like to see a rock garden or two like the ones on Hesitation Point. The park already has several great log crossings and skinnies, and a bigger rock garden would compliment them nicely, I think.

It'd be nice to have a section of trail that combines several kinds of features. You know that short section of trail at the top of Outcrop that branches off from the main trail and that has a large log crossing already? Building a couple other features on that trail could make it a good Most Difficult trail for anyone looking for a technical challenge. And since there is already an alternative route, it'd be easy to sign so riders know what they're getting into and can choose to take the easier way.

Of course, overall I think adding technical features should be lower on the priority list than the reroutes and new construction that are being worked on right now.

Speaking of which, I've got some free time this weekend to do trail work if that works with your schedule, Kevin.

Cheers!
Adam

Kevin M

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Re: Platinum Improvements and HMBA rep
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2011, 06:07:38 PM »
If you haven't noticed (or read the Herald Times lately), big changes are already underway at the Tapp Rd / Clear Creek / Weimer intersection.  A bridge will take drivers over the creek and a bike/ped underpass.  The Clear Creek Trail will run under the bridge and connect to both an additional trailhead parking lot and to a sidepath running (ultimately) the length of Tapp/Country Club down to the B-Line.  In other words, safer bike access to Wapehani is coming.  That project is scheduled to be complete by Labor Day 2012, although I'm not sure what the timetable is on the last segment of the sidepath (roundabout to roundabout). (Incidentally, the same TIF mechanism that is funding these capital improvements is also contributing funds for Wapehani improvements.)

Our season in a nutshell is captured in the difference between these two photos:





The tornado cleanup was a huge job, and still isn't finished.  But we were able to shape up both the Hwy Hillside and Tuliptree Loop considerably after we'd restored trail access:







And now, as the season winds down, we're making preparations to mill some of the tornado blowdown to build bridges and features:



2012 will be busy.  Once the terms of our MOU with the private property owners are finalized we'll be able to say more.

Kevin M

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Re: Platinum Improvements and HMBA rep
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2011, 09:05:02 AM »
Tonight the City Council is voting on adopting the recommendations of the Platinum Biking Task Force's final report.  Public comment is welcome. The meeting begins at 7:30 PM. 


 

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