Newark soon could have more bicycle trails with better connectivity.

Newark soon could have more bicycle trails with better connectivity.

Newark City Council's service committee Oct. 26 heard a presentation from Columbus-based Neighborhood Design Center, which studied the city's bicycle trails and connectivity between them.

Cheryl Huffman, the center's director of landscape architecture, said the group determined that the best way to connect the east and west pieces of the bicycle trail would be along Canal Street, just south of the downtown Newark square. She said the Thomas J. Evans Foundation owns a building in that area that could be converted for use as public restrooms for trail riders. Parking also would be needed for people who want to use the trails, she said.

The city could add three different types of trails. One, which would be the least expensive option, would allow bicyclists to share lanes with vehicles. Bicycle lanes are another option and could be added along driving lanes, next to curbs. The third -- and most expensive, according to Huffman -- is a multipurpose trail that could be used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

Huffman told the service committee several pieces of trails could be added to Newark's existing trail system to improve connectivity and use. A northern loop could connect the trail to Waterworks Road, Deo Drive and Goosepond Road, for example. A southern loop could follow Raccoon Creek, near the YMCA on Church Street, following the creek south and then east. A more central connection could be made from the existing part of the trail that runs along state Route 16, extending the trail from Granville Road to Sixth Street and then south to Main Street.

Kimberly Burton, Newark's planner, said she is looking into eight available grants to fund bicycle trail extensions.

Stephen Fowler, the city's economic-development director, said grants could be obtained through different city departments, including community development, parks and engineering.

Burton said the city is completing cost estimates for the trails and determining if matching funds are available prior to applying for grants.

Councilwoman Irene Kennedy praised the plan. Other council members questioned individual aspects of it.

Law director Douglas Sassen asked if adding bicycle lanes through downtown would eliminate parking on some streets.

Burton said some options would keep parking on streets that contain bicycle lanes. She said the city is investigating all options before applying for grants.

"I certainly think it's something we'd all like to see," Councilman Don Ellington said.

Plans for future bicycle trails are posted on the city's Web site: www.ci.newark.oh.us.