JACKSON, Wyo. — The Jackson Town Council began discussions about a bike lane connectivity project recently.
During the July 19 meeting, the council voted to continue the discussion, without granting permission to town staff to begin the planning process for the project.
Brian Schilling, Pathways and Trails Coordinator presented the Council with an overview for bike lane connectivity from Snow King Ave. to the North Highway 89 pathway, with connections to Snow King Mountain, Jackson Elementary School (JES), the Rec Center and the downtown area.
Schilling presented the “missing gaps in the connection” especially on Willow Street from the Gill intersection to Snow King Ave and Cache Street up to Willow Street.
Another aspect of the project would be to connect Hidden Hollow to North Cache Street, making a fluid connection to the Highway 89 pathway.
Schilling explained the need for protected bike lanes and connectivity because “the current facilities are not adequate for users of all ages and abilities.”
He shared photos of elementary-aged children in comparison to the large vehicles they share the road with, highlighting the safety issues bikers face without protected bike lanes.
According to the staff report, “prior community engagement and planning efforts have identified Willow St. as the most logical route to complete the connection from Snow King Ave. to JES, and provide a safe, low-stress route that avoids the highly congested areas around the Town Square.”
Currently, Willow Street is a shared space, with bikers and motorists on the road together. While it is the official bike route, there are only signs and a few bike lane indicators painted on the road.
“At the base level, we are looking at some sort of protected bike lane [on Willow Street], paint and signs just don’t cut it,” Schilling said.
Schilling also presented other options to make biking safer around Jackson. Protected intersections, he said, make cyclists more visible. Raised/continuous side crossings are another option that prioritizes the bike lane above vehicular travel.
Jessica Sell Chambers, Jonathan Schecter, and Vice Mayor Arne Jorgensen were present at the meeting. They decided to continue to discussion to a later meeting to allow more time for questions.
Once town staff gets the OK from the council, they will begin draft concept development for the council to review. Public outreach will then be conducted and the Council will be presented with the final plan for approval.