A meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 28 at the Super Eight Motel in Grangeville for “coffee and discussion” of a Grangeville Highway District idea to seek federal grant funding to build a loop bicyclists and pedestrians could use west of town.
The proposed path would track from the west side of Grangeville High School along the roadbed where Highway 95 was located in the 1920s, project lead Daryl Mullinix told the Free Press Wednesday, March 13. Proceeding west, the path would turn north along Fish Hatchery Road, then east along the modern highway, totaling about 1.8 miles from the point departing city limits to the point entering.
The proposal also sets forth the possibility of a path due west from the high school to meet the highway at Tolo Lake Road, to return to town alongside the highway. This section would measure about 1.5 miles from the points where the shorter path would turn to follow Fish Hatchery Road.
Mullinix told the Free Press the idea’s fate hinges on public support, which he acknowledged might be tough to find, and that even if the highway district wins support from the local public as well as the city and county governments, the proposal would face competition for the grant funding, which in the past has gone to similar projects in Boise, McCall, Lewiston, Lapwai, Coeur d’Alene and beyond.
The likeliest source for federal grant funding would be the federal gas tax by way of what is presently known as the Transportation Alternatives program, the origin of which dates to the early 1990s.
According to a March 11 letter from the Grangeville Highway District to the Free Press, a “substantial increase in rural development and use of the road system by bicyclists and pedestrians in the last few years” has made for public safety issues on “rights-of-ways that were established 100 years ago and in most cases are 50 or 60 feet in width.”
“These narrow rights-of-ways and travel ways make it difficult to accommodate this multiple use of motor vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians,” the letter reads in part.