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Pathways Commission to seek grants

To make Oxford even more bike-friendly, the Oxford Pathways Commission is considering applying for a grant from a national organization aimed at providing funds for communities that wish to provide better biking experiences for its residents.

The organization, People for Bikes, was established in 1999 includes both an industry coalition of bicycling suppliers and retailers as well as a charitable foundation, which has spent more than $30 million to provide more biking experiences. More than $12.1 million has been invested in community biking projects. They partner with other national groups like Safe Routes to School, the League of American Bicyclists and the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

The community grants program doles out funds to communities for projects that include bike paths and rail trails, as well as mountain bike trails, bike parks, BMX facilities and large-scale bicycle advocacy initiatives.

Since 1999, it’s awarded 341 grants in 49 states.

Pathways commissioner Don Feitel asked the commission Monday during its regular meeting to think about what type of projects it would like to see to apply for the grant. The application is due in December.

Assistant City Planner Ben Requet thought perhaps the grant, if awarded, could be used to help fill in the gaps where bike paths don’t connect to anything.

“Where there is no development, we have paths that just stop,” he said.

Feitel agreed and mentioned a similar problem with sidewalks.

“Near Lamar Lounge on North Lamar there’s a sidewalk but it doesn’t go anywhere, it doesn’t connect,” he said.

Other possible projects discussed included connecting the existing Rail Trails to more neighborhoods and working with other organizations, like Rebel Well on the University of Mississippi campus to team up for a future project.

In other business Monday, the commission agreed to continue working on a check-list for the Public Works Department to make sure developers are adhering to the city’s Complete Streets Policy. Former commissioner Mike Mossing, who attended the meeting, volunteered to do some research and provide the results to the commission on what type of check lists other cities with similar policies use.