Helena City Commission to decide on Bike Friendly district - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Helena City Commission to decide on Bike Friendly district

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The Helena city commission is holding a public hearing tonight to discuss a resolution of intent. The resolution would provide extra funds to make Helena more bike and pedestrian friendly.

After tonight's city commission meeting, the city of Helena could be moving forward with plans to create a district within the city limits that would improve getting around town on foot or bike. That would include sidewalk improvements, curbside trails, and bike lane maintenance.

"We are trying to improve upon those facilities," City Manager Ron Alles said. "There are any number of neighborhoods in town that don't have sidewalks, that don't have bike lanes. There's room for improvement throughout the city."

Helena residents who use their bike to commute say this is a great direction for the city to take.

"I think it's a great idea, I think we need to increase the walking and biking infrastructure that we have in Helena." Safe Routes to School coordinator Elisa Prescott said. "It important to have those things."

Prescott bikes 10 miles per week around town. She says she would benefit a great deal with if the city created safer routes for cyclists.

"I commute by bike to work everyday," Prescott said. "So it's really important to me to have a safe route to get to work. I commute to errands and around town and so it's important to me to have other cyclists as well as motorist educated about the rules and have that infrastructure in place to do it safely. 

"In total it's going to be about $105,000 a year as being proposed right now," Alles said. "Any Property owner in Helena is going to have an opportunity to protest that."

Protests forms will be sent out within the next few weeks, where property owners will be asked to mail in their protest or support of the district proposal. If the protests exceed 50 percent of the vote, the proposal will die....if the number of protests fall between 50 to 10 percent then the proposal will go to a referendum or a vote to the people....finally if it's less than 10 percent then the commission can pass the proposal as is.