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The Emporia sidewalk is a shared-use bicycle and pedestrian path that winds through the median.

Winding path
By Chris Strunk
Last Updated: March 23, 2017

Project creates long and narrow public park of sorts

This isn't your grandparents' sidewalk.

The winding structure that is taking shape in the Emporia Avenue median in Valley Center this month is what they call a shared-use bicycle and pedestrian path.

It's 10 feet wide. It's more like a small road.

"This was a chance to create a path outside the normal straight shot," said Josh Golka, the city's engineer.

The path curves around trees that grow in the large median to create a long and narrow public park of sorts. In the future, the city hopes to add so-called pause points with benches and other structures along the path.

The long-awaited and often-discussed path  connects the city's southeast neighborhoods with McLaughlin Park and schools north of Fifth Street. It's part of the city's sidewalk master plan.

The project is scheduled to take 45 working days. It started earlier this month and could wrap up in early May.

Like the Valley Meadows sidewalk, the $220,000 project is receiving federal funds and is overseen by the Kansas Department of Transportation. The city is kicking in $93,000.

Unlike the Valley Meadows project, the Emporia path doesn't have many obstacles, such as driveways or irrigation systems, Golka said.

There is an abandoned oil pipeline below the median, he said, but it poses no problems.

The city also had several evergreen trees removed. Many were suffering from disease, Golka said.




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