Oregon City Council last week approved additional engineering services by Poggemeyer Design Group, Inc., for the Pearson Park bike connector.
On June 11, 2001, a $56,701 contract was awarded to Poggemeyer to provide professional engineering services for “Various Bikeway Projects,” including the Stadium Road Bikeway, phase I, the Municipal Complex Connector, phase I, and the Pearson Park connector.
The city received a $228,000 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) grant from the Federal Highway Administration to fund the construction of the Pearson Park connector in 2010.
An amendment was required for Poggemeyer to proceed in finalizing the design, which includes additional design work for the railroad crossing in order to obtain an agreement and easement from Norfolk Southern Railroad Corp. The city had appropriated the funds for the additional design work as part of this year’s city budget.
Poggemeyer spent the last several years negotiating agreements with both the Metroparks of the Toledo Area, and Norfolk Southern regarding the railroad crossing location and conceptual design for crossing the tracks.
“This is probably one of the last of the three bikeway projects to be designed,” said Oregon Public Service Director Paul Roman at a Jan. 26 council meeting. “With it, we knew we had at least two major obstacles: One was a negotiation with Edison in terms of purchasing an easement. Toledo Edison owned a 40 foot corridor through there, what is now owned by the Metroparks.” The corridor is between Lallendorf Road and Wheeling Street, north of Starr Avenue.
“Over the last three years, there’s been negotiations between the Metroparks and Edison. The Metroparks has literally purchased the 40 foot corridor, then granted an easement back to Toledo Edison, thereby allowing for the bike path to go in,” said Roman.
“Probably the last hurdle now for this project is the design for crossing the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks at Wynn Road,” said Roman. “When you do anything with the railroad, you have to negotiate an agreement for what actually takes place in the railroad right of way as well as obtain an easement for the work itself if it’s outside the railroad’s right of way or outside the city’s Wynn Road right of way. So we do need a railroad agreement in order to complete this design.”
The city supports a zig zag design for the crossing, said Roman.
“When your path comes up to the tracks, you’re forced to almost go through a little maze, or three foot fencing, to force you to come to a stop,” explained Roman. “You have to dismount from your bike and go through this maze before you cross the tracks. It forces the path user to walk across the tracks. In Ohio, there’s not many of these. But I know there are some in California. I’m working with the Norfolk Southern office out of Atlanta. They are really pushing this design, almost as if this is the only design they’re going to accept. But if you look at it, I agree with it. It’s a very simple and safe way to provide a railroad pedestrian crossing .It will be unique, maybe one of the first in Ohio.”
Oregon and the Metroparks are teaming up to provide the local share of funding the project, said Roman.
“We had always agreed they would go after the easement and provide the maintenance of the bike path later on after its construction. The city was responsible for the design and railroad crossing agreement and right of way,” said Roman.
The city is expected to bid the project in the fall, he said.