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Special Report: Grand Mere Development
Grand Mere: Bicycle-Friendly Development
November 12, 2009
Victoria McKennan

As Manhattan’s only master-planned golf course community, Grand Mere Development has generated interest with a variety of housing options, commercial opportunities, and almost 300 acres of land for recreational golf. What people may not know is that the plan includes an extensive bike path system intended to connect with the rest of Manhattan’s transportation network. Recently, I had the opportunity to explore the development and sit down with Project Director Jerry Petty, to learn more about how bike paths are incorporated into the master plan.

How many miles of paths are included?
Approximately 4 miles of separate trails are already in place, and about 6-8 total miles have been planned.

Will the paths be open to all Manhattan residents?
Yes, all paths are public.

Why were bike paths important to include in the master plan?
Bicycle and pedestrian connections are important pieces of the transportation network. The owners of Grand Mere want a complete development; they did not want to leave an element of transportation out.

How do you justify the extra expense?
It doesn’t need to be justified. It’s just like asking, how do you justify a sewer system? Bike paths must be recognized as an essential part of the whole plan.
Some bike paths were built strictly by Grand Mere, and some were built as partnerships with the City. From the private perspective, we would like to see the cost-sharing continue. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

A good portion of the Hudson Trail expansion was funded through the public-private partnership to connect to Kansas State University’s Marlatt Park, providing more citizens with access to the trail network.

How will the paths connect with the rest of the city?
Kimball Ave needed a north-east transportation link. With bike lanes on both sides of the road, Grand Mere Parkway helps fulfill that need. All other bike paths and trails spur out from this corridor with some intersecting up to Marlatt Ave. Hopefully this concept continues.

Right now, we’re concerned with the Linear Trail connection. A connection from Grand Mere to Anderson Ave. is critical to providing access to the entire city. As the area is becoming more and more developed, the trail will be more difficult to complete.

What are your hopes for how the paths will be used?
I see the trails being used primarily for recreation and exercise. I would like to see it become part of the transportation network, but the reality is there are not many work centers out here. However, it would be great to see the paths and lanes being used as routes to school. Bicycle access to Bergman Elementary and Susan B. Anthony middle school would be a great asset to the surrounding neighborhoods.

A new fire station is also planned for the development, which will include Manhattan’s first public restroom located on a trail system. Clearly, Grand Mere is not your typical development. The plan, which was published in 2000, is about 1/3 of the way through development. Rather than a typical in and out development, Grand Mere is planned to be completed in phases, with construction driven by market demands. While several miles of the multi-use path system are still anticipated, residents are not waiting to make use of the network. With such gorgeous views, it’s no surprise that Petty has observed visitors driving out to the community to bike or walk on the completed paths. The scenery was a huge consideration in designing the master plan. Petty explained, “There is so much elevation change out here that it would be wrong to think of this plan in only two dimensions.” The fall colors make this a great time to visit the development which is located approximately 2.4 miles west of Bill Snyder Family Stadium off of Kimball Avenue.

Grand Mere certainly sets the standard for bicycle-friendly development in Manhattan. The plan’s continued implementation will hopefully encourage multi-modal transportation connections throughout the City.