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Aug 112011

Wednesday night the Evansville Trails Coalition asked Democratic
candidate Rick Davis what path he'd take with the city's walking and
biking trails. Local 7 found out what he and Republican opponent Lloyd Winnecke had to say.
If there's one thing the candidates for Evansville mayor can agree on, it's that the city needs to get in shape.
Wednesday night the Evansville Trails Coalition asked democratic candidate Rick Davis what path he'd take with the city's walking and biking trails.
Trail advocates say the Greenway Passage is a great place to exercise, but an isolated one.
They say they'd like to see the future administration connect trails all over the community…and make them a more viable way to travel.
On bike or on foot, Evansville residents are using the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage to get moving.
But members of the Evansville Trails Coalition say that soon to be 7-mile path is a very small start.
Those advocates for better biking and walking trails met with democratic candidate for mayor Rick Davis about the sustainable, connected community they'd like to see.
Davis says he's saving some of his ideas for a future transportation plan, but says a consistent network of sidewalks is essential.
"You can't expect people to go out and exercise or go out and enjoy the community when they're spending half the time in a ditch or they're part of the time on a sidewalk and part of the time not on a sidewalk."
Republican opponent Lloyd Winnecke agrees and says he's already taken steps as County Commissioner to make sure new neighborhoods accommodate walkers and cyclists too.
"We approved a rezoning for a new subdivision just east of the new North High School that has a bicycle trail within the subdivision.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization has already started designating lanes for bicycles within city limits…and Davis says he'd like to see that continue.
"A lot of the bike routes, it's just a matter of a different way of restriping the roads. And I'm heavily in favor of that."
Davis doesn't say where he'd seek funding for more extensive trails.
Winnecke also says it's too early to tell, but says that the federal government could be a good source.
"We need to really focus on grant opportunities. And we just have to be very vigilant."
He says that drive…and input from trail advocates…will help Evansville get more active.
Winnecke is scheduled to share his thoughts with the coalition on August 30th.