Prairie Line Trail - UWT Station
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012 20:04
The 80 foot wide rail corridor that runs through campus is waiting to be transformed into a vibrant new space for cyclists and pedestrians alike. The corridor was to be known as the Prairie Line or the Hood Corridor. The new name after a certain response at the January forum will be the Prairie Line Trail – UWT Station. The area will have water features that function to cleanse the water that runs down through our campus and into the Thea Foss Waterway. The $4 million project when finished should be nothing short of amazing. The project could be ready to bid as early as spring 2013 with a possible finishing date of fall 2013, of course that is if everything goes according to plan.
Every time the project goes to public forum with a design or designs ready, the public gets to decide what will happen next with the project. If the public can agree on a design that incorporates all of the elements that people prefer such as maintaining the historical tracks, including walking and biking trails while maintaining the industrial and historical feel of the campus then it can go to bid. It is extremely important to the public that everyone can use this trail. The public forum concluded that this needed to be an equal use space that also includes gathering space.
The public forum on January 30 was overly optimistic in some ways. The presenters were hoping to present a design that would be very well accepted and the process would move forward to bidding and construction could commence soon after. The actual process is much more grueling in reality. The design firm, Atelier Dreiseitl, came up with three designs for the January forum. They knew they would have to come up with another final schematic design, but they were hoping one of the designs would be better received at the forum. It’s very difficult to come up with something perfect right off the bat. The community didn’t unanimously decide on one.
The next step for Atelier Dreiseitl is to create a schematic design by June, which will hopefully be met with approval. The committee meets quarterly so each time a deadline isn’t met, the team has to wait three more months. That means the project will be delayed another three months. After the deadline is met and a public forum can agree on the design, then the project can go to bidding and eventually break ground.
The new design will incorporate some of the old design ideas, but it will also be missing some of the features in previous designs. The previous designs had plenty of water features. While the new design will have water features, they only work on their own to filter water. There will be nothing that is consistent in holding water or anything that will cycle water electronically such as a fountain.
Optimistically, the project could be completed in the fall of 2013, but it is likely it could be delayed by three quarters if the deadline for the design isn’t met or a design isn’t agreed upon. The project should turn out rather well since the last public forum had a lot of people with opinions to help formulate the next design.
The most important part of the new design is making sure the public can use the space and their needs voiced at the community forum are met. If the new schematic design is finished in time for the June deadline then we are one step closer to having a completed corridor by fall of 2013.