Lights for added safety and connection points are the goals of projects in Pleasantville and Linwood for the bike path that reaches into both municipalities.

The project to extend portions of the path into Somers Point and over the bridge into Ocean City can move ahead with the receipt of a $270,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation, said Linwood Councilman Todd Gordon.

The main goal of the extension project is to connect areas of Linwood on a path that snakes by Mainland Regional High School and near the Cornerstone commercial center, Gordon said.

“Several plans were considered, but not all are possible. We have to determine the best process and figure out the cost so we don’t put the city in a position to expend money,” Gordon said.

The grant from the DOT was awarded in August, he said, and preliminary discussions have taken place with Mainland.

Though the plan has been in the works for at least three years, Gordon said, the grant helps move the project to the next step.

Potential designs include some that were initially brought up at a November 2011 meeting at Linwood City Hall attended by DOT officials.

The discussion at the Linwood Environmental Commission meeting Oct. 17 included a possible design of cutting through the school’s athletic fields, but that is being resisted by some.

One of the long-term effects of the bike path project will be the installation of a traffic light near Cornerstone at Monroe Avenue, said commission member Jim Rutala.

Though the grant has been awarded, funds have not been released yet and are contingent upon a design and contract secured within 18 months, Gordon said.

The plan is to bring back the original committee that began this process, as well as contacting all stakeholders — which include the high school and Cornerstone, he said.

Once the Linwood city engineer designs the new route, bids will be sought, Rutala said. When a contract is signed, the funds to begin the project will be released from the state.

In Pleasantville, the city is seeking a grant to make its portion of the bike path safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The city became connected to the bike path in November 2000, but its portion remains the only one without lights. The lack of lights has been a long-standing issue for residents concerned with safety and not being able to use it at night.

Pleasantville is applying for a grant from the state Department of Transportation to install lights along the path.

Rutala, who serves as Pleasantville’s planning consultant, said in September the city will request a $300,000 grant to add lights to the more than one-mile stretch of the path from the city’s border to the Black Horse Pike.

The DOT had done a pedestrian safety study in the city last year, and lights on the bike path was a top priority since it stretches to the middle of town, Rutala said.

Staff writer Joel Landau contributed to this report.

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