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updated: 9/17/2013 11:03 AM

Wheaton bike routes to get easier to navigate

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Navigating Wheaton's nearly 30 miles of bike routes and paths could get easier by spring, the effect of an agreement signed Monday night between the city and federal government.

The city has been approved to receive federal funding for the installation of bikeway route signs through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

According to the agreement approved by the city council Monday night, the city will receive funding for 80 percent, up to a maximum of $144,160, for the engineering, planning and installation of bikeway route signs and development of a bikeway user guide under the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

The city would then be responsible for about $36,000 of the funds necessary to install between 400 and 600 signs and informational markings along the city's paths and trails.

"I think this is a very good thing and Wheaton is recognized as a very healthy town," said Councilman Todd Scalzo. "I think this improves our standing and moves us in the right direction as a bike-friendly town so I fully support it."

Two council members, Thor Saline and John Rutledge, however, voted against moving forward with the signage plan.

"I'm looking at this $144,000 from the federal government and we have to match it with $36,000 of ours. In terms of what we're going to get for $180,000, I frankly think this is a very poor use of $180,000 and a poor use of our $36,000," Rutledge said. "I think we can get some bike lanes striped and a few signs up. I do like to ride my bicycle and I think I can find my way around town without a guide."

The signage was originally included in the Wheaton Bicycle Plan adopted by the council in 2011.

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