Moscow Pathways Commission looking to improve Moscow Paths
The Moscow Pathways Commission had existed simply as a task force since 1994, but gained commission status in February with the goal to create an entity within the city government to focus on the pathways and trails in Moscow, said former city councilwoman Linda Pall.
“We saw this as a good thing to do for transportation, not just recreation,” Pall said.
Paradise Path, which connects the Chipman Trail to the Latah Trail, is the main path in Moscow, but there are several other smaller paths scattered throughout the city.
The job of the commission is to create projects to improve the paths, make the paths more accessible and educate the public about the paths, Tom Grundin, city liaison to the pathways commission said. A lot of the focus is on educational and directional signage and on planning future paths.
“There has always been talk of a circular path around Moscow,” Grundin said. “The goal is to make Moscow more bike friendly and pedestrian friendly, including people with disabilities.”
With commission status, the former task force has more power to implement change, Grundin said. It no longer has to go to other commissions for approval or support like it had to before.
Those disconnected paths throughout Moscow are called orphan paths, Margent Dibble, vice chairwoman of the pathways commission said. One of the goals of the commission is to incorporate those paths into the system and to mark them so the public knows they are public paths.
“No one does what we do,” Dibble said. “We look after the paths.”
The pathways help connect the community and give it value, Grundin said.
“Even if you’re not a serious commuter,” Grundin said. “If you’re just a recreational rider or out for a walk with the family, everyone can benefit.”
The woman who pushed the task force to become a commission was Margaret Littlejohn, Grundin said. Littlejohn, 66, passed away in March, shortly after the task force became a commission.
“Margaret Littlejohn was the mainstay of the task force for many, many years,” Grudin said.
Littlejohn was the person to present ideas to the city council, Dibble said. She was calm and conscious when doing it.
Because she worked for the National Parks Service, Littlejohn was passionate about people being outside and being able to enjoy nature, Dibble said.
“Parks generally were important to her,” Dibble said. “It was important to her that people get outside.”
There is a plan to dedicate a bench and shade tree to her at the proposed Blackbird Crossing trial station, located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 95 and Palouse River drive.
Graham Peredia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org