WSU partners with local community to increase Redbud Trail accessibility


Wichita State University is working with a group of community organizations to make a popular pathway more welcoming and accessible to Wichita walkers and bikers.

If you’ve had a chance to walk or bike through the Redbud Trail, you may have viewed the strategically placed Wichita-themed monuments along the way, indicating the direction and distance to area landmarks and medical facilities. To create this signage, Wichita State partnered with Bike Walk Wichita and Wesley Healthcare on a project to  provide healthy opportunities for the community to get active and build relationships.

The project began in fall 2021 through conversations among members of the Wichita State Office of Strategic Engagement and Planning (SEP), the City of Wichita and Bike Walk Wichita, Wesley Healthcare, and the Atwater Neighborhood Resource Center.

“Bike Walk Wichita has been working in northeast Wichita for the past eight years, primarily advocating for bike lanes, the Redbud Path, and street and sidewalk improvements to make neighborhoods safer,” Kim Neufeld, Bike Walk Wichita executive director. “During our last strategic planning process two years ago, residents and BWW volunteers identified Fairmount as a priority neighborhood.”

It soon became clear that WSU, Wesley and Bike Walk Wichita (all located near the Fairmount area) all had similar goals for the location.

“We realized through these conversations that we all had shared goals and the Redbud Trail is often highlighted an area for improvement,” said Naquela Pack, director of WSU’s Office of Engagement.

SEP regularly engages with these institutions as part of the Shocker Neighborhood Coalition, which is committed to empowering neighborhood businesses, nonprofits, churches and community organizations to work together to bring prosperity to the neighborhood and its residents.

“The opportunity to encourage collaboration and improve the quality of place is something that my office is really proud to be a part of,” Pack said. “There’s other opportunities for university departments colleges and groups to utilize this space.”

For this project, which is centered mostly around the 67214 ZIP code, will include directional signs which will point you to landmarks like WSU, Wesley Healthcare and parks. There will also be two etiquette signs about how to behave on the trail and mile markers stenciled on sidewalks to guide people about their location.

“The signs are meant to create a sense of belonging, but they also create a safety mechanism if you had a medical emergency and needed to know where you were at,” Pack said.

The signs will be installed and will be officially unveiled during a ceremony with Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple 10:45 a.m. May 19 at Redbud Trail Head located at Oliver and 17th Street. Neufeld says the wayfinding signs are just one of many projects Bike Walk Wichita plans to work together on.

“Bike Walk Wichita will continue partnering with WSU and District 1 to make the area safer for all residents, especially students and others who walk or ride for transportation,” Neufeld said. “Bike Walk Wichita is on a mission to transform Wichita into a more livable, accessible, connected city by making biking and walking safe, equitable, and appealing.”

Pack said the collaboration is just one example of why it is beneficial for WSU to engage with the local community.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for us as a university to acknowledge that we have the opportunity to encourage these collaborations with the community and the university,” Pack said.

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