Pedals to Paper: 3 counties coordinating bike/pedestrian plans

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth

BUNDLE UP AND BIKE ON. Coordinated bicycle and pedestrian plans being created by Eau Claire, Dunn, and Chippewa counties will include routes used for both recreational bikers and commuters.
BUNDLE UP AND BIKE ON. Coordinated bicycle and pedestrian plans being created by Eau Claire, Dunn, and Chippewa counties will include routes used for both recreational bikers and commuters.

If the routes that carry our cars and trucks are planned collaboratively among multiple communities, then so should the pathways followed by bicycles and pedestrians. That’s the underlying goal of a three-county effort to create bike and pedestrian plans that interlock like a set of well-oiled gears.

With the help of a federal transportation grant and the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, planners from Eau Claire, Dunn, and Chippewa counties are creating comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plans for each county that will include connections and routes between the locations. The plans will include a regional network of bikeways linking communities and attractions across the three counties as well as neighboring St. Croix County, which adopted a similar plan earlier this year.

While three public input sessions (one in each county) were already held in early December, there are still several ways for bicyclists, walkers, and anyone else to offer feedback to shape the plans. First, members of the public are invited to take part in an online survey about their transportation opinions and priorities. (You can find it at surveymonkey.com/r/3countybikeandped.) Second, they can highlight the routes they walk and bike (or would like to walk and bike) as well as barriers to travel via an online “wikimap,” on which marking a path is as easy as pointing and clicking. (For a link to the interactive map, go to 3countybikeandped.wordpress.com and then click on “Public Input.”)

According to the project’s website, “The county bicycle and pedestrian plans are focusing on creating a greater array of transportation options while promoting connectivity, safety, health, economic and tourism opportunities within and beyond each county.” In addition to identifying routes, the plans will identify ways to improve policies that impact pedestrians, promote safety, and encourage people to bike and walk.

Once public input is gathered over the next few months, plan recommendations will be drafted, and further public comment will be sought by next summer. The plans are slated to be completed by next November.

To learn more about the effort, strap on your helmet and pedal over to 3countybikeandped.wordpress.com.

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