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Sidewalk plan near Hintgen Elementary is challenged by neighbors in south La Crosse



Does La Crosse need more sidewalks? Some people in one La Crosse neighborhood are speaking out against a plan to install a sidewalk on a few blocks of South 28th Street, south of Ward Avenue.

On Monday, residents of that neighborhood near Hintgen Elementary School told the city’s Board of Public Works that they’re against having a sidewalk, arguing that it could harm trees there.

Karen Kaiser said most of the neighbors she has spoken with are against putting a sidewalk in that area.

Kaiser told the board that during the years that she was a member of neighborhood associations, “sidewalks have never been a priority, never. Safety, lighting streets, always came first.”

Sue Temp also spoke to the board, saying she wanted sidewalks in that area 50 years ago, and talked about the issue at the time with a local council member — future La Crosse Mayor Pat Zielke.

Now, however, Temp said they need some yield signs in the neighborhood, before they need sidewalks.

“Our kids survived walking in the street to Hintgen,” Temp said, “and I think there’s a bigger issue with the yield signs, and let us keep our trees.”

La Crosse city engineer Matt Gallager said the proposed walk would be completely in the right of way on 28th Street and would not take up private property.

“We always avoid trees that are on private property, we have no intention of damaging those,” Gallager said. “Yes, it’s true sometimes trees go down, but luckily they’re a renewable resource.”

Gallager added that the city has a goal of reducing vehicle trips and argued that having more sidewalks can motivate people to walk more often in their neighborhoods.

No action has been taken yet on the sidewalk plan for 28th Street, which could involve a four-block area.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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