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Going over bike-ped master plan, as La Crosse holds final public meeting Monday



A bicyclist uses the 2nd Street cycle track in downtown la Crosse (FILE PHOTO)

The last public meeting on La Crosse’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan happens Monday.

A big part of this master plan is what Jenna Dinkel, associate planner for the city, called “protected bikeways.” She said last week on La Crosse Talk PM the city only has one version of this — the cycle track on 2nd Street.

La Crosse Talk PM airs weekdays at 5:06 p.m. Listen on the WIZM app, online here, or on 92.3 FM / 1410 AM / 106.7 FM (north of Onalaska). Find all the podcasts here or subscribe to La Crosse Talk PM wherever you get your podcasts.

But a cycle track is only one version. Dinkel said a protected bike lane is “protected by cement, by bollards, by something, even a painted buffer, and it’s to incorporate that all ages and abilities, again.

“Whether you’re an inexperienced biker or you do bike races and you’re super experienced — and you’re just trying to get to the river trail,” she added.

The city’s final public meeting goes from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Main Street library, with a presentation at 5:30 p.m. There is also a quick survey online looking for feedback until June 3

Dinkel said the meat of the master plan is the priority projects, including finishing up King Street between Front and 7th streets, plus greenways on Avon Street, Farnam Street, 22nd Street, “and then some other protected facilities as well, are coming out as priority projects.”

Greenways are simply ways to calm traffic to make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. On King Street, for example, greenway projects include the traffic circles and the crossing at West Avenue.

“There’s also long-range transportation visions and goals that are in this plan that might not get implemented in the next 10 years,” Dinkel said. “But then we also have some priority projects that are really at the top of the list when we’re looking at grant applications and trying to get funding. And even when we’re looking at road reconstruction or road repaving, how can we look at implement these other things into those projects?”

A big question the city gets is pushback on plans to make La Crosse more bicycle friendly when it’s winter for half the year and few people would — or could — ride bikes.

“It’s something that the city’s committee for Citizens with Disabilities touches on a lot, is that these are transportation networks for a lot of folks and people are trying to use their mobility devices on the sidewalk and they can’t do that when the sidewalk isn’t clear,” Dinkel said. “And, same thing with bike lanes, gotta make sure that those are clear.

“We’re always making sure that we have the tools, and the machines, to clear those bike lanes in the winter, as well.”

The updated plan implements a lot of changes from the 2012 version — like eliminating “sharrows” on roads.

Dinkel said “sharrows” — the bicycle patterns painted on the sides of roads to indicate a bike lane — are not thought of to be that useful anymore, as the city tries to include bicycle and pedestrian traffic for ages 8 and up.

On the show, Dinkel also dived into details on the Wagon Wheel Trail and how La Crosse is catching up to La Crescent in completing that project. Plus, she hit on some Wisconsin DOT upcoming public meetings on three highways going through La Crosse — 35, 53 and 16.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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  1. Adam

    May 20, 2024 at 8:09 am

    This is outrageous! Mitch is completely disregarding the wishes of the taxpayers and the best interests of downtown by taking away even more parking for businesses.

  2. R Head

    May 20, 2024 at 9:04 am

    I have never heard such a line of bullshit in my life. Why don’t we just ban all cars I La Crosse!

  3. Lucenut

    May 20, 2024 at 9:31 am

    Time to take control citizens of La Crosse and get these dimwits out of office. Get your alderman to support a car driving “master plan”.

    • Andy

      May 20, 2024 at 10:02 am

      The lame duck mayor and the fool quoted in the article are more interested in currying favor from outside activist organizations than they are in serving the needs of the city and its citizens. We’re nothing but rube paypigs to them.

  4. frontier trust

    May 20, 2024 at 9:41 am

    As a 12 month a year bike commuter, I’m looking forward to the completion of the King Street bikeway. The new 2nd Street tracks have been useful, but a lot of drivers aren’t used to looking for riders before turning, or worse, don’t realize they can’t drive in the bikeway.

    Due to the recent lack of winter, year around bike commuting is much easier than 10 years ago.

  5. LG

    May 20, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    Doesn’t the city currently allow bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk except in the downtown area? There’s a ready made Bike lane there that will not cost thousands of dollars at taxpayer expense.

    I continue to see many bicyclists failing to obey the rules of the road. The other day I had to move left because the bicyclist was riding the wrong direction down the road. Apparently, she did not learn in childhood that bicycles ride on the right side of the road with traffic and pedestrians walk on the left. She was riding on the left, meaning towards me.

    We need common sense on our city Council. How about fiscal conservatives who don’t spend their days thinking of ways to spend more taxpayer money for the purpose of impeding the flow of traffic.

  6. Keith L.

    May 20, 2024 at 2:55 pm

    I love the additions of the bike protected lanes. It makes it safe for my family and I feel safe when we ride. Also, as someone who lives on the north side and works downtown, im particularly excited about the completion of the Avon Greenway!
    (For the record, I own my home and have two vehicles that use gas to get around.) The reason I live in town and don’t move out to onalaska or holmen is because I want to be able to bike places. I think this is a solid use of our tax dollars.

  7. Bebe

    May 21, 2024 at 6:43 am

    fix our roads, and I don’t mean more stupid bike lanes! we don’t want traffic circles to slow down traffic! no one rides their bikes during the winter here!

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