From the Village to Hampton Avenue and from Mayfair Road to East Town on North Avenue, cyclers and walkers are likely to increase their range and presence under a proposed bicycle and pedestrian plan for Wauwatosa.
The steering committee behind the effort presented a draft plan at an open house last week, and their maps show city routes over a period of years growing to several times the marked miles available today.
The plan, which will be further refined, is likely to be considered by city committees the week of Sept. 9.
The draft proposal envisions increasing marked bike lanes from less than a mile today to more than 43 miles; neighborhood "greenways" identified for biking from virtually nothing now to more than 20 miles; creating 7 miles of shared car/bike lanes and other enhancements.
For those who walk, it sets out sidewalk construction priorities for areas where they are missing — stretches along Mayfair Road, for example — and other high-traffic-volume thoroughfares, and proposes additional shared-use paths, such as the path along the Menomonee River Parkway as it passes through the Village.
Consultant Tom Huber of Toole Design Group said the process has been undertaken with the understanding that, while some things are easy to achieve, such as painted road stripes, other things, such as changes in infrastructure, would take as much as a decade to achieve.
Even more distant goals have been included.
"It's a good idea to put those things in a plan," he said. "If you don't put those ideas in a plan, it's probably not going to happen."
The planners hope that improved route planning will lead to a bicycle commute "mode share" of 2 percent by 2016, and 4 percent by 2020. Likewise, they envision walking to work to increase to 5 percent by 2016, and 7 percent by 2020.
Draft maps show bike lanes along the entire stretch of North Avenue, in line with a new design plan for the street that would also increase parking and seek to slow traffic. Mayfair Road, one of the busiest streets in the city, also would have marked bike lanes under the plan, as would heavily traveled Watertown Plank Road. Bluemound Road, while slated for bike lanes as stretches are rebuilt by the Department of Transporation as part of the Zoo Interchange project, is not recommended by the plan.
The plan also proposes a route that would connect the two ends of the Center Street gap, threading a path between Bluemound Golf & Country Club and Mayfair Mall.
The maps employs the greenway concept on broad, less-traveled neighborhood streets. East of the Menomonee Parkway, greenways that provide easy biking east and west include Wright Street; Stickney Avenue, which connects through a jog to Garfield Avenue; and Hillcrest Drive. North-south greenways in that part of town include 88th Street, 83rd Street, 70th Street, and 65th Street.
The maps identify a long greenway on the west side of the city, starting at the city's south border on 115th Street, jogging west on Diane Drive to 118th Street, and heading north, becoming 117th Street, and ending at Burleigh Street. Another couple of short stretches also are identified on the north end of the city.
The project has received strong support. More than 60 people showed up for a presentation in May, a turnout that Huber and Wauwatosan Kevin Hardman, who heads up Midwest Bikeshare Inc., said they had rarely seen. And an online map temporarily set up for contributions from the public drew 719 total comments from 132 unique users. The map is now closed, but comments can still be submitted to email@example.com (put Bike/Ped Plan in the subject line).
The draft plan will be considered by the Plan Commission on September 9, said assistant city planner Jennifer Ferguson. The Community Development Committee and Common Council will also review it.
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