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Tosa adopts bike and pedestrian plan

April 8, 2014

A bicycle and pedestrian facilities component will now officially be part of Wauwatosa's comprehensive plan.

The Common Council on Tuesday, April 1, unanimously approved an ordinance amending the city's existing 2008-30 Comprehensive Plan to include the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Plan, at the recommendation of the Community Development Committee.

District 8 Alderman Jason Wilke said officials worked hard over the course of more than a year to develop a plan that works for everybody.

"It is a good plan. It's a big plan, it has vision," Wilke said. "Plans like this excite people ... and they also inspire people and motivate them to implement plans like this."

Development of the plan was made possible through grant funding, with a city steering committee leading those efforts, along with expertise from Toole Design Group and the Wisconsin Bike Federation.

There was no further discussion of the plan elements before the council voted to approve it. During a recent Common Council public hearing as well as Community Development Committee discussion on the plan, however, officials heard resident concerns regarding the installation of sidewalks, particularly from neighbors in the area near 116th and Center streets.

Alderman Don Birschel recognized fellow District 7 Alderwoman Cheryl Berdan for her efforts to modify the language of the plan to help address residents' concerns.

As modified, the sidewalk improvements identified in the plan are strictly facility recommendations, with no priorities attached to them. Additionally, the plan states that the option of putting sidewalks on streets that currently do not have them would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as street reconstruction projects arise and neighborhood input and support is obtained.

Criteria used to identify areas of importance for pedestrian facilities, according to the plan, include filling gaps in the existing system, proximity to schools, traffic volume, proximity to existing paths, and bus stop locations. Potential pedestrian projects highlighted in the plan include Mayfair Road, 124th Street, 116th/115th streets, Center Street, Burleigh Street, Watertown Plank Road and Wisconsin Avenue, as well as parkways and areas near schools.

Officials have indicated that plan recommendations would help expand transportation options for the city's diverse residents and improve bicycle and pedestrian connectivity throughout Wauwatosa, as well as better position the city to receive grant funding for those types of projects in the future.

Overall plan recommendations cover the installation of about 22 miles of pedestrian facilities and more than 95 miles of bicycle facilities, such as bike lanes or shared use paths. If fully implemented, the total cost of the plan could range from about $21.5 million to $31.6 million, which is intended to span a lengthy amount of time. The plan makes suggestions on funding sources to consider, but there currently is no budget attached to its recommendations.

"The plan has lots of opportunities to pick from, so we can work through those when we have the need or the budget," Wilke said.

AT A GLANCE

■ The plan is available here: http://wauwatosa.net/index.aspx?nid=1161

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