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Wauwatosa bike and pedestrian committee seeks input at open house Wednesday

April 29, 2013

The city panel studying a new bike and pedestrian plan is holding an open house Wednesday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fire Station No. 1, 1601 Underwood Ave.

After a couple of meetings, including one last week, the bicycle and pedestrian plan steering committee is seeking input on what the community would like to see in a route system for cyclists and those who walk.

The Wednesday meeting will include a brief presentation at 6:30, and will feature maps and stations that address different aspects of the plan.

The committee is refining a vision and set of goals for residents, including creating a "bicycle and pedestrian friendly community" that encourages alternative methods of transportation, said Kevin Hardman, executive director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. Hardman, a Wauwatosa resident, has led the steering committee meetings.

Goals of the proposal include building on the network of trails and bike lanes to connect neighborhoods, schools, parks, businesses, and bike and pedestrian networks of surrounding communities, according to draft documents from the committee's work provided by the city's consultant, Toole Design Group, and the Wisconsin Bike Fed.

At its meeting last week, the committee sought to include users of wheelchairs in its vision statement, and discussed particular goals it might set for the community, including increased walking and biking, and how progress toward those goals might be measured. For example, the committee discussed striving to double the use of bikes for commuting, and doubling the number of those who walk to work.

At Hardman's suggestion, the committee discussed applying for a listing on the Bicycle Friendly Communities roster kept by the League of American Bicyclists. The list assigns an evaluation from honorable mention to platinum, based on a bicycle-friendly criteria. In Wisconsin, Madison, with a gold rating, is the highest-rated community. Others include La Crosse and Fitchburg, with silver ratings, and Milwaukee, River Falls, Sheboygan County and Shorewood, with bronze ratings.

An interactive map has attracted 375 comments and route suggestions as of last week, said Tom Huber, of Toole Design. To view community comments on the map, click on "view options," and check the appropriate boxes.

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