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Work to begin in Wauwatosa's master bicycling and pedestrian plan

Steering committee will work with consultants, planning staff to lay out vision

Feb. 12, 2013

Work toward a comprehensive biking and pedestrian master plan for Wauwatosa begins in earnest next month with a March 11 meeting that will bring together consultants, a 14-member steering committee and city planning staff to lay out a vision and plan a way to go forward.

The city has engaged the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and Toole Design Group in a contract worth about $42,000 to provide expertise and ultimately produce recommendations.

"What we're really looking at is to put (together) a bicycle and pedestrian plan for the city, which to me really means how do we make it easy - easier - to walk and bike around our city," said Alderman Jeff Roznowski, a member of the steering committee.

The kick-off meeting will provide a chance for those involved to identify the objectives of the work, develop a vision, come up with an outreach plan to involve the public and other stakeholders, and develop a preferred communication protocol.

"There will be a lot of different opportunities for public input along the way," Ferguson said.

Developing an interactive bike transit map

Part of the public input process will be an interactive map that will allow people to make comments. Toole Design says in its "Scope of Work" document that the map will allow the collection of "geographically specific information about issues affecting bicycling, such as informal connections, desirable routes, roadways of concern, maintenance issues, challenging intersections," and so forth.

The final product will include a map of the bicycle transportation network and proposed improvements, a spreadsheet showing recommended facilities, actions and cost estimates and an online bicycle user map, among other things.

Toole Design Group is an engineering and planning firm with an office in Madison that is guided by the principle of "making walking and biking possible for every trip."

The Bike Federation, a nonprofit, "has worked in many, many communities around Wisconsin," said executive director Kevin Hardman.

Hardman, a Wauwatosa resident, said working on the city plan "is especially special for me."

"Wauwatosa is already a really good place to bike and walk, and with some planning and some focused investment it can become better and better," he said. "It has just a great potential, and I can say that with conviction because I'm a resident."

Safe Routes to School

For Roznowski, along with steering committee members Sarah Lerand and Alex Ng, the bike and pedestrian study dovetails nicely with the Safe Routes to School program with which all three are heavily involved and which began at McKinley Elementary School.

The program won a grant in the form of planning expertise to study and develop a route to effectively and safely bicycle between McKinley Elementary School, 2435 N. 89th St., and Whitman Middle School, 11100 W. Center St.

"Having the three of us on this bike/ped plan will help, I think, marry those two initiatives," Roznowski said. "They aren't intended to be contrasting but rather complementary. I would look at our efforts with the Safe Routes grant for that McKinely to Whitman path … as a specific example of what could be in the bike path plan."

Beyond that, Roznowski sees the master plans for the Village and other areas as informing the bike/pedestrian planning process.

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