Why has the blog been so quiet recently? An update on PPSP

Regular readers have undoubtedly noticed that it has been somewhat quiet on the PPSP blog. I’ve managed to post a few Tweets, but before last week I haven’t created a new post on the blog since late October. I want to give an update about what has been going on with me.

I was out of town for about a month recently. The full story is too long and too personal to broadcast via blog post. What matters most now is that my 88-year-old Dad in California needs my presence. I am his only living relative. He is comfortable and in excellent care with a 24/7 caregiver, but it is important that I be with him – both for him and for me.

I got back to Stevens Point about two weeks ago. But I will be returning to California soon to spend more time with him. Over the foreseeable future, I will be splitting my time between Stevens Point and California. This situation developed very suddenly. Although I’ve considered several possibilities, I have not yet had a chance to determine an appropriate balance in terms of travelling back and forth. Continue reading

Posted in All Posts

Opinion: Lack of bike-friendly designation weakens UWSP claim to sustainability leadership

[Note: This post was originally written and submitted to the Stevens Point Journal on October 23 as a letter to the editor. A version appears as a column in the November 14 edition of the Stevens Point Journal, p. 8A, under the headline “UWSP is failing on bike friendliness.” The original below contains links to references for assertions in the print version.

Due to personal circumstances, I am only posting this to the PPSP blog now, almost two months after I originally wrote it. I apologize for this delay.]

I applaud the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point on the National Campus Sustainability Day fair they held this week [in late October – see note above], as reported in the Stevens Point Journal. The article outlined several of the wonderful initiatives the University has implemented to enhance its sustainable practices.

Also this week [in late October – see note above], the League of American Bicyclists unveiled their updated list of Bicycle Friendly Universities, including those added in the latest round of evaluations. Unfortunately – and shamefully – UWSP does not appear on this list of one hundred colleges and universities around the US. Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, All Posts, Stevens Point Area

Options for improving the I-39 crossing along US 10/WI 66 proposed by WI DOT; public comments being accepted

Last week, representatives of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation held a public involvement meeting to discuss the I-39 interchange where it meets US 10 East and WI 66 West. This interchange, just west of Target, is the location of an extremely uncomfortable crossing of I-39 for people bicycling and walking. Unfortunately, there are currently no other nearby options for accessing the businesses east of I-39 along US 10.

I39 US 10 area pic

The area under consideration for the I-39/US 10/WI 66 interchange project, overlaid with one of the proposed design concepts

About 100 people attended the public involvement meeting. There were at least 4 or 5 WI DOT representatives answering questions near about 10 large maps showing various interchange configuration options and other information. A presentation that lasted close to an hour gave an excellent overview of the design concepts being considered. Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, All Posts, Stevens Point Area

Bike Fun Report: A recap of the 2014 Poky Pedals

The cool temperatures and falling leaves leave no doubt that fall has arrived. But before our thoughts turn to the winter months ahead, it is a great time to look back at the recently completed third season of Bike Fun with Poky Pedaling Stevens Point.

assembly pic

The scene at the start of a 2014 Poky Pedal

2014 was an extraordinary year for PPSP. Poky Pedalers shared Bike Fun on 13 Poky Pedals, all of which were new except for the encore Influential Citizen Ride. These averaged more than 24 Poky Pedalers each, almost double the number of Poky Pedalers per ride from PPSP’s first two years. Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Bike Fun, Stevens Point Area

The 2014 Wisconsin Bike Summit brought advocates together to share stories about making bicycling better

Last Friday, I attended the Wisconsin Bike Summit in Madison. This full-day event, which is organized annually by the Wisconsin Bike Fed, offers numerous presentations from people working to make bicycling better all over Wisconsin. The Bike Summit is always a great opportunity to gain both education and inspiration.

DaveC McMahon rally pic

Bike Fed Executive Director Dave Cieslewicz introducing Eleanor McMahon, Canadian bicycle advocate and member of the Ontario Parliament, at the Rally for Better Bicycling following the 2014 Wisconsin Bike Summit

The Bike Summit presentations lasted from 9 AM until 5 PM, with three concurrent sessions to choose among during each schedule slot. Afterwards, there was a 3-mile group bike ride to the steps of the state capitol building for a rally in support of better bicycling.

The Bike Fed posted a wrap-up about the Bike Summit on their blog. I attended many of the presentations described there, and I certainly concur with their remarks about the many poignant moments throughout the day. Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, All Posts, Education, Wisconsin

Opportunity tonight to discuss bike/walk access at I-39/Hwy 10 interchange

I just learned a few minutes ago that there is a public involvement meeting this evening to discuss plans for addressing operational issues with the I-39 interchange at Hwy 10 and WI 66. These issues will include discussion of bicycling and walking access across the interstate at this location.

The crossing of I-39 at this location is the most significant gap in our Stevens Point urban area bicycle network. This is a great opportunity to tell the Wisconsin Department of Transportation about what sort of biking and walking access you want in this area.

The meeting is at Bannach School this evening (Tuesday) at 5-7 PM. The full release from the Wisconsin DOT website appears below. Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, All Posts, Stevens Point Area

Bad weather cancels Maple Ride: First cancellation for PPSP after 32 Poky Pedals

After 32 Poky Pedals over 3 years, bad weather finally caused the cancellation of one. Missing out on Bike Fun is always sad. Yet considering our reliably unpredictable weather, that’s a pretty good track record overall. Rather than dwelling on our poor fortune this past weekend, we should instead be grateful for all the times when threatening skies suddenly diminished, permitting our Bike Fun to proceed.

The Plover version of the Maple Ride was originally scheduled for Saturday. But it became clear in the middle of last week that there was no reasonable hope for cooperative weather that day. At that time, I postponed the ride until Sunday, which had a forecast that was borderline yet provided some hope of enough warmth to enjoy Bike Fun comfortably. Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Bike Fun, Stevens Point Area

Maple Ride this Sunday will be the final Poky Pedal for 2014 (note change of day)

It has been an extraordinary year for Bike Fun with Poky Pedaling Stevens Point, and we’ll be completing the 2014 Bike Fun Calendar with the annual Maple Ride. This year’s Maple Ride will take us through Plover on a route different from either of the past two years.

The Maple Ride will meet on Sunday October 5 at 12:45 PM at Little Plover River Park near the tennis courts. (Note that this is a change from the original date of Saturday. Read more about this below.) Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Bike Fun, Stevens Point Area

PPSP will speak at the Wisconsin Bike Summit in Madison on Friday October 10

The annual Wisconsin Bike Summit will take place in Madison on Friday of next week. The Bike Fed organizes this wonderful event to bring together folks from all over our state in order to learn from each other and help make bicycling better throughout Wisconsin.

bike summit 2013 bike fed

The crowd at the 2013 Wisconsin Bike Summit (photo credit: Bike Fed)

I always look forward to the Bike Summit because it provides so many informative and inspiring presentations. I also relish the opportunity to chat with people from other cities and share stories about our respective triumphs and challenges. You can read my impressions about last year’s Bike Summit in this PPSP blog post.

The Wisconsin Bike Summit will take place on Friday October 10 in Madison at Edgewood College. Presentations run from 9 AM through 5 PM, and during each of the session slots there will be 3 parallel topic options. The Bike Summit will end with a bicycle ride to the Capitol building – about 3 miles away – where a rally in support of bicycling will take place. You can see the full schedule of speakers and sessions on the Wisconsin Bike Summit Schedule webpage. Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Education, Wisconsin

Bike Fun Report: Influential Citizen Ride

On a beautiful sunny fall-like afternoon, 27 Poky Pedalers learned about figures from Stevens Point’s past on the Influential Citizen Ride. Starting from Pfiffner Park, we rode a 13-mile loop visiting 10 locations commemorating the ten most influential citizens in the history of Stevens Point, as determined by a popular vote during the city’s 150th birthday in 2008.

inf cit rest stop

Poky Pedalers enjoying the rest stop at the Dreyfus University Center during the Influential Citizen Ride

Our ride took us to Bukolt Park, St Joseph Congregational Home, Schmeeckle Reserve, Lake Joanis, Dreyfus University Center, PJ Jacobs Junior High School, KB Willett Arena, Ellis St, Iverson Park, and the Ruth Gilfry Center. At each location, a brief biography was given of the influential citizen it was named after. (Reverend Mother Mary Felicia Jaskulski does not have a namesake location; the St Joseph Congregational Home is the former academy and convent of the Sisters of St Joseph, built under her leadership.) Continue reading

Posted in All Posts, Bike Fun, Stevens Point Area