A Bicycle Alternative for Crossing Michigan Ave During Construction

One of the best east-west routes for bicycling through Stevens Point is Prais St. It is a very calm street with slow, infrequent motor vehicle traffic.

Coming from the west, a typical way to access Prais is from Illinois Ave. Turning east onto Prais, a crossing of Michigan Ave is required at the first block.

I learned while bicycling yesterday that Michigan Ave is now torn up in this vicinity. Prais is closed to vehicle traffic at Michigan, and even a foot traffic crossing is not so easy. I don’t know how long this will last, but I suspect it might remain this way for a month or so.

Many of the alternative streets that someone riding a bicycle might choose during this construction are suboptimal due to being either on busy roads or being somewhat out-of-the-way.

However, there is one alternative that is excellent for bicycles that might not be widely known:

  • From Illinois, turn east on Sims Ave, two blocks south of Prais.
  • Take Sims across Michigan into the parking lot area for PJ Jacobs Jr High and Goerke Park. At the northeast corner of this parking lot, there is a non-motorized path into a field towards the KB Willett Arena.
  • Follow this path along the north side of the field past the Arena, go through the parking lot it dumps you out into, and you’ll find yourself at Minnesota Ave.
  • Make a left on Minnesota and go a fraction of a block to reach Prais, where you can turn left and continue your journey.

Of course, when riding on Prais from the east, this alternative can be followed in reverse, starting with a turn south on Minnesota Ave and then turning into the parking lot for the KB Willett Arena.  From this side, a “Bike Route” sign is present marking the non-motorized path.

I suspect access across Michigan Ave at Sims Ave will generally remain open during construction as this is now the main way to access MSTC.

It is unfortunate that bicycle-appropriate detour signage does not get posted near construction zones. Hopefully the suggestion above helps those pedaling to smoothly navigate through summer construction in Stevens Point.

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