The city of Stevens Point today posted on their website that city crews will be resurfacing the multi-use path on the south side of Hwy 66 (Main St) along Iverson Park. According to the website, work will begin this week and is expected to be completed by October 19.
In addition to this, the multi-use path along Hoover Road from Coye Dr to Forest Circle South will also be resurfaced during this same time period.
The city’s website states that the work to be done for both these projects will consist of “shoulder improvements and prepping asphalt prior to paving.”
The news about resurfacing the path along Hwy 66 is particularly welcome because that path has been in miserable condition for quite some time. Riding that stretch has been a very jarring experience, even at moderate speeds below 10 MPH, because of the many cracks creating severe bumps.
Furthermore, for those who might be brave enough to consider riding on the Hwy 66 roadway – a street often filled with 45 MPH traffic – that is actually not a legal option. According to Stevens Point City Ordinance 9.12(r), bicycles may not be operated on the roadway on Main St in the 4100 through 4600 blocks (which is the portion along Iverson Park).
So this horribly bumpy sidepath has been the only legal way to ride along Main St on the way to crossing the interstate to reach Target, Culvers, Fleet Farm, and the other businesses along Hwy 10 on the east side of Stevens Point. (This past weekend’s Maple Ride happened to travel along this bumpy path to reach the neighborhoods north of these businesses.) This is why it is such terrific news that this sidepath will once again provide a smooth ride after the resurfacing work is done in a few weeks.
I suspect that while this work is in progress, the sidepath along Hwy 66 will be closed to bicycle traffic (although I do not know if this is indeed the case). It is worth mentioning that despite City Ordinance 9.12(r), there is a provision in City Ordinance 9.12(s) to permit bicycles to ride on the roadway when the sidepath is closed: “Subsection (r) does not apply where existing sidewalk or sidewalks of such roadway is or are closed to traffic due to construction, unplowed snow, obstruction or other reason.”
Although I normally wouldn’t consider riding on Hwy 66 myself, I certainly support those who would choose to do so.
Since this post touches upon the topic of prohibiting bicycle traffic on certain roads, I feel it appropriate to comment on this issue here. I prefer that municipalities and other local governments not prohibit the operation of bicycles on any roadway under their jurisdiction. This stretch of Main St/Hwy 66 is the only roadway where Stevens Point prohibits bicycle traffic. There is no such prohibition on any other Stevens Point street, so people choosing to ride their bicycles on streets such as Division/Church, Main west of the 4100 block, Clark, and Michigan are not breaking the law by doing so. I would be happy to see the city remove this prohibition on the portion of Main St along Iverson Park as well.
With regard to the rights of those choosing to use a bicycle for transportation, one must choose one’s battles. Because of the convenient sidepath available along Hwy 66, I feel there are other issues more pressing than to try to get the city to allow bicycle traffic on the adjacent roadway surface. Furthermore, the city is now resurfacing this convenient sidepath to make it pleasant to ride on. Indeed, energies are probably better spent encouraging the city to make other improvements to its bicycle infrastructure.
You can read the city’s news release on the resurfacing of the sidepaths along both Hwy 66 and Hoover Road here.
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