Attend the Division/Church Corridor Project Open House on Tuesday 1/22

The city of Stevens Point is planning to potentially make substantial changes to the Division/Church (Business Route 51) traffic corridor from the south city limits up to the I-39 ramps. Although the beginning of construction is over a year away, the process of identifying how to change this roadway is already underway.

For those who use a bicycle to get around town, the opportunity provided by this project is huge. The Division/Church corridor currently has no bicycle facilities for travel. The roadway has two lanes in each direction and generally does not have sufficient room for a bicycle to ride near the curb while giving enough space for a car in the right-hand lane to safely pass. Although the speed limit is 25 MPH for most of Division/Church within the city limits, a substantial share of the steady stream of traffic seems to travel at significantly higher speeds. This is not the sort of roadway a Poky Pedaler would consider a comfortable route for travel. Only a Strong and Fearless type of bicycle rider – statistically about 1% of those who bicycle – would choose to travel amid such traffic conditions.

For efficient and comfortable travel to a destination on Division/Church, there needs to be a portion of the roadway where someone on a bicycle can safely ride, even if only for the last block or two.

Even those who might never consider traveling by bicycle upon Division/Church must sometimes cross it. Crossing at the non-signalized intersections sometimes feels like a real-life version of the old video game Frogger. But some of the signalized intersections – such as the ones at Maria Dr and at Fourth Ave – are even worse because of motor vehicle congestion (car drivers don’t like the non-signalized intersections either). The Division/Church corridor project creates an opportunity for realizing better crossings of this busy street for bicycle and foot traffic.

The public has an opportunity this Tuesday to provide feedback to those planning this project. According to a post on the Stevens Point city website, there will be a public information meeting about this project on Tuesday January 22 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM at Jefferson Elementary School (1800 East Ave). The meeting will be an open house format, so that participants may arrive at any time and may stay as long as they wish. There will be a brief presentation about the project at 5:45 PM.

The city’s post states that “the purpose of the meeting is to discuss why the roadway is deficient and why a project is necessary for this corridor.”

This is an excellent opportunity to tell project staff what sort of bicycle infrastructure you want to see implemented as part of the Division/Church reconstruction. Even if you don’t know what to ask for, this meeting is a great opportunity to learn what the project is about, which will help you participate in future public meetings about this project.

You can read the announcement about this public meeting on the Stevens Point city website here.

I want to thank Jack Friess of the Heartland Bicycle Club for alerting me to the news of this meeting.

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