Portage County Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Project Has Begun

Portage County recently began an 18-month project to create a new bicycle and pedestrian plan. Upon completion, the Portage County Bike/Ped Plan will serve as a template for identifying how to improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities in both the urban and rural areas of the county in order to encourage more people to choose to bicycle and walk (or run) for transportation and recreation.

Poky Pedalers should be very pleased to learn of this bike/ped planning project. There will be many opportunities for the public to express their opinions about existing infrastructure that does not work well for those on bicycle or on foot, as well as to suggest ways to make improvements. Once the bike/ped plan is in place, it becomes a valuable tool to encourage local governments to make improvements identified in the plan.

The Portage County Bike/Ped Planning Project started in October, and much of the focus to date has centered on organization and process. Perhaps the most notable achievement so far is to select the members of the Steering Committees which will perform much of the work that shapes the content of the final plan. The project will have three steering committees: an urban committee focusing on Stevens Point/Whiting/Plover/Park Ridge and neighboring semi-rural areas, a rural committee focusing on the other rural villages and unincorporated portions of Portage County, and a technical committee that will assist the other committees with technical expertise on infrastructure options, governmental policies, etc.

One piece of news that should be of particular interest to Poky Pedalers is that Bob Fisch, the Chief Bike Fun Officer of Poky Pedaling Stevens Point, has been selected to serve on the Urban Steering Committee. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this important bike/ped planning process, and I will certainly advocate for bicycle infrastructure that Poky Pedalers can use to more comfortably and safely get around our urban area.

The first meeting of the Steering Committees is about a week and a half away. This meeting is open to the public, and I’ll post the when and where and what to expect later this week.

I hope all Poky Pedalers find a way to get involved in this planning process in the months to come. The more vocal Poky Pedalers are about the infrastructure they want to see built, the more effective I can be in pushing for such infrastructure in the final plan.

Note: There is no administrative connection between the Portage County Bike/Ped Planning Project and the Division/Church Corridor Project Open House that I posted about recently. However, the Urban Steering Committee for the bike/ped plan will certainly want to address ways to improve bicycle and foot travel along and crossing the Division/Church corridor. As such, the Urban Steering Committee will likely want to stay informed about and exert influence on the Division/Church Corridor Project.

Disclosure: Bob Fisch, Chief Bike Fun Officer of Poky Pedaling Stevens Point, is a member of the Urban Steering Committee for the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Project. Posts about this project appearing on the PPSP website are part of a broader PPSP effort to keep readers informed of bikey news in our area. Nothing posted on the PPSP website should be considered to be official communication from the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Project. The official website for this project can be accessed at http://portagecobikepedplan.wordpress.com.

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