It’s Official! Portage County Bike/Ped Plan overwhelmingly approved by county board

This evening, the Portage County Board of Supervisors formally adopted the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. By a 22-1 vote, the board voted to make this plan an official planning document for Portage County. This means that the Portage County Planning and Zoning Dept may now start working on implementation of the many recommendations from the plan.

There was very little discussion among the supervisors before their overwhelming show of support for bicycling and walking in Portage County.

county board plan approval

Portage County Board of Supervisors at their April 22 meeting

It is worth noting that the plan does not commit a single dime from any municipality for plan implementation. This plan is exactly that: a plan. As piecemeal opportunities arise to improve bicycling and walking in areas around the county, this plan indicates what to build in order to fit into the broader countywide bicycling and walking network that will eventually be created.

This vote is the culmination of an 18-month project led by Jeff Schuler and Sarah Wallace of the Portage County Planning and Zoning Dept. Schuler and Wallace should both be commended for their leadership and effort in bringing this plan to fruition.

Dozens of elected officials, municipal staff, and interested citizens contributed their time, energy, and knowledge in serving on the three plan committees: the Urban and Rural Steering Committees and the Technical Committee. Their input was exceptionally valuable for creating a plan that reflects the biking and walking needs in both the urban and rural areas of Portage County.

The expertise of consultants Tom Huber and Kevin Leucke of Toole Design Group was invaluable for guiding the many participants of this process, culminating in the outstanding final plan document approved by the county board this evening.

Although the planning process has come to an end, in actuality this is just the beginning. It is only through implementation of plan recommendations that better bicycling and walking will be realized throughout the county.

Poky Pedalers should note that as the task of implementation gets started, there will likely be opportunities to participate on committees overseeing such efforts. I will use the PPSP blog keep you informed of these opportunities to contribute to the process of making bicycling and walking better in our community.

Implementation is not a rapid process. Some low hanging fruit might be completed in the next few years, but the more ambitious recommendations are expected to take 10-20 years to implement.

Such concerns are for another time. For now, it is enough to bask in the knowledge that Portage County has officially adopted a first-rate bicycle and pedestrian plan.

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

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