Yesterday, eleven Poky Pedalers got a sense of how much better bicycling and walking could be in Portage County on the Bike/Ped Plan Vision Ride. Our wonky Bike Fun provided numerous examples of recommendations from the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for accommodations that would improve our traffic environment for all road users.
Our route took us on a pleasant 11-mile loop bike ride through neighborhoods across Stevens Point. Starting from Bukolt Park, we made several stops just north of downtown Stevens Point, along the Minnesota Ave corridor, and east to the area where I-39 and the Plover River form an access barrier to the commercial strip beyond the interstate. At this last location, we envisioned a bridge across the river recommended by the plan that would provide an alternative to the extremely uncomfortable Hwy 10 crossing of the interstate. From there, we rode back towards our starting point, envisioning further accommodations at numerous locations across the north side of the city.
At each of our stops, Poky Pedalers learned what the plan recommended for that location. In doing so, we were exposed to a basket of innovative infrastructure tools that have been proven to make bicycling and walking better in cities across the United States.
Poky Pedalers were provided a 12-page handout containing pictures and descriptions of these novel accommodations. The handout also gives some context for the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, including how it was created and what information it contains. The plan itself is a 400-page document, so our Poky Pedal was only able to touch on a miniscule portion of the plan. Nevertheless, our sampling of plan recommendations was enough to demonstrate the potential for improving biking and walking both within the city of Stevens Point and throughout Portage County.
Within an hour after our Poky Pedal was complete, I happened to run into Jeff Schuler, Director of the Portage County Dept of Planning and Zoning, which is the department that drove the creation of this plan. He informed me that he will be making a presentation about the plan to the Stevens Point Common Council at their August 17 meeting. Although Portage County adopted the plan two years ago, the city has not yet adopted the substantial portion that lies within its boundaries. Schuler’s presentation will be a key step toward adoption of the plan by the city. So our county bike/ped plan will again be making headlines soon, and the increased awareness gained by Poky Pedalers on our Bike/Ped Plan Vision Ride can only encourage Stevens Point to move towards implementation of plan recommendations.
As the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan moves forward in its own direction, Poky Pedaling Stevens Point will continue to flit about in a ceaseless quest to share Bike Fun of a variety of flavors with all Poky Pedalers. You can check out the Upcoming Poky Pedals page and the 2015 Bike Fun Calendar to plan your Bike Fun with PPSP over the next few months.