Report from the November 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting

The November meeting of the Stevens Point Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee took place earlier today. Besides the five committee members and Kyle Kearns of the Stevens Point Economic Development Dept, five members of the public also attended.

Today’s meeting consisted largely of discussions on a variety of topics either as openings to stimulate future actions or as updates to actions recently initiated. The BPAC took no specific action on any of today’s items. Below, I summarize what the committee talked about.

bike share zagster abq bike

The BPAC discussed bike share possibilities for Stevens Point. The Zagster Bike Share system in Albuquerque is one example that does not use kiosks. After punching a code obtained from an app on your smartphone into the keypad on the box on the rear rack, the box opens to provide the key to the U-lock securing the bike.

A discussion took place on creating a flyer to educate the Stevens Point public on bicycle registration ordinances. This handout could also include other useful information, such as contact info to report a stolen bicycle. As part of this conversation, some data from city staff was presented that found that just under $500 of revenue came from bicycle registrations in 2014, and just under $650 has been received this year. To move forward on creating this sort of handout, the committee will see if it can find a volunteer from among UWSP students.

Ideas were shared about how to increase compliance among residents with sidewalk shoveling ordinances. As part of this conversation, the hope was expressed that the recently hired city Code Enforcement Officer will stimulate better compliance. One topic mentioned during this discussion is that the areas around bus stops are often inaccessible due to snow – a situation that is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act – and that special focus is necessary for the benefit of those who rely on public transportation.

A conversation about bike share was held to stimulate thinking about possibilities for creating a bike share system in Stevens Point. Items mentioned included the following:

  • There was general consensus that a kiosk-based system, such as the B-Cycle bike share in Madison, is infeasible for Stevens Point due to expense. Other approaches to bike share have become common in US cities in the past year or two.
  • Wisconsin Rapids just completed their first season offering a limited bike share program. There was interest in having a representative of their program give a presentation on how their first year went.
  • The Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitor Bureau is very much interested in seeing Stevens Point provide a bike share system for visitors. As an example of the demand, the eastside Holiday Inn has four bikes available to hotel guests that are very popular.
  • One comment mentioned that it would probably be best to form some sort of bike share task force that would report to the BPAC. The topic is too large to expect BPAC members to tackle alone. This approach would allow a broader range of people with knowledge and expertise to formulate some options to consider.

Updates were given on two items related to bicycling that were discussed at the November Stevens Point Plan Commission. One item is a proposed Abandoned Bicycle Ordinance that came out of last month’s BPAC meeting. Minor revisions to the ordinance are being considered, and it is possible the Plan Commission may take action on it at their January meeting. The other item is that the Plan Commission recommended adding bicycle parking in Mead Park as part of their approval of a new motor vehicle parking lot for the park.

I39 US 10 bike ped options pic

The BPAC conversation about improving biking and walking near Target was an opportunity to remind the committee that WisDOT is planning new biking and walking accommodations as part of an upcoming I-39 interchange reconstruction project

BPAC Chair Tori Jennings started a discussion about prioritizing recommendations from the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan by commenting that this task is too complicated to have ready for the December Plan Commission meeting. She suggested having a special session on this topic to kickstart such a prioritization effort. As conversation on this item took place, it became apparent that the BPAC needs a clearer idea of what kinds of input would be helpful for this task – to name two: technical input on engineering and fiscal issues, and public input on personal preferences – and whether it might be appropriate to have multiple special sessions. This item will be revisited at the December BPAC to give committee members time to think about how to move forward.

There was some conversation about improving biking and walking access to the area northeast of the I-39 interchange at Hwy 10 near Target. This discussion brought attention to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation project that is expected to make substantial changes to this interchange in approximately 5 years or so. [There was a WisDOT public involvement meeting on this project just over a year ago. I reported on that meeting in this PPSP blog post, which gives a summary of the items presented most affecting biking and walking in that area. My post also contains links to maps and documents available at that meeting.] The discussion also mentioned recommendations from the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for a bridge over the Plover River to connect Golla Rd behind Target to the Green Circle Trail near Hofmeister Dr.

The next meeting of the BPAC is scheduled for Tuesday December 15 at 10 AM in the City Conference Room of the County-City Building (1515 Strongs Ave).


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