December 2014 Common Council – UWSP bicycling and walking issues

My name is Bob Fisch and I am the Chief Bike Fun Officer of Poky Pedaling Stevens Point.

Tonight, I want to highlight two recent Stevens Point Journal columns discussing biking and walking conditions around the UWSP campus.

The first column was written by me and appeared in the November 15 Journal.
Also, this blog post contains the original version I submitted to the Stevens Point Journal on October 23.)

My column points out that for all the good sustainability practices at UWSP, they are absent from a recent list of Bicycle Friendly Universities across the US. Of particular note, UWSP has been shown up by three other UW campuses that are on this list.

League of American Bicyclists blog post announcing latest Bicycle Friendly University Awards:

League of American Bicyclists list of all Bicycle Friendly Universities – linked from above source: )

The Environmental Protection Agency states that transportation accounts for 28% of greenhouse gasses, second only to electricity generation. Meaningful sustainability policies must include a strong focus on transportation.

US Environmental Protection Agency website with info about greenhouse gas sources: )

Absence from the Bicycle Friendly University list calls into question UWSP’s claim to sustainability leadership. My column does suggest how UWSP can become more bike-friendly.

Stevens Point has a vested interest in a more bicycle-friendly UWSP. This would lower demand for controversial parking structures and relieve some of our city’s chronic parking issues.

The second column was written by Neil Prendergast, a Stevens Point resident from District 9. His column in the November 22 Journal urges our city to prioritize safety measures for foot crossings of Division near UWSP.

Prendergast asserts that such improvements are needed immediately and cannot wait a decade for a full reconstruction of Division. Historical crash data supports this urgency. He also references a recent collision involving a person walking across Division at Franklin and uses this as a call to action before someone is killed.

Furthermore, Prendergast points out that creating safer foot crossings of Division will create a more predictable driving environment, thus increasing compliance with vehicle operators’ legal obligation to stop for those in crosswalks. Creating safe and comfortable foot crossings of Division will result in a safer street for all road users.

Let me end with two positive developments since these columns appeared. Chancellor Bernie Patterson has personally directed his campus Sustainability Coordinator to take action to earn UWSP a spot on the next Bicycle Friendly University list. And the most recent Board of Public Works Director’s Report states that a meeting with UWSP is planned to “discuss concerns pertaining to pedestrian safety and city streets.”

These developments are encouraging signs that Stevens Point and UWSP will cooperate in the near-term to create tangible improvements to bicycling and walking in the urban areas near campus.

A transcript of these and my past comments to Common Council can be found on my website,, under the Speak Your Poky menu bar item.

Thank you for listening.