Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wouldn't this be awesome?


The pink dashed line is an abandoned railroad corridor owned by Waukesha County.

Just imagine how great it would be to have a bike path on it! This path would...
  • continue the Frame Park pathways north along the Fox River
  • connect historic downtown Waukesha and historic downtown Brookfield (who knew Brookfield HAD a historic downtown!)
  • provide a safe option for cyclists who need to get across I-94
  • provide a way for families in Pewaukee and Brookfield to bike to downtown Waukesha

To be continued....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday Social Ride- August 7th, 4:00pm!

Yes, yes folks it's about time for a good ol' summer social ride again!

Come join us Saturday, August 7th for a casual stroll around the city and Fox River Parkway. We'll be meeting and leaving from Frame Park (off of Moreland) at 4:00pm. This a great opportunity to see the city by bike and meet other area cyclists. The route will take you around the Fox River, up East Avenue past Carroll University (a designated Bike Route), down Sunset (safety in numbers!), around Fox River Park and down the Parkway to downtown. We'll finish up with dinner at El Ranchito and then hope everyone checks out the Art Crawl along Main St. and visits some more of Waukesha's fine downtown establishments.

The ride will take a little over an hour and everyone's welcome. Pump up the tires on that old bike and come on out! It doesn't cost anything but you might want to bring a few bucks for dinner and checking out the shops after. Email any questions or RSVP to us in the comments or at bikewaukesha@gmail.com.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another crash...and another lesson in path design

Last week saw another crash between car and bicyclist, this time in Waukesha. Reading about these crashes makes me sick to my stomach. This time the cyclist was a 17-year old, the motorist was a police officer, and it was dark out. From the description of the crash location, it seems like the kid was trying to cross the Hwy 164 bypass on the New Berlin Trail.


Without placing blame on either the cyclist or the officer (the article does say the cyclists were wearing dark clothing, but doesn't say whether they had lights), I have to say that this again is an example of a stupid design of a bike path, much like the bike path near Dousman that I mentioned in a previous post. I think I'm going to start a category on this blog called "Design it Right the First Time"

Don't get me started with the entire design of the Highway 164 bypass: too many at-grade intersections (Wal-Mart stoplight, anyone?), too many access points for businesses along the road, no shoulder in some areas. I'm going to focus on one issue: the New Berlin Trail crossing of the bypass at an uncontrolled intersection. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a street view of it:


Consider this:

1) Multi-use paths like the New Berlin trail are most beneficial when they can be used by a wide range of users, including dog-walkers and families with kids on bikes. What parent in their right mind would choose to cross a 6-lane highway with like this with their young child?

2) See any street lights by the crossing? Yeah, I didn't think so.

3) There's no sidewalk or bike path along the side of STH 164 that allows you to access the New Berlin Trail from the highway

Two perfectly good alternatives could have provided safe crossing for the New Berlin Trail. I bet if either one of these had been built that the trail would be more popular with families and beginner riders.

Alternative #1: A bridge across STH 164. Expensive, but less-so if it would have been included in the design and construction from the very beginning.

Alternative #2: Re-route the New Berlin Path so it goes south alongside STH 164 until it reaches Pearl Street (where there is a stoplight). Paint a generous (5-foot wide) bike lane on Pearl Street. This has the additional advantage that trail users would avoid going through the rutted, potholed street by Waukesha Foundry.

Someone informed me that Alternative #2 was considered at one point, but wasn't ever implemented. The project managers chose the cheapest option, perhaps because they didn't forsee the New Berlin Trail becoming so popular? Or perhaps they didn't think about it being used at night? This is why it's so important to take the "long view" and to consider all the possible types of uses of a facility.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Waukesha Bike Alliance Open Meeting

The Waukesha Bicycle Alliance will be having its first "official" meeting next Sunday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m. We'll meet at El Ranchito restaurant in downtown Waukesha (257 W Broadway).

We welcome anyone who is interested in improving biking in the City or County. There are a lot of potential projects that the WBA could work on:
  • advocating for more bike paths and bike lanes in the City and County
  • bike racks in downtown Waukesha
  • driver/law enforcement education
  • ....the list goes on!

The purpose of the meeting will be to narrow down the list of potential projects that we can work on, and establish "workgroups" of individuals who can work together to tackle specific projects. We also would like to nominate officers for the organization. If you're interested but can't attend, please send an e-mail to bikewaukesha (at) gmail.com with information about what you would like to work on.