Comment on the August 8 Decision by WisDOT

Bruce Thompson


Thanks for the update. I would have been shocked if WisDot had recommended the Hoan. So I am disappointed but not surprised.

Besides the natural instinct of road builders to favor cars over all else, the times worked against us: the deficits at the state, county, and city levels, the recalls of supervisors and election of Scott Walker, opposition from talk radio all made it a bad time to talk about spending money on bikes.

I think we should have a short term plan and a long term one:

1. Short term

I think we should work to make sure the railroad route is implemented really well. (In other words, make sure WisDot is right and we are wrong in our fear that bicyclists won't like it.

We should also look at the money. Will there be federal money left over for other local bike projects? Even if politicians hate bikes, they should have an interest in making sure money is spent locally.

2. Long term

The next window of opportunity on the Hoan may come when the bridge is redecked. Some of the objections disappear when the bike lane is part of the redecking project, such as the complaint that construction now would be wasteful because it would have to be replaced at redecking and the supposed need to have all lanes available during Marquette reconstruction. Constructing a bicycle/pedestrian corridor during that project should also substantially reduce the costs. I think we need to concentrate on making sure that lane has to be part of the planning for the redecking project.

As part of that, I think we should work to see that there are opportunities for people to experience crossing the Hoan on foot or bike as part of the ride for the arts and perhaps a run/walk (is the old Al's Run still around?) Even calling off the petition, I was surprised how many people told me the Hoan was too windy and too steep for bikes. My family and I have ridden both the north and south routes of the ride for the arts over the past few years. Those routes have stayed pretty much the same. We probably won't ride it next year because it has become boring. But a chance to cross the Hoan would be something different. My guess is many potential riders feel the same way.

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