Stevens Point is on a roll after being offered a grant from the Transportation Alternatives Program to implement bicycle lanes throughout the city, promoting a safer and more efficient way to bike.
Accepted on Aug. 29, the grant will allow for 13.16 miles of bike lanes to be installed along popular collector and arterial streets. This will not only benefit students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point who find biking more affordable, but it will benefit anyone who prefers biking over driving.
Connecting the campus to major business and shopping districts will give the university a further sense of community and a sense of safety when biking to these popular destinations.
As bikes need to follow the same rules as a motor vehicle while on the road, this grant will allow bikers to feel more comfortable while traveling among cars.
Tyler Schiesser, senior urban forestry major, said, “I think it’s a safer and more convenient alternative for both bikers and drivers.”
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee logged information to determine which streets would be most effectively utilized.
Mike Wiza, mayor of Stevens Point, said, “They prioritized the routes – safe routes – throughout the core of the city, allowing people who choose to use bicycles to be able to get to places throughout the city safely.”
The grant was co-authored by Tori Jennings, professors of Sociology and Social Work, and Trevor Roark, vice chair of the Stevens Point Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Along with editors and map makers, to turn this plan into action involved many thoughtful hours and the dedication of many Stevens Point citizens.
Jennings said, “We literally spent hundreds of hours researching and writing this grant, a process that began the beginning of December 2015 when we were told about the grant by Mayor Wiza, until the end of January 2016.”
The approval of this grant is not to be overlooked. Only 33 projects were approved for funding for the cycle of 2016-2020 for the entire state. With only $15 million to grant to Wisconsin, the funding for a project of this scale seats Stevens Point highly on a two-wheeled pedestal.
“The project will increase transportation options for UWSP students by creating a convenient bicycle commuter network that links the campus to major business and shopping districts,” Jennings said.
Initiated by the Transportation Alternatives Program, also known as TAP, the grant will create not only bicycle lanes but also urban shoulders and shared lane markings.
TAP will cover 80 percent of the costs necessary to fund the project and the city will provide the last 20 percent of the $487,676. If the remaining funding is approved by the Common Council, the additions will be seen in 2019.
Wiza said, “The drivers will hopefully be more aware of it, the bikers will hopefully be aware of it, and we’ll all get along much better.”