Bike and Ped Advisory Committee reflects on successful first year
Members of the Stevens Point Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) presented its first year-end report to the Stevens Point Plan Commission Monday, Jan. 9, since it began in August 2015 after being chartered by Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza.
Wiza said the committee’s achievements were worth public recognition.
“It’s remarkable what a citizen advisory committee can do. And we’ve now had an established a few of these … it’s important that we have these committees to see things from a different perspective. We aren’t involved with every sport or hobby that goes on (in the city), so I thought it important to create these committees,” Wiza said. “This committee has achieved more than I could have imagined. I appreciate all of their hard work from all of the members, current and past.”
Highlighting some of BPAC’s achievements in 2016, Kyle Kearns, Stevens Point associate planner and zoning administrator and BPAC liaison, started his list with BPAC’s successful acquisition of a nearly $400,000 Transportation Alternative Program grant through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) to upgrade and expand the city’s painted bike lane system for smoother integration with traffic.
“That was submitted in January through a lot of hard work from BPAC members. We heard back this fall that the city did receive that grant award for nearly a half-million dollars to install approximately 13 miles of bike lanes/shared bike shoulders throughout the city,” Kearns said.
“The design will being this year in 2017 and RFPs (request for proposals) will likely this spring for the selection of a consultant to do the design on that project,” he said.
“There have been several other accomplishments over the last 15 months BPAC has been a standing committee,” said Kearns, which included:
March 03 – Held first BPAC Workshop and Bike Show. The event was held to gather public input on prioritizing the PCCBPP based on the five E’s (engineering?, Education?, Evaluation?, Encouragement? and Enforcement).
April 27 – Hosted Steve Clark, a bicycle-friendly community specialist from the League of American Bicyclists, to review and assist the city in improving status in the Bicycle Friendly Program, as well as conduct a ride throughout the community.
May – Began discussions with Stevens Point Municipal Airport on a bike share program.
May 19 – Created a bicycle licensing and information brochure with the assistance of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) Student Government Association and city staff.
June – Common Council implemented the Stevens Point bicycle tag and removal ordinance and enforcement policy on recommendation BPAC.
July – Elizabeth (Ellie) Corbin, UWSP GIS student, began work on the Stevens Point Bicycle Routes map, which was completed in December.
On the flip side, Kearns said there were some areas BPAC plans to improve in, such as achieving a better Bicycle Friendly Program rating from the League of American Bicyclist
“Stevens Point received bronze status from the Bicycle Friendly Community Program,” Kearns said. “The status is good until 2020, upon which the city can apply again for a higher status to silver or gold.”
“We did not receive that ranking from bronze to silver. We they nominated us as bronze again, which will last from 2016 to 2020. So, I know one of the goals and objectives the committee wants to take this coming year is to find ways achieve that silver recognition in the program,” Kearns said.
“With the bronze designation, while good news, it suggests that the city could do a more,” said Tori Jennings, BPAC member.
Moving forward, Kearns said BPAC has recommendations for projects to tackle in 2017.
“They recommended that the police department provide licenses (for bikes) to private businesses and work through the process of issuing bike licenses and taking money for that to create some sort of documentation to ensure that we can license more bikes throughout the community,” Kearns said.
“They also recommended – again, these recommendations are to the Plan Commission – to approve the Stanley Street infrastructure improvements that were identified in the adopted Portage County County-Wide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan,” he said.
“The city really needs to follow through with those recommendations (from the county). Part of those Recommendations include road diets. The County-Wide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was thoroughly researched and vetted,” Jennings said.
For more information about BPAC’s upcoming projects, visit www.stevenspoint.com and search “Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.”