Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Matters / Doesn’t Matter

Is this news you can use, or just news? An agreement between Washington County and the City of West Bend to swap a few key parcels of land includes a re-route of city traffic away from the county courthouse. The south end of Schmidt Road will become little more than a driveway. A short section of new roadway will connect Rolfs Avenue to Schmidt Road at Creek Road. The city is accepting contractor proposals until February 14 with the expectation that the new roadway will be open sometime between November 2018 and December 2019.

That’s kind of interesting. But if you’re a local cyclist, then you probably don’t use that part of Schmidt Road anyway … if you use Schmidt Road at all. With no paved shoulder, crumbling pavement and a fairly high volume of motor vehicle traffic, it’s not one of our more bike-friendly streets. I use it frequently from Creek Road north to the Eisenbahn State Trail connector at Lac Lawrann Conservancy—a distance of only a half mile—but almost never from Creek Road south to Washington Street. And that’s because I would rather not ride on Washington Street, also known as State Highway 33. If I’m traveling east-west in that area, then Creek Road and the Riverfront Parkway are better choices.

Still, I will keep an eye on this project. It could have ramifications for Bike Friendly West Bend’s route plans. As currently envisioned, the “red” route will include that section of Schmidt from the Eisenbahn connector south to Creek. Depending on how the pattern of motor vehicle traffic changes with the extension of Rolfs, it might make more sense to use the new roadway as far south as Lang Street before turning east to meet River Road.

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