Dane County moves forward with bike plans

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi is proposing some bold new biking initiatives in his 2014 county budget. Here are the highlights from the County Exec’s proposed budget:

New North Mendota Trail

In partnership with the Town of Westport, Village of Waunakee, and City of Middleton the budget will include $350,000 in county dollars to develop a new off road trail north of Lake Mendota, parallel to Highway M. There have been safety concerns with current on road bike facilities and a cyclist was killed in this stretch of road last summer. Recent land acquisitions in the area, including the prospective T Wall Development off Onken Road and Dane County’s purchase of the Holy Wisdom property in conjunction with neighboring public lands have created an off road corridor for this trail. The county’s $350,000 would fund a bridge over Six Mile Creek near the intersection of County Highways K and M and trail design funds.

New Sugar River Natural Resource Area Trail

In early 2013, the County Executive announced one of the largest land acquisitions in the county’s history, more than 450 acres south of Verona along the Sugar River. This property offers enormous promise for regional family outdoor recreation and the budget includes $300,000 to build a new trail from the north end of the property – - south to Paoli – - winding along 2.5 miles of the Sugar River. Parking and canoe launch areas are being developed on the property this fall. Construction of the new trail and walk bridges over on the river on the property in 2014 will greatly enhance public use of the property.

Lower Yahara Trail

The County Executive’s budget includes $600,000 for the county’s share of the next steps to developing this exciting new trail linking the southeast side of Madison to McFarland and Stoughton. Federal and state support for this project mean construction can start in 2014.
Altogether, we’re talking $1.3 million in important new trail investments in Dane County. When a public official steps up to the challenge like this they deserve our thanks and encouragement so that they’ll want to do even more in the future.
So if you live in Dane County (or anywhere for that matter) please take a moment to send an email to Joe to thank him for his vision.
You can reach him at parisi@countyofdane.com.

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About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

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