Complete Streets for Manitowoc

Mariners Trail

Bike Fed member and Manitowoc Alderman Matt Kadow sent the Bike Fed the good news that Manitowoc passed a Complete Streets policy. Alderman Kadow first introduced the policy in February. You can read the full resolution below near the end of this post.


” I’m happy to let you know that the Manitowoc City Council adopted the Complete Streets resolution by a 7-2 vote (one member absent). In the motion to approve, the Committee Chairman included direction that a Complete Streets Advisory Committee be formed to advise the Streets & Sanitation on Complete Streets issues. The committee make-up will be a total of 6 members: 1 Alder from Streets/Sanitation, the Deputy City Planner and 4 citizens.
The Mayor will make his appointments in May, waiting until after the new council is sat at the end of April and his standing committee assignments are approved. We will then begin a local education campaign on the effort, combined with general bike safety education to kick of the cycling season. I’m also still having discussions with local shop owners and cycling groups, and it looks as though we will likely form an advocacy group as well that entails advocacy throughout Manitowoc County, working to complete the trail and route network throughout Manitowoc, Two Rivers and Manitowoc County among other issues.
I will continue to keep you all updated to our progress. My term on the Council ends on April 16th.”
Matt Kadow,
Alderman – District 5;
City of Manitowoc

Maribel Caves trail plan and map

As Alderman Kadow suggests, there have been a lot of great bicycle related things going on in Manitowoc area recently. It was only last September that the The Northeast Wisconsin Off Road Mountain Bike Club (New OM) gained permission to build trails at the Cherney Maribel Caves County Park. This is the 1st trail in Manitowoc Co. that will be designed and built for mountain biking-specific use. You can find out more about those trails and other mountain biking opportunities in Manitowoc at the New OM website here.

The Mariners Trail that runs 6 miles beteen Manitowoc and Two Rivers has awesome views of the Lake Michigan shoreline and connects Manitowoc to Two Rivers.  Alderman Kadow also informed us that Manitowoc County has received a final grant to complete the Devil’s River Trail this summer. The scenic trail will stretch fourteen miles from Rockwood Road to the Village of Denmark.  Currently only eight miles are developed for public use, which run from Rockwood Road to Greenstreet Road.

Complete Streets policies are great ways to get your community to see the return that investments in bicycling can bring. Alderman Kadow understand this and that was the reason he introduced the complete streets policy, to help his community reap some of those economic and quality of life rewards: 

“Let me state here the initial reason that got me working on this issue: $1.5 Billion.Cycling is a $1.5 billion dollar industry in the state of Wisconsin. A $924 million dollar economic impact from bicycle recreation. $535 million of that is out-of-state tourism dollars. Manitowoc needs to lay the policy foundation to begin getting some of that action. That’s why I’m introducing the following resolution:


WHEREAS, in 2000 the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) approved a policy statement on bicycle and pedestrian accommodations stating that every local government has the responsibility to improve conditions and opportunities for walking and bicycling, and to integrate walking and bicycling into their transportation system (now more commonly known as “Complete  Streets”); and
 WHEREAS, in 2009, the Wisconsin Legislature approved Act 28, which created a Complete Streets
statute stating that the Wisconsin DOT shall ensure that bikeways and pedestrian ways are established in all new highway construction and reconstruction projects funded in whole or in part from state or federal funds, except in certain circumstances; and,


WHEREAS, the City of Manitowoc Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted by ordinance on December 21, 2009 recommends that the City of Manitowoc develop an interconnected sidewalk and trail network, carefully considering the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in road design and requiring designs of new developments that have the pedestrian in mind; and


WHEREAS, the City of Manitowoc Bicycle Facilities Plan, which was adopted by resolution on  November 6, 1995, recommended immediate and continued street enhancement to accommodate bicyclists; and 
WHEREAS, bicycling is an important and valuable mode of transportation that benefits the City economically and environmentally, as well as through social recreation attracting City residents and tourists; and 
WHEREAS, the Common Council recognizes the financial impact that cycling has on our community and wishes to continue to promote bicycling and walking as modes of transportation within the City; and
WHEREAS, the Common Council recognizes the positive effects that Complete Streets have on mobility in our City, as well as on reducing environmental pollution and stormwater runoff;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS FOLLOWS by the Mayor and the Common Council of the City of Manitowoc that the City shall, wherever possible and feasible, construct appropriate pedestrian and bicycle paths, lanes, and facilities to improve the ability for citizens and tourists to travel by foot and by bike.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that whenever a street is built or improved in the City of Manitowoc, the City shall review the following criteria when considering street design:
  1. The current accessibility and safety of the street for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  2. The connection of the street to currently existing bicycle lanes or pedestrian walkways.
  3. The need for pedestrian walkways or bicycle lanes on the street.
  4. The location of the street relative to schools and parks which attract pedestrians and bicyclists.
  5. Grant funding available to improve pedestrian and bicycle access to the street.”

Thanks to all the great work being done by the bicyclists in Manitowoc area and in countless other communities around the rest of the state. From elected officials like Alderman Kadow, to organized groups like New OM and the Lakeshore Pedalers, it is exactly by working together like this, that we can build an even more bicycle friendly Wisconsin.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

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