Watertown to Oconomowoc “Interurban” Trail Only a Matter of Time

Augie Tietz has a dream. The citizen chairperson of the Jefferson County Parks Commission wants to see Watertown connected to Oconomowoc via the “Interurban Bike Route.”

Click on the image above to open a multi-page PDF of that shows each segment of the proposed 11 mile route of the trail between Watertown and Oconomowoc.

I met Augie and Jefferson County Parks Program Assistant Mary Nimm at an event in Watertown over the weekend. They were standing in front of a map explaining the eleven-mile route that follows a WE Energies power line. The utility has been very cooperative, they explained, but a grant proposal for Transportation Alternatives Program funds narrowly missed approval this summer.

Undeterred, Tietz and Nimm and other supporters of the trail have regrouped. They’ve now broken the project into three manageable pieces of about $1.5 million to $2 million per segment. They’re going after the first two and a quarter miles out of Watertown first with the idea that once people ride that part they’ll be wanting more. They will soon be applying for state Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund dollars, which would cover half the costs. The rest would need to be raised locally. The local match could come from the county, the local cities and towns or private sources.

Bird’s eye view of the proposed trail connection in blue shows it will add to the existing red network. The next obvious gap to fill would be to Waterloo and from their to Sun Prairie.

With dedicated and smart volunteers like Augie and committed public servants like Mary I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we can ride safely from Watertown to Oconomowoc and then on to the Lake Country Trail and beyond. It’s a beautiful dream.

 

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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.

7 thoughts on “Watertown to Oconomowoc “Interurban” Trail Only a Matter of Time

  1. What a great thing for Watertown, Oconomowoc and Wisconsin. Wishing you great success Augie. Where do donations go?

    • For those who may be interested in contributing to this cause:
      Mail to Jefferson County Parks and indicate that it is for the Interurban Trail

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