By Charles Collier, The Denmark News
Reconstruction plans taking shape, public input requested next week
DENMARK—On Monday, Dec. 5, the Denmark Board of Trustees refined conceptual options for reconstruction of N. Wall St. scheduled for next spring. Brown County will be funding the reconstruction of driving lanes, but what to do with the remaining roadway—whether to maintain the current parking lanes or to include new pathways for bicycles—is still undecided.
Mick Magalski, an engineer of McMahon and Associates overseeing the project, presented several “very preliminary” options for the Board to discuss and revise before he meets with County officials next week ahead of a public hearing on the issue slated for Wednesday, Dec. 13.
Today, Village features only one designated bike lane, for a few yards on CTH R, and an extended pedestrian lane on Woodrow St., despite its 2007 Comprehensive Plan targeting the creation of, “a safe, continuous pedestrian system throughout the Village.”
- Wall is one of Denmark’s heaviest travelled roadways where the high school, apartment complexes, multiple homes, the Denmark Volunteer Fire Department, BMO Harris Bank, and Suster’s Arcade are all situated. Bicyclists, by default, are faced with the options of either riding on the street amidst the traffic or taking to the sidewalks alongside pedestrians.
Bicyclists are classified under state statute as vehicles and are generally subject to the same operating requirements, though no Village ordinance outright bars their presence on sidewalks. Trustee Paul Hargarten believes the distinction needs to be made more clear.
“The worst part about bicycles: how do you make someone on a bike realize they’re a vehicle?” Hargarten said during the regular meeting. “Most accidents happen on bikes because someone decides to quit being a vehicle and to be a pedestrian…we have to start considering separating this stuff.”
That separation could come in the form of bicycle lanes on the street stretching about a half-mile from Pine St. to North Ave., which would ease bike traffic but would cut down the current parking lane’s width from ten feet to eight feet, as well as a heightened cost for the project.
The other option agreed upon by the Board for public consideration would forego the additional lane and simply reconstruct the thoroughfare as it sits today with one key change. The plan would eliminate parking privileges on the west side of the street (opposite of the high school) and recognizing the widened stretch as a bicycle accommodation, which does not require the same signage or width regulations.
Suster’s Ramp In Question
In reviewing the maps during preparation, Magalski found that the concrete ramp leading into Suster’s Arcade’s street facing entrance lies four feet within the County right-of-way and may need to be removed.