Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ideas on roads, wolves need rethinking

By David Horst 

From time to time, a columnist needs to purge his notebook and produce a mishmash of this and that from bits too little to be a column but too much to be ignored.

Complete streets
I attended the annual meeting of the trail advocacy group Fox Cities Greenways and
heard a presentation by Jack Zabrowski of the La Crosse County Health Department,
who coordinates the county's "complete streets" efforts.

It is a term I had not heard before. The concept is to commit to designing streets not just for automobile traffic, but for all of the functions they serve — safe routes for bicycles, pedestrians and school children. That means more than adding bicycle lanes, Zabrowski said.

It may involve building in such features as bump-out crosswalks as in downtown Appleton, raised crosswalks that serve as low-grade speed bumps, curb cut ramps at intersections, shared bicycle and parking lanes and bike-only lanes. In rural areas, it may be as simple as paved shoulders and 14-foot-wide traffic lanes.

Area communities have done a good job of insisting on recreation trails as part of major highway projects. This is the next step.