By Annette Aubinger
ASHWAUBENON – Parks, Recreation & Forestry Director Rex Mehlberg updated the Bicycle and Pedestrian committee of the action from village Board approving the Cormier Road sidewalk survey questions on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Public input was solicited via survey regarding a potential sidewalk on Cormier Road on the south side.
Specifically, Hock to Pilgrim; and North Road to Shady.
Nearly 800 letters were mailed which asked people to fill out the online survey (each address had a unique code to enter to better assure one vote per household).
Residents could also request a hard copy of the survey if they chose not to complete it on-line.
Mehlberg said the surveys came back with 241 comments.
“The comments went both ways. Summarizing, it was about a 65-35 in favor of sidewalks. It was about 50-50 for those who do and don’t want sidewalks in front of their homes,” Mehlberg said.
The reason it was 50-50 for those who do and don’t want sidewalks in front of their homes was because not all the respondents live on Cormier Road where the sidewalks would be placed.
“I feel the tide may be turning for the need of sidewalks in the village,” Mehlberg said.
Kyle Gigot, committee member responded to the survey.
He said from reading the responses, the general concensus is that people don’t feel safe on Cormier Road and sidewalks are needed.
Dale Schmitz, committee member, commented that he noticed two things from the survey.
The first is that people feel the white lines on the road are for bike paths.
He felt the public needs to be educated about the white lines on the roads.
They are VNL’s (visually narrow lines) meant to slow traffic down. They are not for a designated bike path.
The second is the question of shoveling.
It was questioned if the homeowner would have to shovel, or would the village do it.
The committee discussed shoveling and mentioned with more sidewalks becoming popular in the village, there may have to be a sunset clause where eventually everybody is responsible for the sidewalk in front of their property unless maybe there were health concerns.
Members did agree the final decision on shoveling would have to be the village board.
Mehlberg did say in looking further at the surveys, it was 71-29 in favor of a sidewalk from Hock Street to Pilgrim and 67-33 in favor of sidewalks from North Road to Shady Lane.
At closer examination, there was some mention in the survey that citizens would like the sidewalks go all the way to Packerland on the north and south side of the streets.
A motion was made and approved to have sidewalks included in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Comprehensive Plan update to go from Hock Street to Pilgrim and have sidewalks on both sides of the street continue all the way to Packerland.
The next step is a public hearing for the citizens to verbally express their opinions about the Bicycle and Pedestrian Comprehensive Plan.
After that, the plan goes to the village board for approval.
In other business:
New member, Kevin Phillips was introduced to the committee. He is taking the place of Brad Taylor.
Phillips teaches physical education at Ashwaubenon High School where this is his 17th year.
The committee discussed Bike to School Day where they would like to see crosswalk enforcement education for bikers and the community.
It was suggested by Schmitz that the Bike and Ped Comprehensive Plan be looked at once a year so that the committee knows what was followed through on and what changes need to be made.
Mehlberg reported that they are continuing to work on a plan for a path from Sand Acres to West Main in De Pere.
He said it is a costly project and they are waiting for a grant.
There is a Business Bicycle Benefits nationwide program that is in area communities where there are benefits given to those businesses that promote bicycle riding.
It was suggested that the program expand to Ashwaubenon.