Walking is the most basic mode of transportation while bicycling is a near universal skill. Walking and bicycling provide important benefits to the individual, including improved physical and mental health as well as fewer transportation expenses. A bicycle and pedestrian system in a community can lead to increased safety especially for vulnerable populations, greater comfort for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers, fewer environmental impacts, lower healthcare costs, and less motorized traffic congestion and road maintenance. In other words, planning for pedestrians and bicycling is planning for everyone.
The counties of Chippewa, Dunn, and Eau Claire are planning for the future of bicycle and pedestrian transportation. The county bicycle and pedestrian plans are focusing on creating a greater array of transportation options while promoting connectivity, safety, health, economic and tourism opportunities within and beyond each county. The effort will build on the recently completed bicycle and pedestrian planning efforts of neighboring St. Croix County, as well as other projects including the United States Bicycle Route System project. The planning process will accomplish the following tasks:
- Create a separate bicycle and pedestrian plan for Chippewa, Dunn, and Eau Claire counties. Each plan will include a chapter discussing regional connections and routes.
- Identify a regional network of bikeways that connects communities and places of interest both within and between the three counties as well as St. Croix County.
- Examine pedestrian policies throughout the three counties and identify strategies to improve pedestrian conditions.
- Promote programs that educate the public about street safety and encourage people to walk and bike, including wayfinding infrastructure.
- Recommend policies to strengthen governments’ land use decisions, engineering approach, and enforcement actions on behalf of bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Make actionable and fiscally responsible recommendations that governments, agencies, and groups can implement immediately and long term.