Dane County Executive Budget for Cyclists in 2015
October 09, 2014
Melanie Conklin, Office of the County Executive, 608.267.8823
Parisi’s proposed budget completes a long-awaited segment of the Lower Yahara Trail,
helps Iron Man participants & offers a PARC & Ride bike program
MCFARLAND: In the 2015 budget proposed by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi – bikers all around the county will enjoy a smoother and safer ride with a number of anticipated projects primed to move forward in the budget he presented on Oct. 1.
“Quality of life is so important in keeping and attracting entrepreneurs and families to Dane County and a great system of trails and parks is strong part of what makes Dane County so appealing,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said. “My 2015 budget looks to build on our reputation and expand biking opportunities throughout the county for recreation and commuting.”
A top priority happening in 2015 is the Lower Yahara Trail connecting Lake Farm County Park with the Village of McFarland. There was a brief period this summer when outside funding appeared in jeopardy. County staff and partners worked hard with County Executive Joe Parisi to back the project. Not only was the $3 million preserved, in September another $1.6 million in Transportation Alternatives Program was awarded. The Executive Capital budget puts an additional $1 million into the $7.6 million project. Clearing will continue along the trail path this winter, preparing for 2015 bids and construction of the trail, which will eventually connect to the south to Stoughton as well.
Parisi thanked McFarland Village officials, including Dane County Supervisor Patrick Miles, for securing the easements needed to move the project forward after it stalled.
McFarland Village President Brad Czebotar added,“The McFarland Village Board and McFarland residents are grateful to all those who have dedicated countless hours towards the completion of the planning stage of this portion of the Lower Yahara River Trail. We are pleased to have played a part in the process by granting an easement through this park to make this portion of the trail possible. We anxiously await the completion of this portion of the trail that will connect us to the Capital City Trail system.”
Parisi’s proposed 2015 budget, which is currently being reviewed by the Dane County Board, also includes a new PARC & Ride program, built on the Partners in Recreation and Conservation (PARC) grant program. Communities interested in expanding trail interconnectivity, improved bicycling safety and destination-oriented trails will be able to vie for $750,000 in county funds to help bring those projects to reality.
“This program ensures precious county dollars are directed to efforts that are good for wellness and building our reputation as a bike-friendly county,” said Parisi. “Whether its work by the Village and Town of Oregon to link up trails to the Badger State Trail or the shared vision of the Town of Westport, City of Middleton, and Village of Waunakee on a North Mendota Trail, there is great interest by multiple partners across the county in expanding bike trail connectivity.”
Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin executive director Dave Cieslewicz added that this will not only build a national reputation for Dane County, but is also an asset in economic development:
"The county executive is really moving Dane County toward nationally recognized status as a bike friendly community. This isn't just important to people who like to bike. It puts Dane County on the map as a place that has a high quality of life and that is attractive to young entrepreneurs and people looking to put down roots and start a family. It's economic development as much as anything else."
Several other bike-friendly projects included in Parisi’s proposed 2015 budget include:
- Highway P widening, resurfacing and reconstruction from Pine Bluff to Cross Plains. This will improve and widen bike lanes along a popular segment around Stagecoach Road that Iron Man bikers use to train. Public information meetings on this topic will be announced by Dane County Highway department soon.
- Resurfacing of Allen Blvd. in Middleton will also improve the surface area for bikers.
- Dane County and the Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization are set to start work on a bicycle wayfinding plan.
- And in other bike news, construction started this week on the two mile corridor connecting Brigham Park to Military Ridge State State Trail, which will be a bicycle link to Cave of the Mounds due to finish up next summer.