Dane County Honored as One of Top Biking Counties in Country
May 19, 2016
Stephanie Miller 608-267-8823
The League of American Bicyclists has given Dane County one of its top awards, recognizing it as one of top counties for biking, County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. Dane County is one of only seven counties in the entire country to earn the group’s Bronze Level designation for being bike friendly. Over the past several years, the County has invested in millions in new off-road trails and efforts to make on-road biking safer. Most recently, the County started construction of the Lower Yahara River Trail, a waterfront path that has the longest bike and pedestrian bridge of any project in the state.
“Biking is a big part of our quality of life and a way for people to get out and enjoy our lakes and countryside,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Biking is good for our health, for our environment, and for our communities. We are excited to be recognized for our work to strategically grow and connect Dane County bike trails.”
According to the Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization, there are over 645 miles of bike facilities in Dane County. In addition to the Lower Yahara Trail, the County is also funding design work that will get underway this summer for the Glacial Drumlin Trail, and providing dollars in partnership with the Town of Westport and others for a new North Mendota Trail to help provide safer cycling.
In 2011, Dane County Executive Parisi started the PARC & Ride Bike Trail grant program, which provides matching grants to communities interested in expanding trail interconnectivity throughout Dane County. Since the inception of the program, $3.2 million in county funds have been awarded to local municipalities. Grants are awarded for capital projects that expand bike trail interconnectivity, create destination-oriented regional bike trails, and improve bike safety.
“This is well-deserved recognition for Dane County. County Executive Joe Parisi has made cycling a priority in his administration from the beginning and the County Board has supported that direction,” said Wisconsin Bike Fed Executive Director Dave Cieslewicz.
Construction on the Lower Yahara River Trail is progressing on schedule, with the first phase completed by early next year. Subsequent phases of the project will wind south down along the Yahara River and eventually link Lake Farm County Park with the City of Stoughton. The trail will also include an accessible fishing pier near the railroad trestle on Lake Waubesa along with rest stops and observation areas.
Late last year, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the grand opening of the Brigham Trail, a hard surface multiuse trail in the Town of Blue Mounds. The off-road trail is approximately 1.5 miles long and extends from the Military Ridge State Trail to Brigham County Park and also includes a connection to the Cave of the Mounds, a National Natural Landmark. The cost to build the trail was $400,000.
Dane County Parks in partnership with the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board has contracted with Toole Design Group to develop a county wide Bicycle Wayfinding Plan. The planning effort began in October 2015 with several committee meetings that had representation from a broad spectrum of the community and bicycle planning professionals. With input from the committee, Toole Design Group prepared a draft Bicycle Wayfinding plan that contains key guidelines for designing and implementing a uniform wayfinding and information sign system for the bicycle network throughout Dane County.
Communities in Dane County frequently work together to complete missing links in the original bike network. Four of the five communities in Dane County that have submitted applications to be a bike friendly community were awarded a designation. Dane County has an extensive trail system managed through the Parks Department. The county continues to work towards ensuring safe connections that all users feel comfortable using to go between the many communities in the county. The county has a strong bicycle culture with a wide range of events to appeal to all level of cyclists held throughout the year. Dane County actively promotes bicycling throughout the year.