On the Wildwood Trail in Woodville. Woodville Leader file photo by Paul J. Seeling
On the Wildwood Trail in Woodville. Woodville Leader file photo by Paul J. Seeling

Submitted by Debby Walters

HUDSON, WI -- In August of 2015, St. Croix County began work on a comprehensive St. Croix County Bicycle and Pedestrian plan. The goal of the plan is to provide safe biking and walking connections throughout the county and to capitalize on the St. Croix Crossing project that will link St. Croix County with the Twin Cities. 

An advisory team from throughout the county was formed to assist with the project.  Input was gathered through the use of a WikiMap, listening sessions, a project website, workshops, and more.  Using this information, Toole Design Group (a bicycle and pedestrian consulting firm) created a draft document that the St. Croix County Transportation and Community Development Committees reviewed. Changes were suggested and incorporated into a final draft document. Now the plan is ready for a FINAL PUBLIC HEARING to be held on Thurs., April 6, 2017 at 6:00 at the County Board Room, St. Croix County Government Center, 1101 Carmichael Road, Hudson, WI 54016.

The plan is extensive but based on citizen input and the Advisory Team recommendations, five priority corridor areas have been determined.  They are: 1. I-94-River Crest Elementary School Connection. 2. Loop Trail-Willow River State Park Connection. 3. Wis-35 Connection to Hudson. 4. Loop Trail-Somerset Connection. 5. Baldwin-Woodville Connection.

A great deal of input was received from the Baldwin-Woodville area about the importance of safely linking the two communities together and to connect to the Wildwood Trail in Woodville.   The proposal would be a combination of a bike path and wider paved shoulders along Rose Lane (the backway between Woodville and Baldwin). Details are found on page 68 and 69 of the draft version of the St. Croix County Bicycle and Pedestrian plan which can be found on this website:  www.sccwi.us/bikepedplan with greater detail and graphics.

Here is some of the text from those pages:

Corridor 5: Baldwin-Woodville Connection Corridor Overview Corridor 5 connects Baldwin and Woodville, which are closely linked in terms of schools, sports, and community facilities, but have remained separated by a lack of safe bicycling routes. The elementary school and high school for the Baldwin-Woodville School District are both located in the Village of Baldwin, but the Middle School is located in Woodville. This necessitates many families living in either community to transport their child (or children) to the other community at some point during each child’s school years.

With the distance between the communities being approximately five miles, bicycling could serve some of those school trips, such as those after baseball or theater practice when a bus may not be available, but potentially also as a healthy or convenient choice for students and other bicycle riders of all ages. This corridor is seen as one of the most critical links in a much-requested connection between the communities in the Interstate 94/Highway 12 corridor running east-west through the county.

Planning Level Cost Estimate: The estimated cost of constructing the recommended bikeway facilities within this corridor is $1,183,000. This includes $672,000 for 1.1 miles of path, $470,000 for 2.26 miles of paved shoulder, and $41,000 for 1.12 miles of separated bike lanes. Outside variables not included in this estimate are the cost of design, right-of-way acquisition, or changes to signalized traffic control.

Your input is requested about the entire plan or just this aspect of it.  Plan to attend the meeting on April 6 or submit your comments to Brett Budrow (Brett.Budrow@co.saint-croix.wi.us) prior to the meeting.

This plan is exactly that: a plan to guide the direction of bicycle and pedestrian connections throughout the county. The implementation of the plan depends on the commitment of the communities and funding.  Once this plan is approved, it provides the documentation for grant applications and more. It is the beginning, not the end.

It is anticipated that there will be a report next week on the April 6, meeting.