The Bike Striping Pilot Project, which was approved last week by the Winona City Council, is set to begin soon in Winona. The pilot project includes clearer paths for those looking to travel by bicycle on multiple streets within the city.
Winona’s assistant city planner, Luke Sims, said the project was created in response to the adoption of the 2017 Complete Streets Policy and Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, which called for improved bicycle facilities.
Sims said the Bike Striping Pilot Project in particular developed when officials were searching for some improvements to do this year. They discovered money available that would allow for latex paint striping of bike lanes.
He said the striping will likely only last for about six months. This enables for changes to be made with the project in the future if it doesn’t truly fit the needs and wants of the Winona community. If the project is a success, then larger and more permanent implementation will be possible.
“It seemed like a good opportunity to work on a pilot project that can be evaluated and then brought back to city council if it’s found to be successful,” Sims said.
The process of designing this project began around June, when Winona’s Planning and Zoning Department worked with an intern to create it.
Outreach was completed in August, when the department worked with the community to plan what streets this pilot project would be best for. September included public meetings and the pilot project being presented to the city council.
“A lot of these streets are connections that were seen as potential needs by the community,” Sims said. “We received over 400 responses during that public process.”
Huff Street was one of the streets chosen, Sims said, because it is a “key connector between the river and the bluffs.”
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With Huff Street’s narrowness, potential problems, especially with the existing parking, were considered during the planning.
Community members noted in a 2017 engagement effort that they would like Huff Street to be a part of a bike route and that many already use the road for bicycling.
“We knew that making improvements will provide adequate protection and also will give guidance to people in cars, people on bikes and people walking,” he said of the Huff Street work. “They should be expecting bicyclists to be using that portion of the road.”
Two options were presented to the council for Huff Street, one where parking on the west side of the street was removed and one where the parking could be kept. Although both options were considered by the council, the decision resulted in no parking on that part of the street.
Because the department knew this pilot project might affect businesses located on these streets, notices were sent to the owners of the properties.
Throughout the pilot project, surveys will be sent to the business owners, and the city will watch to see whether it affects the rate of business.
The impact this pilot project has on the community will be examined closely. If a negative impact is shown, Sims said, the department will work toward going back to how things were before the pilot project.
The pilot project will also re-establish a bike lane on Fifth Street, Gilmore Avenue’s Bike Boulevard and Wabasha Street Bike Boulevard’s extension, according to the proposal.
All locations impacted by this pilot project are: Fifth Street from Harriet to Franklin streets; Seventh Street from Main to Adams streets; Clarks Lane from Lake Boulevard to Hwy. 14; Gilmore Avenue from Service Road to End Point; Huff Street from Second to Lake streets; East Lake Boulevard from Hwy. 43 to Huff Street; and West Lake Boulevard from Huff Street to Clarks Lane. Existing parking options on most of these streets will not be affected by the pilot project.