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Will the Bike Path on Tess Corners Be Blocked?

Residents come forward at eleventh hour to halt bidding process for construction of recreational trail, citing concerns over loss of trees and saying the road is too dangerous for anyone to ride bikes, even on an offroad trail.

They've been a part of every road plan, in part to allow residents to ride bikes and walk around the city, however a planned recreation trail to run along Tess Corners Drive has come under fire by residents who feel the loss of trees and the cost isn't warranted.

The matter was initially aired as part of a Committee of the Whole meeting last week, and was again discussed Monday Night at the Parks and Recreation Board meeting. The issue puts residents who supported a path because of safety concerns for people wanting to walk or ride along the road against those who feel the path still wouldn't provide safety for bikers or pedestrians.

Christine Nelson, a resident who lives on Tess Corners Drive, told the committee on April 10 the path would "give people an excuse to be in our yards, and will add to the destruction of mature trees" along the route.

Written objections came hours before the city was poised to begin the bidding process, and as 90 percent of the design work has already been done. An to gather input from residents, but overall the reaction then was positive. District 1 Alderman Tracy Snead also told residents she's had emails from other residents in that area supporting the trail as well.

Trees along the route are in the city's right of way, which means that their removal is within the city's right. Other projects, like the Woods Road trail, have had similar results, and Alderman Neil Borgman conceded, "as unpleasant as it is, the trail system has been part of the plans, and it is progress. When you make omelettes, you have to break a few eggs."

The parks board also weighed in on the issue Monday, concerned that narrowing the path from eight feet to six feet, one of the options presented by Alderman Kert Harenda, would make the path one-way.

"If you measure the width of most kids' bikes handlebars, that's nearly three feet already," said Parks Director Craig Anderson.

Member Butch Ledoux also said the elimination of the path, which some residents are suggesting, would endanger people looking to use the roadway, which is also where the is located.

"As we've seen growth in the city, there's been increased traffic on this street," he said. "I can't help but think of kids using that trail for biking, and even during trick or treat."

Council members were also unsure how the redesign would impact the current plans for the road, and Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said that should the path be taken out of the plan, and any redesigns require new public meetings, construction may be delayed as much as a year. Redesigns could run $30,000, but could provide a net savings to the project of $50,000.

As a new council is being sworn in Tuesday night, the decision to defer the matter to April 24th's Common Council meeting was made. Until then, progress is suspended on the project.

Jane Kuter April 17, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Why isn't there a bike trail from the South west corner of the city, from Denoon park down Racine Ave? My kids would love to bike into town but the speed of traffic on Racine is too dangerous! Connect the residents out here to the bike paths! Jane K.
Vernon April 17, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Denise, Is this going to be on the North or South side of the road? Do you have a link of a map?
Denise Konkol (Editor) April 18, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Appears to be on the south side. See page 7 of the 90% design plans pdf. http://www.ci.muskego.wi.us/engineering/CurrentProjects/TessCornersDriveReconstruction/tabid/1204/Default.aspx
Lisa April 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Now that the path on Durham has been expanded to North Cape, I would love to see them link it down to the path on Hwy 36. The only way for us down in this area to get to the path on Durham is to ride on North Cape. This is not safe at all. I love the bike trail around Muskego. We would use it more if we didn't have to ride on North Cape especially with our kids!
Amy Oechsner April 18, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I 100% agree. It seems all recreational focus is on Janesville, but Racine Ave is just as busy as a road if not more. I run on Racine from Thornapple Trail down to the bike trail weekly. It is about 2 miles and is very unsafe. I have to dodge cars daily. I would also love for my kids to ride the bike trail, but we cannot allow them on Racine to get to it. There definitely needs to be something on Racine. That would be money very well spent and would make alot of us happy!
Interested Party April 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM
When did this city become a refuge for all the "nimbys" of the world. For those of you who don't know what this acronym means its "not in my back yard". The lake park is gone because of them, next they would like the Tess Corners bike path gone. This city suffers every time the nimbys arise and try to force "their" wants on the population of the entire city. What a sad day it is when the nimby's are allowed to take control.
Cindy Thiel April 18, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Stoney Creek Adult Community is on Tess Corners Drive and we have many residents who would love to use this path to walk or bike safely. The road is currently very unfsafe for walking and this would be a wonderful improvement for recreation. I understand property owners may not want the intrusion, but the right of way is really for projects like this and for the good of the whole community. We hope that this project moves ahead like planned.
Muskego Mike April 18, 2012 at 01:35 PM
"Christine Nelson, a resident who lives on Tess Corners Drive, told the committee on April 10 the path would give people an excuse to be in our yards." I think this is a key point. Residents that live here believe the bike path will be on their land, cutting down their trees. As the Janesville road project starts, I see lots of resident landscaping projects being removed. I like Neil Borgman's comments but I don't live on this street. The results on the poll attached certainly are interesting. Muskego likes their bike paths and have supported them for a very long time.
csbothsides April 18, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I would also love to see a bike path in the southwest corner of the city. I try to walk my dogs and ride my bike on Kelsey Dr. and Muskego Dam Rd. and get run off the road and honked at constantly. It is very unsafe as cars speed like crazy and don't give you the room they are supposed to.
jc April 18, 2012 at 01:48 PM
That poll is ridiculous. How about the fact that it is yet another unneeded expense. It might be used for trick-or-treating??? Great, money well spent.
Sheepshead April 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Why do bike paths need to be 8 feet wide? When we were kids and rode on sidewalks, were the sidewalks 8 feet wide? I think not and yet we all survived somehow.
Denise Konkol (Editor) April 18, 2012 at 05:04 PM
The width was cut down from earlier plans, and I guess some trails in New Berlin are 12 feet, which seems excessive. We did a lot of things as kids without killing ourselves I agree. I didn't get the sense from the discussion that narrowing it to 6 feet would help the tree situation.
Denise Konkol (Editor) April 18, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Also, to address why not Racine, I do know that additional paths coming south on Racine from Woods is in the future planning. They will only tackle so many every year, and the Woods Road trail was moved up from 2014. Stay tuned, there will be more, and it does pay to come and voice your opinion during budget hearings in late summer (that's how Woods Road got moved up).
Matt Johnson April 19, 2012 at 05:54 PM
These paths are a great idea but where do they all lead to? What central point in this city would they all lead to? Where can residents gather? You see it in other cities like ours. We have the natural resources but some are afraid to take advantage of them. That is the big issue with Muskego. They are all paths that lead to nowhere, so to speak.
Muskego Mike April 20, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I think Dairy Queen... I see happy Muskego residents ride to Dairy Queen all the time.
Muskego Held Hostage April 23, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Looks like a lot of comments here that didn't address the Tess Corners path directly. I admit I Hadn't been down there for awhile so I took a ride. yes, the path would destroy some beautiful parts of the road and yes it must be dangerous to walk/bike there. With all the smart engineers and designers in Muskego you would think something could be designed to be about 6 ft,(wide enough) and go between some trees and save others, Sidewalks used to be built around trees also. Check out some of Milw's parks and bike pathways. Maybe we need a little research done before we run headlong into this. Too bad this wasn't done sooner. it's called plan ahe a d !
Birdwatcher May 02, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Fund the schools!!

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