The Process


Data and Asset Inventory

A wide variety of information, such as maps, surveys, and studies are available to determine the existing conditions of our transportation system.  In 1977, Vierbicher Associates prepared a Transportation Master Plan for the City of Prairie du Chien, and in 2000, the Prairie du Chien Area Transportation Study Advisory Committee, with help from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, prepared a Transportation Study for the community.  These two studies were the primary sources for gathering the following information relative to traffic patterns, existing and future transportation corridors, and potential safety concerns for a bike/ pedestrian path. 

        Existing Streets

A map of existing streets prepared by Vierbicher Associates in 1997 is shown in Figure 3.1-a.  The map indicates the name and location of all streets, the location of one-way streets, and the presence of curb and gutter.

Existing Functional Classification & Traffic Control

Essential to the planning of a bike/ pedestrian path is its placement relative to major streets and intersections.  Figure 3.1-b shows “existing functional classification and traffic control” of streets, prepared by Vierbicher Associates in 1997.  Especially noteworthy is the graphic representation of principal arterial, minor arterial, and collector streets, and how they are laid out in a primarily north-south direction, thus splitting the community into the “partitions” mentioned earlier.  A bicyclist or pedestrian wishing to travel in an easterly or westerly direction would need to cross four principal or minor arterial streets: Main, Beaumont, Marquette, and 15th; as well as the Burlington Railroad and  several collector streets.  Additionally, the location of highway 18 west – along Wisconsin and Iowa streets – and highway 27 further divides the city into quadrants, thereby complicating any attempts to route a bike/ pedestrian path without crossing a major transportation corridor.

The map also shows the location of all controlled intersections – those with stop signs or signals – and protected railroad crossings.  Several intersections within the city limits remain uncontrolled, requiring utmost caution for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.  The design of a bike/ pedestrian path will need to account for a “least risk” path through the labyrinth of uncontrolled intersections and major arterial traffic corridors.

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Traffic Count Map

In identifying a “least risk” corridor  for a bike/ pedestrian path, traffic count becomes a primary concern along with the  traffic control patterns listed in the previous section.  Figures 3.1-c and 3.1-d show traffic counts on principal and minor arterial streets, according to a study by Wisconsin Department of Transportation in 1999.  The results of that study are summarized in the following section.

Traffic Count Summary (table 3.1-e)

The following table 3.1-e shows a summary of the traffic count data contained in 3.1-c and 3.1-d for streets that are classified as principal or minor arterial.  To better understand the relative hazards of crossing “partition” boundaries, we have listed only those traffic counts on either side of the intersection of arterial streets.

A review of traffic counts affecting north – south arterial “partitions” shows that Marquette Road presents a formidable hindrance to a bike/ pedestrian path.  The highest volume of traffic on Marquette Road occurs between Blackhawk and Wells Streets.  Main Street shows a similar distribution pattern, but with only 10% of the volume.  The Beaumont and Freemont-15th Street corridors present manageable traffic counts and a diminished potential for bike/ pedestrian conflict with automobiles.

The only significant “partitions” in the east – west direction are the Highway 18 West corridor represented by Wisconsin and Iowa Streets, and the Highway 27 East corridor represented by Blackhawk Avenue.   Traffic counts are consistently in the 5000 ADT range along their entire length, and are further complicated by the fact that there are no controlled intersections either east or west of Marquette Road.


Streets: North & South

ADT Count

Actual ‘99

ADT Count

Projected ‘20

Marquette Rd. North of Frederick

Marquette Rd. North of Washington

Marquette Rd. North of Blackhawk

Marquette Rd. South of Blackhawk

Marquette Rd. South of Wisconsin

Marquette Rd. South of Iowa

Marquette Rd. South of Webster

Marquette Rd. South of Wells

Marquette Rd. South of 15th Street

Marquette Rd. South of La Pointe












Main St. North of Washington

Main St. North of Blackhawk

Main St. South of Blackhawk

Main St. South of Wisconsin

Main St. South of Iowa

Main St. South of Wells








Beaumont Rd. North of Washington

Beaumont Rd. South of Iowa

Beaumont Rd. South of Wells





Freemont North of Wells

15th Street South of Wells





Streets: East & West



Washington St. West of Main

Washington St. East of Main




Blackhawk Ave. East of Marquette

Blackhawk Ave. East of City Limits




Wisconsin Ave. West of Main

Wisconsin Ave. East of Main

Wisconsin Ave. West of Marquette





Iowa St. West of Main

Iowa St. East of Main

Iowa St. West of Marquette





Webster St. East of Beaumont

Webster St. West of Marquette

Webster St. East of Marquette

Webster St. West of Freemont






Wells St. East of Beaumont

Wells St. East of Marquette.




Parrish St. West of Marquette

Parrish St. East of Marquette




Table 3.1-e   Wisconsin Department of Transportation 1999

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Area Traffic Patterns

According to a study done by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in 1999, only 23% of traffic entering the city is destined for points beyond the city.  The study, which involved interviewing travelers entering the city, indicates “about 77% of those interviewed stated that they were destined for one of the nine analysis zones in the area . . . . This shows that in this region, Prairie du Chien is more a destination that a town en-route to somewhere else.”  The results of the study are summarized in table 3.1.-f, and graphically represented in figure 3.1-g, which shows the percentages applied to current volumes.



Percentage of Trips Entering

The City

Percentage of Trips with Local Destination

Percentage of Trips that are Through Traffic

STH 35 North


USH 18 West


STH 27 East


USH 18 East






























                                    Table 3.1-f  Prairie du Chien Area Transportation Study

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DOT Study Alternative

The Prairie du Chien Area Transportation Study completed in August of 2000 identified a number of transportation issues that require remedy, among them:

1.      “System Planning and Maintenance – Marquette Road . . . is nearing the end of its projected life cycle . . . . and does not meet current design standards, constricts optimal operation, and does not properly accommodate turning movements.”

2.      “High Traffic Volumes – Sections of Marquette Road now carry up to 20,000 vpd and are projected to grow to over 26,000 vpd by the year 2020.”

3.      “Operational Problems Associated with Left-Turning Traffic onto and off of Marquette Road”

4.      “Train Disruptions – About 40 trains travel through the Prairie du Chien are daily.”

5.      “Above average Crash Rates from Webster Street to Blackhawk Avenue.”


To address these critical issues, the Wisconsin DOT and local Advisory Committee developed five alternatives to the current Marquette Road system – still under consideration at this writing – that will also impact the design and location of any future bike/ pedestrian path.

1.      “Install Two-Way-Left-Turn Lane (TWLTL) along the Marquette Road (USH 18) from La Point Street to just past Blackhawk Avenue (STH 27).”

2.      “Relocate USH 18 to Main Street from the Wisconsin Street/ Iowa Street one-way pair to La Pointe Street.”

3.      “Constructing a Bluff Road collector (local road) along the west edge of the bluffs.”

4.      “Install a One-Way Pair from Campion Street to Washington Street using Marquette Road for southbound traffic and Dousman Street or Ohio Street for northbound traffic.”

5.      “Install a raised median and reduce access salon the Marquette Road (USH 18) from La Pointe Street to just past Blackhawk Avenue (STH 27).”


Figure 6 graphically represents these alternatives and shows how they may impact any future bike/ pedestrian path corridors.

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Existing Bike Paths (figure 3.1-i)

Existing bike paths within the area, while limited in number and length, should be incorporated into any future bike-path development.  There are currently three asphalt bike paths in the area:

·        On the west side of Marquette, from Webster to La Pointe.

·        On the north side of Wells, from 10th Street to 14th Street.

·        On St. Feriole Island, from 6th Street east to Villa Louis Road, then north to the Villa Louis Historic Site property.


Figure 3.1-i shows the location of these existing paths, along with the existence of concrete sidewalks throughout the city.  The lack of bike paths and sidewalks throughout the area –   in combination with the desire of many pedestrians  to keep bicycles off sidewalks – is a further demonstration of the need for a comprehensive bike/ pedestrian path that will serve the many areas that currently lack a safe way to travel by foot or bicycle.

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Crossing Guard Statistics

Crossing guards at nine locations used by children walking or riding bicycles to school, or to access summer recreation programs at ballparks and the swimming pool, were surveyed to tabulate the activity at their particular location.  The data summarized in Figure 3.1‑j  shows that the Freemont/ Wells Street crossing has by far the largest volume of both pedestrians and bicyclists due to its proximity to the Bluff View School.  Total activity, which includes pedestrians and bicyclists, indicates that the Mooney/ Marquette, Washington/ Beaumont, and Wells/ Marquette Street crossings all have volumes in excess of 60 crossings per day.

Examining the data for bicyclists alone (shaded blue) show that Wells and Mooney are prime east-west corridors, which would suggest their inclusion in a comprehensive trail plan.  There are no dramatic concentrations of bicycle traffic at north-south crossing points, as the highest percentage of users at those points are pedestrian.

The data reinforces the suggestion that boundaries to east-west travel, primarily Marquette Road, Dousman and Freemont Streets, present the most formidable obstacles to a Bicycle/ Pedestrian Trail.

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Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Data

According to records kept by the Prairie du Chien Police Department (see appendix), there were sixteen pedestrian related traffic accidents during the two years from January 2000 to December 2001, 50% (8) of which were  along Marquette Road.  Of those eight, three (3) were at the intersection with Parrish Street, and two (2) were at the intersection with Wells Street.

In the east-west arterial corridors – not including intersections with Marquette Road – there were no statistically significant trends of accident locations.  It is noteworthy however, that three (3) of the sixteen accidents were in close proximity to schools: two (2) near the High School parking lot, and one (1) near Bluffview School.  We can conclude that school zones and all intersections with Marquette Road are primary areas of concern for bike and pedestrian safety.

Existing Assets: Commercial, Industrial, Tourism

For the bike/ pedestrian path to adequately serve the people of the Prairie du Chien area, as well as potential visitors, we will need to connect the various community assets and points of interest that users of the path will want access to.  Figure 9 shows the location of potential points of connection, categorized as follows:

·        Commercial Assets – including the downtown, shopping malls, and strip developments.

·        Industrial Assets – industrial parks and the area’s largest employers.

·        Tourism and Recreational Assets – historic buildings, attractions, parks, and other points of interest.

·        Public Facilities – Schools, libraries, hospitals, government offices, and other public facilities.

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Future Development and Streets

Beyond the potential for new principal arterials discussed in 3.1.6, Figure 3.1-l shows the potential for new minor arterials and collector streets, as well as future industrial, residential, and commercial development.  The bike/ pedestrian trail plan will need to incorporate future development in its strategy in order to:

·        Accommodate developing areas that will need to be serviced by the path.

·        Identify potential bike/ pedestrian path corridors.

·        Effect early planning for future streets to possibly include a bike/ pedestrian path as part of the improvements.

·        Prevent conflicts with developments and avoid areas of future congestion or high traffic counts.



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