Public Input

In order to maximize public support and usage of the bike/ pedestrian path, many segments of the public were surveyed to determine the needs and habits of potential users.  Since each segment presents its own unique challenges and concerns, the survey methodology was tailored to each particular segment.

      School Children: Grades 4 – 7

Both 4th grade and 7th grade students at Bluffview School  were interviewed in a classroom setting in order to obtain details about bicycle habits, parental concerns, and antidotal information that might be useful in designing the trail.  Of 146 students interviewed, we found that:

·        42 (29%) ride the bus to school

·        40 (27%) ride bikes to school

·        11 (8%) walk to school

·        53 (36%) did not respond, or received ride from parents

When asked what prevents students who live in the City from walking or biking to school, the following factors were cited:

·        Distance – many lived too far from school to walk or bike.

·        Convenience – some had parents who dropped them off on the way to work.

·        Safety – those who lived along highway 35 North or 18 South were concerned about traveling along the highways to get to school.


Those who do walk or bike to school were asked what areas they avoid due to safety concerns –either theirs or their parent’s – the following areas and obstacles were mentioned:

·        The highway, Wisconsin and Iowa Streets

·        Wells Street immediately after school hour

·        The intersection of Washington and Marquette

·        Truck traffic

·        Railroad tracks

·        In general, parents encouraged students to cross the highway as locations where control lights or crossing guards are present.


The students were asked what areas they would like to see connected by the path, the following locations were provided:

·        The bowling alley, Star Cinema, Roller Rink, and Pizza Hut were mentioned frequently, and represent a concentration of entertainment sites frequented by the students.

·        Blackhawk Avenue

·        Wal-Mart

·        St. Feriole Island, boat docks, and other  fishing locations

·        The library

·        Cabela’s

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     Major Employers

A survey form was  distributed to major employers, including Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital, Cabela’s, Wyalusing Academy, and the teaching staff at both public and parochial schools,  to determine current bicycle and walking habits of their workforce, preferred destinations for a trail system, and the general concerns of  potential users.  A complete report of the responses we received is located in the appendix.  A summary of the responses to each question follows:


Question 1 – what points (within the City, in the Town of Bridgeport, in the Town of Prairie du Chien) should be made part of the system?


Responses pointed toward the following locations most frequently mentioned:

Points within the city

The Downtown

Commerce Court

Riverside Square

All Schools

Hoffman hall

Ball Parks


Villa Louis

St. Feriole Island

“Along River”

“Along Bluffs”

Swimming Pool/

Ft. Fun

Ft. Crawford




Points in the Town of Bridgeport


Golf Course

LaRiviere Park


Points in Town of Prairie du Chien


Frenchtown Road

The Barn

The Ambro




Question 2 – Do you presently walk or bike for exercise?  How Often?

·        90% replied that they walk, bike, or both

·        only 10% replied that they did not walk or bike for exercise

·        Of those who walk and/ or bicycle, they did so on an average of 4.5 times per week








Question 3 – Do you presently walk or bike to work? How often?

·        Only 27% currently walk or bike to work

·        64% do not walk or bike to work

·        9% had no response

·        of those who walk and/ or bicycle to work, they did so an average of 3.7 times per week


Question 4 – if a Trail System were to be constructed, allowing for safe travel by bicycle or walking, would you use such a system?

·        An overwhelming 93% responded yes

·        5% responded maybe

·        only one (2%) responded no

·        of those responding yes, 100% would use the trail for exercise or recreation

·        of those responding yes, 18% would use the trail for going to work (43% responded they would not use the trail for going to work, 18% said ‘maybe,’ while 21% did not respond)











Question 5 – Do you anticipate conflict between pedestrian and bicycle users?

·        22% responded yes

·        54% responded no

·        21% responded maybe

·        3% did not respond

If so, how might such conflicting uses be addressed to make them compatible?


Responses tended toward the following suggestions:

·        Make trail wide enough, with a center line to separate users or direction of travel

·        Post signs with rules and designations

·        Use courtesy and common sense

·        Pedestrians should have right-of-way

·        Construct separate trails for walkers and bicyclists


Question 6 – Marquette Road and the BN Railroad are crossing points of concern with respect to safety.  If we were to attempt to funnel traffic to certain east-west streets and concentrate on making these streets “safe crossing points,” which east-west streets would these be?


Although responses included most every east-west street, the following were most frequently mentioned:








Build Overpass



Question 7 – Blackhawk Avenue (downtown) is obviously a destination within the system.  Bicycles are not allowed on the sidewalks and there exist a number of ‘blind spots’ as vehicles access Blackhawk Ave. from feeder streets.  How do you think bicycles should safely pass through the downtown?


Responses tended toward the following suggestions:

·        Create bike lane down Blackhawk Avenue

·        Create bike path behind stores (to north)

·        Post signs with rules for bicycles

·        Create diagonal parking for better vision


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Civic Organizations

Civic clubs were approached in the spring of 2004 to present preliminary plans for the trail, and to solicit feedback from the organizations.  Presentations were made to the following organizations:

·        Prairie du Chien Chapter of the AARP

·        Prairie du Chien Jaycees

·        Prairie du Chien Kiwanis Club

·        Prairie du Chien Tourism Council

·        Women’s Civic Club


Comments and questions are summarized as follows:

·        Prairie du Chien needs more sidewalks.  The Prairie du Chien Area Bicycle/ Pedestrian Trail will add additional walking paths, but does not address sidewalk development.

·        Will golf carts be allowed on the path?  Unless specifically authorized, motor vehicles will not be allowed on the pedestrian/ bicycle path.

·        How many miles of trail are proposed?  Including both new improvements and existing streets, the Pedestrian/ Bicycle Trail system encompasses 32 miles of proposed paths, bicycle lanes, shared roadways, and paved shoulders. 

·        When will the first phase of the trail system be constructed?  If the City’s  application to the DOT is funded, construction could begin in 2006.

·        Will the path provide access to businesses on the east side of Hwy 18 between the Vineyard Coulee intersection and Wal-Mart?  The existing path along the west side of Hwy 18 provides access to the general vicinity, but does not cross the highway other than at the controlled intersections.

·        What is the potential usage of the trail system?  We have estimated that schoolchildren will generate 34,000 user trips over a 180-day school year, while shopping, errands, and commuting might create 91,000 user trips per year.

·        What is the estimated cost of the trail system?  The first phase, consisting of 4.7 miles of the East Loop, has been estimated at $916,000, or $195,000 per mile.  Additional phases will need to be estimated at the time of implementation in current dollars.

·        A Shared-Use path is preferable to a bicycle lane through residential neighborhoods where there is sufficient easement outside the curb.  The City Loop consists primarily of shared-use paths, and the shared-use facility is used wherever space allows.

·        The north side of Hwy 18 between Wal-Mart and Ward Road is preferable to the south side for a shared-use path because of the residential development occurring on that side.  We have requested that the DOT incorporate into their master plan a shared-use path along the north side of Hwy 18 from Wal-Mart to Bouska Rd.  At the time of printing, that request remains under consideration.

·        A recreational trail through remote areas outside the city is preferable to one inside the city.  Both the Bridgeport Loop and North Loop do include trails through remote areas, including La Riviere Park.  Although desirable, recreational trails are more difficult to fund, since DOT funding requires that trails be primarily for non-recreational use.

·        Why can’t the trail follow closer to the bluff?  We have attempted to follow the bluff as close as possible; however, private land issues have precluded the acquisition of a public use easement.

·        How much will the city portion of the trail cost?  Should the City be successful in its DOT application for the first phase of the East Loop, the City portion will be 20% of 788,000, or $157,600.

·        How will the trail cross highways in a safe manner?  Trail crossings of highways within the city limits will be identified with pavement markings and warning signs, while the recommendation for crossings at higher speed locations will include flashing warning lights.

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Bicycle Advisory Committee

The Bicycle Advisory Committee, a group of Prairie du Chien area citizens who ride a bicycle regularly for recreation and exercise, met on April 26, 2004 to offer their concerns about biking safety and assessment of the draft plan.  An outline of issues addressed with the committee is contained in the appendix.  The following concerns and questions were expressed:

·        Vineyard Coulee Road, because of its sharp turns and relatively high speeds, is the most dangerous road to travel by bicycle in the area.

·        Because of high speeds and narrow shoulders, bicyclists generally avoid highways 18 and 35, except where recent improvements have widened the paved portion of the shoulder.

·        Driveways, both private and public, present a consistent danger to bicyclists traveling along dedicated paths because motorists often are not aware of the presence of bicyclists.

·        Short of parking changes and/or reconfiguring streets to slow traffic, the committee does not see a safe way through the downtown, where opening car doors and bad sight lines present hazards. 

·        Traffic lights do not detect bicyclists waiting to cross at intersections.

·        The committee felt that a north-south spoke to carry bicycle commuters was a good idea and that if Marquette Road were not available we should explore Illinois Street.

·        Where the bicycle/ pedestrian trail went through steep terrain, the committee felt there should be a gradual-grade alternative for less aggressive riders.

·        The committee inquired as to the availability of a path along the utility easement between Vineyard Coulee Rd. and Wal-Mart.

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