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Resident calls for bike signage in village

A map approved by village trustees in 2011 indicates bike routes in the village.

A map approved by village trustees in 2011 indicates bike routes in the village.

April 15, 2014

Susan Retzack, as a member of the Elm Grove Public Safety Committee, is pushing the village to install signs that would flag designated bike routes and remind drivers to share the road. It could involve painted symbols on the roads or sign posts.

"The idea I had of painting details on the road was to serve a two-fold purpose — to educate the villagers that there is indeed recommended bike routes, and furthermore that the bikes have every right to be there and we should try to share the road," Retzack said.

Bike routes have existed since July of 2011, when the Village Board approved a map of four major courses that all go by Village Park, Zoning and Planning Administrator Casey Griffiths said.

"It's all drawing people to the village center and increasing the sense of community," Retzack said.

But Retzack said she thinks most people in Elm Grove are unaware the recommended routes exist. The map doesn't seem to be available on the village website, except in a record of meeting minutes. And while the paths are marked in the village by signs about the size of legal paper, Retzack said, the print is too small to read while riding by.

This may be how some residents prefer it. At the Public Safety Committee meeting Thursday, April 10, Trustee John Domaszek said he anticipates concerns about "sign pollution" from residents. The group tabled discussion until their next meeting.

"Elm Grove historically has a problem with signage," Retzack said. "They don't like things to be overstated because there's a segment of the population that thinks it's still in the country, which is primarily why bicyclists get killed every year by cars who don't see them. Automobiles aren't looking for them and expecting to find a bicyclist coming around the corner."

Retzack said she expects to see more people biking during construction of the Zoo Interchange, and hopes her idea can work its way to the Village Board and into action by next year. With the especially narrow roads in the village, Retzack said, it will be important for bikers to use designated routes and for drivers to be reminded to look out for them.

"I think most people wouldn't feel safe enough to see their kids riding on the road, and I'd like to see that change," Retzack said.

The bike routes include Watertown Plank and Elm Grove roads; a route north through Legion Drive, Underwood River Parkway and Lilly Road; and a route west through Juneau Boulevard, Orchard Lane, Woodlawn Circle, Sunset Drive, Westover Road, Berkshire Drive and Gebhardt Road.

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