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Study provides options for Monroe bike routes
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MONROE - The Monroe Plan Commission has heard results from studies presented by University of Wisconsin-Platteville students that propose routes for both safety and better connection within the city area.

Chelsey Heiden and Andy Szymaszek spoke before the commission Wednesday night to explain their findings and what they could mean for Monroe. Their aim was to propose a bike trail for the city that would connect the city to current trails, encourage safe riding practices and to connect residents to three points of interest: the Monroe Municipal Airport, Cadiz Springs Recreational Area and human services.

Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission Planning Program Manager Troy Maggied was present to provide more information to the commission and to suggest the city encourage the UW-Platteville students to continue their work. SWWRPC reached out to the students to conduct the research. During meetings to form a comprehensive plan for the city, residents showed a high favorability toward more bike trails and space for people to ride their bikes in Monroe.

The commission agreed a collaboration between the pair and assistant city administrator Martin Shanks would prove useful. Shanks said there has not yet been a discussion as to how they can utilize the information, but he does plan to coordinate with the creators of the study. It could be evaluated to see whether or not the city would be able to produce a more complete action plan.

"If we're looking at a comprehensive bike system in Monroe, I think that would take a bit of time," Shanks said.

Studying the feasibility of crashes and compiling information from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and other resources, Heiden and Szymaszek looked at the number of accidents, road condition, ease of travel and what attractions are available to the area. These were markers in creating the loops, with safety being the highest priority during planning.

In constructing routes, the students were also given certain requirements. They needed to avoid the restricted area, which is the main section of downtown along the square, organize travel to be as close to downtown as possible, to loop around the city, connect bike trails and to reach their three intended points of interest.

Each proposed city bike trail loops around the city on a continuous circle. One intersects with the Badger State Trail at Twining Park before following 7th Street, cutting south along 25th Avenue to meet with 17th Street. It connects to either the Badger State Trail south or stretches down around the Monroe High School along Clarno Road. It branches from there to continue north to 12th Street around the Minhas Brewery before connecting to 10th Street and eventually joining the Badger State Trail to the west before State Road 69. The other runs a similar route, deviating slightly by joining 4th Avenue West to head north and incorporating a large piece of Badger State Trail, running from Twining Park southwest until joining with Clarno Road.