Wausau Becoming More Accomodating for Cyclists

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The construction along Grand Avenue may be giving drivers a headache. But for cyclists like John Nowaczyk, there's good news underneath.

"I think the reconstruction, the repairing of Grand Avenue, and adding the shared bike lanes is a huge step forward," he said.

The busy street now has shared lanes, which means drivers must share the road with cyclists.

"A friend of mine rode on it the other day during rush hour, and he had no problems. Cars were giving him plenty of space," Nowaczyk said. "There's plenty of room for everyone to share the roadways if we all truly share them."

It's not just cyclists that get a benefit; the economy does too.

"There's evidence that shows that communities are able to attract more businesses," Wausau City Planner Brad Lenz said. "Smaller businesses, retailers, they seem to thrive in areas that are bicycle and pedestrian friendly."

And if riding your bicycle next to Grand Avenue traffic doesn't sound appealing, you don't have to.

"Grand Avenue is sort of unique because it is a busy street. There's not a lot of room out there to accommodate all the different users, so our ordinance is flexible. Bikes can use the street if they want, or if they feel comfortable they can still be on the sidewalks," Lenz said.

The changes on Grand Avenue are just one step to accommodate bicycle use in Wausau. The city says it plans on continuing to make the area more friendly for cyclists in the future.

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