Residents hope pedestrian lane will spare them sidewalks

Contingent living on Hales Trail pitches idea of designated walking area on road instead of walkways they fought
Ozaukee Press staff

Residents living along Hales Trail in the City of Port Washington asked the Board of Public Works Tuesday to consider installing a pedestrian lane on the west side of their street rather than sidewalks.

The pedestrian lane around Upper Lake Park should be improved and linked to the Hales Trail path, creating a loop from downtown along the bike path to Hales Trail, the park and back downtown, they said.

This will not only improve safety in the area, they said, it would also be cost effective and retain the character of their neighborhood.

“Our neighborhood has a bit of uniqueness no other neighborhood has,” Ken Jensen, 915 Hales Trail, said. “We ask that the committee think about this (proposal).”

The area, he added, has existed for decades without sidewalks.

“Why do we need them now?” he asked. “Having a pedestrian lane would meet a lot of the needs.”

Tom Urban, 1002 Hales Trail, read a letter outlining the pedestrian path proposal that he said represents the consensus of the 19 homeowners who live on Hales Trail.

The letter is a response to the Common Council’s decision last year to install sidewalks along Hales Trail in 2019. It’s an idea that’s been broached numerous times, with property owners arguing that sidewalks would be unsightly in an area designed without them and others arguing they are a needed amenity for pedestrians walking to Upper Lake Park.

The residents’ letter argues that existing sidewalks on Whitefish Road and Hales Trail east of the city’s bike path are too narrow for pedestrians, noting adults cannot walk side-by-side or children walk alongside a parent with a stroller. Bikes cannot use sidewalks, they state, because it’s against the law.

In order to install sidewalks, they said, the crossing at the ravine needs to be widened and reinforced.

Safety from the bike path to the park hasn’t been a safety or traffic problem, they said, adding pedestrians in groups and families with children on bikes are used to traversing the road.

A dedicated pedestrian lane on the west side of Hales Trail that could be used by bicyclists as well would be an option, they said, adding there would be enough street parking on the east side of the street to accommodate residents and their guests.

The path would not cross traffic, they said, even through Upper Lake Park, making it a safe option.

They suggested the loop that would be created from downtown to Hales Trail to the park and back be named after the late Vern Arendt, whose photographs in Ozaukee Press “so avidly served the city, enjoyed nature and wildlife” and lived in the area.

A pedestrian lane, the neighbors said, would maintain the park-like vision for the area and allow people to walk together to and from the park.

Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said that although the council approved sidewalks on Hales Trail last year, they have not yet been designed.

The issue of sidewalks along the street will be discussed by the board when it meets on April 9, he said.


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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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