MENASHA - Ever thought you could take a bike ride from Oshkosh to Appleton? A local group is working on plans to connect communities in Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties with recreation trails.
Living in Menasha, Bill Beachkofski would like to bike to work, but says he just doesn't feel safe.
"The roads are just very congested and very fast and I think this is probably one of the more dangerous places to commute by bike," Beachkofski told FOX 11.
And he's not the only one who feels that way.
Jason Kakatsch is with the East Central Wisconsin Planning Commission. He told us traffic accidents are all too common along biking and walking trails that run between Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties.
"There are problem areas with regards to safety or connectivity and getting back and forth between the communities," said Kakatsch.
So Kakatsch and the commission are coming up with ideas to fix those problems. One main goal is to fill in the gaps between trails in the northern Fox Cities and Oshkosh communities.
"We've been doing a lot of planning at the local level, but we really want to focus on regional connectivity," said Kakatsch.
The commission received a $150,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to do this. The planning starts with public input through meetings like the one Monday night at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley.
"Bicycle/pedestrian surveys, field surveys," said Kakatsch, explaining just a few of the ways the commission plans to gather input.
That feedback will guide planners to the areas in the trails that most need improvements.
Kakatsch told us the end result should make the region safer and more attractive to visitors.
"It's huge for tourism and there are other states that look at Wisconsin as a model for eco-tourism and the impacts of bike riding," said Kakatsch.
Beachkofski told us he's happy to help make his hobby better.
"They do seem very interested in listening to what we're saying so we'll see what happens. But I know nothing is gonna come fast and I know it's expensive so we'll be patient," said Beachkofski.
The commission hopes to have final plans in place by early 2014.
The second meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Oshkosh City Hall in Room 404 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The final meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 11 at Little Chute Village Hall from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
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