LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Two pedestrians were killed and another four seriously injured on La Crosse's city streets last year.
That's why the city is reaching out to community members to try and find ways to make the city safer for bikers and walkers.
Making the streets safe for bikers and walkers has always been important to the city, but some said it’s all about finding a balance on the roads.
Biking is a way of life for La Crosse resident Karlena Brailey.
“It's a great way to be healthy,” said Brailey. “It’s a great way to get exercise without having to spend extra time going to the gym. “It's also less expensive.”
But sometimes running errands and going to and from work and school can be a little rough.
“I have not gotten into an accident, but I feel like I’ve been nearly hit half a dozen times,” said Brailey. "Downtown is very scary to bike downtown because bikes can't be on the sidewalk and they shouldn't be on the sidewalk, but there's really not a bike lane and cars are not used to sharing the lane, that limited space with bicycles.”
And La Crosse County Bike and Pedestrian coordinator Jack Zabrowski said that's not the only thing worrying bikers.
“I think just trying to figure out some way to be able to cross Losey Boulevard safely is a difficult part,” said Zabrowski. “West Avenue, we had some accidents there this last year.”
About 30 bike enthusiasts shared their concerns at today's La Crosse Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan workshop.
While many said La Crosse is a pretty bike and pedestrian-friendly city already, there are always room for improvements.
“Right now it's kind of disjointed,” said Lary Kirch, La Crosse city planner. “We have a lot of bike trails and bike lanes, were going to try through this planning process to pull all of that together.”
Kirch said some of those improvements may mean making some room on the roads.
“Like on Monitor street or even Clinton Street, there's some discussion of going from four lanes to three lanes and have bicycle lanes now on the outside,” said Kirch.
“Then you still have a center turn lane so you can still make those turns, but the traffic volume's never warranted a four-lane road to begin with.”
But for Brailey making La Crosse a more Bicycle and Pedestrian friendly city starts with good communication.
“Cars and bicycles, I think that's always an issue,” said Brailey. “They don't always get along those two communities and it's possible for us all to be safe and on the road together.”
Saturday’s workshop just focused on bicycling. There is another similar session on Monday focused on pedestrians. After that, the city will draft up a plan with input from both sessions and present it to the city council later this year.
The city will use an $87,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to help fund the future changes.