Stevens Point Transportation Academy: Final class!

This week we wrapped up the Community Transportation Academy in Stevens Point with final project presentations from a number of participants. We welcomed a number of special guests from city government and the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point – the Mayor, several alders, a county board member, the director of Public Works, a land use specialist from the Center for Land Use Education, to name a few – to view the presentations and respond with comments and questions. Afterward, we celebrated with snacks and cake! It was a great time.

Students In Class
Academy participants and special guests watch a presentation

There were six final project presentations covering the following topics:

#1 – Sidewalk Extension on Maria Dr.

Madison Elementary School has approximately 350 students, nearly a third of which walk or bike to school every day, but a critical section of the route is missing a sidewalk, forcing pedestrians and bicyclists into the street at drop-off and pick-up time. Presenters Rich Sweet and Trevor Roark propose completing the sidewalk as soon as possible.

Rich and Trevor presenting
Rich and Trevor begin their presentation in front of a projection screen

#2Walkability and Crosswalks on Division St.

UWSP students Anna Menominee and Jack Orlando walk on Division St. every day to get to campus. They propose a number of improvements for safety and aesthetics such as countdown timers at signaled crossings, street trees, bike lanes, and pedestrian islands in the medians.

Anna and Jack present
Anna and Jack present to the audience

#3 Installing a Roundabout at Division St. and 4th Ave The City of Stevens Point is exploring the possibility of replacing the signaled intersection with a roundabout, but several people have brought up concerns about the volume of pedestrian traffic and proximity to campus. Lawrence Leviton presented evidence from WisDOT and examples from other universities around the country who have successfully installed roundabouts.

Graphic illustrating conflicts in different intersection types

#4 – Clearing Curb Cuts of Snow and Ice

Stevens Point averages 40-50” of snow annually, and snow cover typically lasts from December-March. When snow is not cleared from curb cuts, it is a serious impediment to pedestrians of all levels of fitness and ability, in particular people using strollers, walkers, wheelchairs or other devices. Michael O’Meara and Nena Fisher propose that the municipality should take on the responsibility of clearing curb cubs after every snowfall.

Image used to illustrate importance of clearing pedestrian ways of snow
Image used to illustrate importance of clearing pedestrian ways of snow

#5 – Riverfront Path Winter Clearing

The Riverfront path runs about three-quarters of a mile from Bukolt Park to the Clark St. bridge crossing. Currently, the city does not clear the path of snow in winter. Presenters Amy Kowalski and Trevor Roark argue that making the path accessible in the winter months would be in line with policies of other riverfront cities such as La Crosse and Eau Claire, as well as open up opportunities for winter placemaking, snow art, and more.

Image: example of a snow sculpture by a local artist
Image: example of a snow sculpture by a local artist

#6Removing Costly Parking Mandates

Building and maintaining parking spaces is expensive and a waste of valuable land, according to Trevor Roark, who proposes that the City of Stevens Point should eliminate minimum parking in its ordinances.

Trevor explains to the class that parking mandates are expensive and unnecessary
Trevor explains to the class that parking mandates are expensive and unnecessary

Thank yous!

  • To Adam Kuhn, Planning and Zoning Administrator, for helping lay the groundwork for the Academy, for connecting with alders and commission members, and for helping recruit speakers and plan locally relevant topics
  • To Trevor Roark, for inquiring about bringing the Academy to Stevens Point in the first place, for recruiting participants from the community, and for his ongoing advocacy on behalf of the residents of Stevens Point
  • To Becky Roberts, for helping plan and facilitate the Academy, for working with UWSP facilities and catering, for moving through university bureaucracy to make sure the course was available for credit for UWSP students
  • To all the participants for showing up, sharing your knowledge and experience, and contributing to class discussion online and face-to-face.
  • We could not have done this without you!
Stevens Point class participants posing for a group photo
Stevens Point class participants group photo

Stevens Point is a special place. Throughout the ten weeks of the Academy, it has been abundantly clear how passionate people are about their community. The time flew by, and it’s hard to believe the Academy is over already. At the end of last night’s session, someone asked me (Susan) what my favorite part was. It was easy to answer: getting to know the people and community of Stevens Point. Every time I traveled there I got to know at least one person better, and every class I learned something new.

We are in the early stages of planning another Academy for early 2024, and we’ll be ready to make an announcement soon!