Officials hope to make Wisconsin city more bike-friendly

JANESVILLE — A southern Wisconsin city is working toward becoming a more bike-friendly community.

Janesville officials plan to create bike corridors that will connect the city’s east and west sides, the Janesville Gazette reported. The city also plans to add bike lanes along Court Street, and officials have applied for grants to connect off-road trails for cyclists and pedestrians.

The city recently honored two local businesses for their efforts in promoting the bicycling community.

Officials hope to boost the quality of life in the city, said Terry Nolan, coordinator of the Janesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The city has also applied to be recognized as a bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists. The league will examine the city’s infrastructure, enforcement, education and plans related to the bicycling community.

“Being able to say you’re bicycle friendly, it means a lot, especially when you’re trying to attract new people to the community,” said Paul Murphy, Janesville Velo Club president. “Being bike friendly isn’t just bikes. It means your community is safe for pedestrians; it’s safe to drive. It means your community has a very high quality of life.”

As part of the application process, the city recognized two businesses for being welcoming to cyclists: Keeper Bait & Tackle and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Janesville.

Keeper Bait and Tackle allows bicyclists to use an air pump and other tools for free and has convenient bike parking. The group also helped raise money for a park pavilion near a trail along the Monterey Dam.

The hospital sponsors the Janesville Velo Club’s Go Slow bike ride and gave the Rock Trail Coalition a $5,000 grant to create a trail map of Rock County, where Janesville is located. It also created a trail from its property to a bike rack near the emergency room entrance.