Public weighs in on Brackett Avenue construction project

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- "That's a huge reason why I'm here just to see it become safer," said Kate Beautun.

She does not know much about the new construction plan for Brackett Ave. but she likes to bike and wants to be able to do safely on that street.

Last spring she was in a biking accident on Brackett Ave.

"I thankfully was fine but my bike was ruined and so I would like to see some better access there," she said.

That was a recurring theme at an Eau Claire City Council public hearing on Monday night -- making sure plans for a new Brackett Avenue accommodates bikers and pedestrians.

"Bicycle and pedestrian accommodations were important to us when we started the project," said David Solberg, Eau Claire's City Engineer.

He says they have kept both drivers and bikers in mind through the whole process. There have been more than a dozen meetings and open houses for the public to give their opinions.

Solberg says some of the new features of the road will meet the needs of non-drivers.

"Increased crosswalks, bike lanes, we're adding "sharows" for on-street bike accommodations, markings; all of those features have been included on Brackett," Solberg said.

"Basically what the city is bringing forward to help pedestrians cross the road is decent," said Jeremy Gragert, a board member on the Chippewa Valley Transit Alliance.

He says while the project makes some improvements it does not go far enough for bikers and walkers moving along Brackett.

He would like to see the speed limit decreased more space for bikers and more trees and greenery to make the street livelier.

"It's the gateway to our downtown and it doesn't look pretty; I think we should think about that when we think about this route and Brackett Avenue," he said. "Maybe there's a way to make it part of a neighborhood and not as much like a highway."

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