Potential changes to a northside La Crosse street worries some business owners

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Over the next couple of years, the city of La Crosse will be repaving Gillette Street on the city's northside.

"Anytime we look at doing a pavement replacement, street repair, our ordinance mandates that we look at opportunities to improve safety," said La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat.

In addition to the road repairs, the Board of Public Works has recommended adding bike lanes to the street.

Some business owners along Gillette Street are worried about what the potential changes could mean for their bottom lines.

"There's not a single person that I have spoken to that is against having bike lanes in the city. We're all for bike lanes, just this road is not safe for bikes. I don't think that there's any reason to have a bike lane on this specific street," said Track II Owner Amanda Fehr.

Kabat says adding more bike lanes is a goal for the city, and sees Gillette Street as a prime location.

"The bike lane is proposed for Gillette Street because it can take advantage of the traffic signal at Rose Street, the traffic signal at George Street and then the traffic signal there on Onalaska Avenue, right by the high school, to make those transitions and changes as safe as possible," said Kabat.

But that is not the only change proposed.

In addition to the bike lanes, the city would limit parking to only one side of the street.

"Taking away parking on one side of the street is drastically going to affect Track II and other businesses in the area," says Fehr. "We hold events every single day of the week that require tons of parking with many patrons coming in for different things. Pool, euchre, bingo."

Last month, a council member that represents the northside of La Crosse introduced a resolution that would prohibit bike lanes from being added on Gillette Street.

That resolution will be voted on during Thursday night's common council meeting.