City moves toward a more bike-friendly Merrill
The Merrill Board of Public Works last Wednesday approved a plan for designating bicycle routes in the city. The plan has also been approved by the city’s Parks & Recreation Commission.
The designated routes include the Hwy. 64 corridor from Center Avenue to the western city limits. This would be the first phase of a four-stage project. Parks & Recreation Director Dan Wendorf said the busiest streets should be done first.
“People are already comfortable biking in quiet areas,” he said. “We want to put the route in the busy area because that’s where the points of interest are.”
The project would include striping off a bike lane and adding signage to designate the route. Wendorf said the money is already in the budget for striping the lanes.
Rob Livingston, owner of Park City Cyclery said he supported the bike route.
“There is a feeling of safety of having a designated area to ride a bike,” he said.
The project was forwarded to the Common Council for approval.
On a related topic, the board discussed placing bicycle racks in the downtown area. Alderman Rob Norton brought up the issue, suggesting that the racks could be funded through donations or business sponsorships.
Merrill resident Sharon Schmidt said she had surveyed downtown business owners and they were in favor of having bike racks. Customers are now placing their bikes against the store windows so they can keep an eye on them, she added.
“I think individuals and businesses would be willing to sponsor a bike post,” she said. Schmidt offered information on bike posts, showing the cost at less than $100 per post.