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Better planning, fewer gaps make for Safe Routes to Parks

An exercise in identifying safe ways to get to parks presented by Fox Cities Greenways generated a 10-page primer on how to achieve better recreational trail development.

About 35 municipal and regional planners, town leaders and interested residents initially met at Miron Construction’s headquarters in Fox Crossing Nov. 8 to learn what the national Safe Routes to Parks movement is all about. A $500 grant from the Community Foundation’s Environmental Stewardship Fund helped cover the cost of materials and printing the resulting report.

A dozen communities in Outagamie, Winnebago and Waupaca counties were represented. With any preordained definition, they identified these as the key parks in the region:

Outagamie County: Plamann Park, Bubolz Nature Preserve, Tellulah Park, Newton Blackmore Trail, Wiouwash Trail, Apple Creek Trail, Appleton Memorial, Erb, Arbutus and Pierce parks in Appleton, Heritage Parkway Trail in Little Chute, Kaukauna’s Heesakker Park, Island and Doyle parks in Little Chute, the CE Trail, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, Sturgeon Trail and Bamboo Bend, and Patten Park in New London.

Winnebago County: Jefferson and Smith parks in Menasha, Heckrodt Wetland Reserve, Neenah’s Memorial, Arrowhead, Riverside Park and Washington parks, Winnebago Community Park, and Menominee, Red Arrow, Old Lakeshore Golf, and South parks in Oshkosh.

Waupaca County: Hartman Creek State Park, Parfreyville Park, Swan Park, South Park, Wau-King Trail, Shambeau Park, Riverview Park, High School Forest, Learning Center Forest.

Brown County: Ashwaubay Trail, Brown County Fairgrounds, Packerland Trail, Titletown District, Fox River Trail.

East central Wisconsin offers 500 parks and other public spaces covering 6,000 acres. Some of the barriers to using these public spaces more extensively include railroad crossings, busy intersections, political boundaries and disagreements, lack of good signage and gaps, according to the report.

One of those gaps at a dangerous intersection was addressed with the help of the Community Foundation. The City of Menasha received a $9,949 Bright Idea Fund grant for the Province Terrace extension of the Paper Trail, from the intersection of U.S. 10 and State 114 to Nature’s Way.

The report makes these suggestions to make the routes to parks safer:

  • More local law enforcement.
  • “Traffic calming” techniques such as narrowed traffic lanes, center islands and speed monitoring displays
  • Coordinated design among municipalities.

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