DRBC members, out for a Sunday morning coffee run, discovered yesterday (11/15/09) that the Road Closed barriers have been removed from Oak Street between La Crosse and Onalaska. This
is exciting news since it gives bicyclists another paved route between North La Crosse and Onalaska. Without Oak Street, bicyclists were forced to either use the state trail or 12th Street to safely go between the two communities. While new asphalt has been laid and the bike lanes are well stripped, there is still a lot of dirt and debris in the bike lanes so use caution.
The condition of Oak Street south of the junction with Enterprise Road remains in poor condition. There are plans afoot to reconstruct this segment down to a new Cunningham Street intersection. Current plans are for 2011, if it gets funding and approval. Connecting a well paved and stripped Oak Street to the new Cunningham Street extension would greatly increase the accessibility of Oak Street. The Cunningham Street extension is slated for completion in 2010. If Kwik Trip goes ahead with their plans (approved by council with stipulations), access to Oak via Palace street may be lost before the Cunningham extension is completed, forcing bicyclists to go north on Larson Street and then back south on Enterprise to access Oak Street.
There are plans to eventually build a bike and pedestrian bridge from Oak Street westward across the railroad track that parallel Oak Street. This would allow residents in the northern parts of lacrosse to access Onalaska via Oak Street, rather than having to travel along Hwy 35 (very dangerous at this time) or requiring them to go significantly out of their way to eventually connect to Oak Street. Sadly this project has been going on for a number of years and is not moving forward quickly. Personally just getting Oak and the new Cunningham Streets completely paved and stripped would be a major improvement.
The attached map show several areas of interest around Oak street. The bright blue lines shows the resurfaced and stripped portions of Oak Street. The purple line shows the proposed bike and pedestrian bridge that will cross the railroad tracks. The red section of Palace Street has been vacated by the city and sometime in the near future will not be open to traffic. The green line from Cunningham to Oak Street is a roadway currently under construction and should be completed next year.