The Ephraim Village Board voted Wednesday morning not to proceed with the multimodal path along the north end of the village. Instead, the board voted to build a 6-foot-wide pedestrian-only path. The decision came after engineers from AECOM, the engineering firm designing the path for the village, received guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) that the DOT requires a five-foot buffer between the edge of a paved shoulder and the bike lane on a rural highway.
The village determined that fitting a 10-foot wide path with a five-foot buffer would not be possible without taking property and getting construction easements for grading. Trustee Ken Nelson said the village has conceived of the project only within the right-of-way and has not consulted with property owners who are along the stretch about their willingness to participate in the project.
The board recommended moving forward with the pedestrian-only path within the right of way, and to work with the DOT to direct bikes on the shoulder with pavement markings and signage.
One issue raised in the recommendation that Nelson and Village Administrator Brent Bristol had prepared and included in the meeting packet is that Sister Bay and Liberty Grove are currently designing a potential path around the Little Sister Hill that would connect cyclists and pedestrians to the north-Ephraim path.
“We would have to do something there to stop cyclists from continuing on the pedestrian path there,” Nelson said.
In that same recommendation, Bristol and Nelson wrote that, “from a village perspective, we are building this path to serve the local trips (mainly pedestrian) between our businesses in North Ephraim.”