Quite a few people living in Dodgeville work at Lands’ End, but there really isn’t a safe bicycle route connecting Lands’ End with most of Dodgeville. Right now, we basically have two choices—neither of them are very safe. You can ride down Lehner Rd. to US 18 and then ride along the south shoulder of the highway until you get up to King St., then cross the highway there (no traffic lights and a 55 mph speed limit). Or, alternatively, you can ride on the busiest street in town, N. Bequette St. (Wisconsin Hwy 23) and then follow rubblized W. Leffler St. up to King St.
There’s a large piece of farm land for sale between W. North St. and US 18, and though most of us would prefer that it remain farm land, chances are that it will someday be developed into Dodgeville’s newest residential subdivision. If and when that happens, we should put in an asphalt bike path adjacent to the new road that will almost certainly get built to connect W. Chapel St. to King St. Of course, the W. Chapel / US 18 / King St. intersection will need to have traffic signals. What a wonderful addition this bike path would be for our community!
In the meantime, it would help if Lands’ End constructed a short connector bike path from the north shoulder of US 18 just east of the Lehner Rd. intersection to Lands’ End Lane as shown below. Wisconsin DOT would need to review and approve the project, but it is likely they would be supportive of such a project given the unsafe conditions that exist today.
Another option would be to make use of the City of Dodgeville utility access road already in place on the north side of US 18, just a little west of the Lehner Rd. intersection. A connector bike path could be built to Lands’ End Lane as shown below.
While we’re on the topic of bicycles, has anyone else noticed how much worse condition the streets are in—not just in Dodgeville but everywhere—than they were, say, 40 or 50 years ago? The transverse cracking and alligator cracking on our city streets is as bad as I have ever seen, and certainly must be a major factor in why there are so few bicycle riders in our town.
Update August 17, 2018
OK, the US 18 sealcoat project from Dodgeville to Edmund gave me an opportunity to revisit a safer way to currently ride from the west side of Dodgeville to and from the Lands’ End campus.
Going to Lands’ End, the first step is to get to the intersection of W. North St. & N. Bequette St. Ride along the sidewalk on the west side of N. Bequette. down to US 18.
Cross at the crosswalk to the north side of the intersection. You can do this without getting off your bicycle as there is an easy-to-access crosswalk button and curb ramp on both sides of US 18. Just a few feet past that intersection, take the unnamed access road to the Lands’ End store (formerly Walmart) parking lot and wend your way over to Joseph St.
Head north on Joseph St. to the left turn lane at the intersection with King St. Head west on King until you get to the main entrance to the Lands’ End campus, Lands’ End Lane. You’ve arrived!
One improvement is needed for making a left turn heading home. The inductance loop underneath the pavement on Lands’ End Lane at the King St. intersection is not clearly marked nor is it able to detect bicycles (believe me, I’ve tried!). When I lived in Ames, Iowa, most controlled intersections had clearly-marked inductance loops and all you had to do was to position the middle of your bike frame above one of the corners of the loop and you would trigger the traffic light to change just like a car does. As it is now, I have to cross on a red light unless there is a car behind me that triggers the traffic light.
The most dangerous part of the journey is along the ingress and egress points for Kwik Trip #340. One improvement that could be made is to clearly mark (with painted lines and possibly signage) the sidewalk/bike route in this area. Also, the sidewalk sort of “disappears” between the south and north driveways, as you can see in the image below. Structural improvements could be made to this section to make it safer.