The City of Lake Mills was among 28 municipalities to receive funds for community transportation projects through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Transportation Alternatives Program this week, for its sidewalk program.
The projects are designed to strengthen the intermodal transportation system. Awarded projects expand travel choice, strengthen the local economy, improve the quality of life, and protect the environment by supporting non-traditional projects linked to the transportation system.
Lake Mills was awarded $432,400 for the expansion of the city’s sidewalk program. According to City Manager Steve Wilke, Lake Mills still has many sidewalk gaps in the city.
The City’s comprehensive plan states that it will provide for a broad range of land uses in a pattern that promotes efficient transportation and extension of municipal services, minimizes conflicts between uses, harmonizes complementary land uses, and preserves property values. The plan then lists the goal of creating an interconnected network of sidewalks, bicycle trails, and streets that provide a range of transportation options to city residents.
“While sidewalks exist in many parts of the Lake Mills community, there are gaps,” Wilke wrote in a memo to the Lake Mills City Council.
The Transportation Alternatives Program is a new legislative program that was authorized in 2012 by federal transportation legislation.
“Thank you to a broad coalition of representatives from across Wisconsin for helping select projects that will create safer routes to school, stronger communities and more travel options,” Craig Thompson, WisDOT Secretary-designee said. “Trails and paths not only to support many uses, they grow local economies and improve the quality of life.”
A Statewide Selection Committee reviews the applications and recommends projects for the WisDOT Secretary approval. The committee includes representatives from the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bike Federation of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Counties Association, and WisDOT.
The Transportation Alternatives Program is a reimbursement program. Local sponsors incur authorized costs and are reimbursed upon project completion. TAP is not retroactive, so costs incurred prior to authorization will not be reimbursed. All TAP projects are funded 80% federally, with a 20% local match. The minimum project cost is $50,000 for non-infrastructure and $300,000 for infrastructure projects.
During the city’s comprehensive planning process community members identified the desire to have a complete sidewalk network. The City of Lake Mills Transportation Plan 2025 incorporates a Sidewalk Plan that was adopted in August 2004 and updated in January 2005. The plan calls for the repair of existing sidewalks and retrofitting of new sidewalks in older parts of the community where sidewalks were never installed.
The city currently has 226,119 linear feet of sidewalks. Streets with sidewalks on both side total 191,073 linear feet and one-sided sidewalks total 35,046 linear feet. It is estimated that there is 149,881 linear feet of gaps within the network. The estimated cost of constructing these sidewalks at the current four-foot standard is 599,524 square feet at $3.50 a square foot is $2,100,000. The sidewalk linear footage is converted to square feet because the distance is 149,881 feet long and four feet wide.
There are four sidewalk gaps in the city that remain a priority: Topeka to East Mills Drive along Tyranena Park Road.; CP Avenue from Owen Street to Lake Street; Lake Street from East Mills Drive to Brookstone Drive and Tyranena Park Road from Elm Street to the entrance of Lake Mills Market.
The Lake Mills City Council will vote on which sidewalks will be completed at an upcoming meeting.