GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- City of Green Bay officials are hoping to make a big investment to make the city safer for pedestrians and bikers.
The city council approved the Safe, Walk, and Bike plan three years ago, but there hasn’t been a funding source to fully implement it.
In the past 5 years, two bikers and four pedestrians have died on Green Bay streets. Nearly 200 others suffered serious injuries, according to Green Bay traffic engineer David Hansen.
“To me that is a health crisis,” said Hansen. “That number should be zero.”
That is part of the justification city officials are using to spend $1.6 million in COVID relief funds from the American Rescue Plan to implement major parts of the Safe, Walk, and Bike plan.
“If not for ARPA dollars or some other grant funding, it would fall on city taxpayers in the form of borrowing in all likelihood,” said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich.
The money would buy 64 rectangular flashing beacon systems, like one on Webster Avenue near the hospitals. There are five of the systems currently in the city.
It would also pay for 66 blinking radar driver feedback systems to be installed near 32 schools in the city.
“Every school has been screaming and crying for more protection for their children to and from schools,” said Bill Galvin, a Green Bay alderperson.
“Communities that are growing, that are really vibrant, that are viewed as attractive destinations both for perspective employees, but also visitors are those that are supportive of bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Genrich.
City officials say Green Bay’s public school district has committed to investing $1.3 million of the $1.6 million if voters agree to it as part of a referendum this November.
There’s also hope the Oneida Nation might chip in too.
“If we go ahead and authorize this $1.6 million you’ve really taken off the table any incentive for people to be a partner because the funding is there now,” said Brian Johnson, vice president of Green Bay’s city council.
“If we’ve got to spend $1.6 million, I really haven’t seen a lot of projects that affect safety more than this does,” said Galvin.
The city’s finance committee approved spending the money. The city council has the final say and is scheduled to vote on it on June 7th.
The school district’s referendum hasn’t been finalized yet.
Overall, the district has proposed a $92.6 million plan that includes upgrades to existing buildings throughout the district.