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Bicyclists

A pack of cyclists, in town for a diabetes awareness ride, make their way down 10th Street Thursday afternoon in La Crosse. (Rory O'Driscoll/La Crosse Tribune)

La Crosse has become the first Wisconsin city to adopt a "complete streets" ordinance for pedestrian and bicycle use.

The move, unanimously approved Thursday by the Common Council, means the city will consider ways to better accommodate walking or biking, as well as stormwater control.

The city already has begun marking bike lanes on some routes.

But most of the changes under the new Green Complete Streets ordinance will be phased in as major street repairs are done, said Dale Hexom, city public works director.

"It's not something, obviously, that's going to happen overnight," Hexom said.

Not every street is wide enough to have a bike lane, either. But having the ordinance puts alternative transportation in the discussion from the start, city planner Larry Kirch said.

"In the past, it was just, ‘We're going to rebuild this road,'" Kirch said. "Now we're trying to pull in the ideas of, while we're doing this, can we lessen the stormwater impact? Can we improve bicycle, pedestrian, physically disabled accommodations?"

La Crosse County adopted the policy in April 2011, the first county in the state to do so.

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