Donges Bay Road Bike Shoulders

I sent the following update on November 25, 2016.  I am looking for input.

Friends and Neighbors:

Generally, I use these emails to notify you of the topics being considered at city meetings.  As a result of those emails, I receive a lot of helpful comments.
However, from time to time, I have written and will write to ask for specific input.  This is one of those instances.

Mequon has a variety of bike paths.  The Interurban Trail is one of our finest recreational facilities.  My wife and I have used it to ride as far as the City of Port Washington.  Similarly, the Donges Bay Road path from Wauwatosa Road to Lemke Park is heavily used by neighborhood bicyclists and walkers.  Detached paths like those provide safe alternatives to roadways.

Besides those kinds of detached paths, Mequon has spent money over the years adding five foot paved shoulders along a variety of roads.   Highland Road is a good example.  By adding those shoulders, roads become significantly wider.  The cost is significant.  However, in some instances, the cost has been defrayed by state road money.

The city will be repaving Donges Bay Road from Cedarburg Road to Wauwatosa Road.  The repaving will in all likelihood occur in 2017. The city needs to decide now if it will widen the road to add these shoulders. Because that stretch of road is already wider in that area than it is west of Wauwatosa Road, the cost will not be quite as much as it might otherwise be.  City staff estimates that the cost will be approximately $73,000.

How important is this to you?  Please let me know.  In your response, please let me know where you live.

Let me run through some of the arguments for and against spending this money and doing these wider shoulders.


  • Spending this additional money will reduce the amount of road repairs and repaving the city can do in 2017 by $73,000.  Good roads are more important to Mequon’s quality of life than wider road shoulders.
  • Presumably, if the city does this stretch of road, it will make similar expenditures for similar roads in the future, adding to overall city costs.
  • Doing this path and similar paths will either delay reconstruction of residential roads or cause the city to increase road funding.
  • Personally, I do not feel imperiled riding my bike along that stretch of road.  However, I have heard from others who feel differently.
  • While detached paths like the paths mentioned above are very safe for kids, I question whether wider shoulders like this are ever particularly safe for kids.  Some parents still would not let their kids road this route.
  • Wider roads invariably lead to people driving faster.
  • Wider roads create a more urban feel.
  • This stretch already has 2-1/2 foot shoulders.  Some people believe that more conspicuous striping of the existing shoulders would make this adequate.
  • Mequon Road already has sidewalks that can be used by bikes to get to the Interurban Trail.
  • Only a very small percentage of Mequon residents will use this kind of path.  The money could be better used to do other things (maintain the city’s roads and capital investments, maintain existing services, etc.).
  • This is not a one-time expenditure.  Wider roads mean more maintenance and plowing costs and will add to the future cost of repaving.  This one small stretch is not a big addition, but these kinds of projects have cumulative effects.


  • This project will complete the connection from the western detached paths to the Interurban Trail.
  • These shoulders will create a new way to get to the Mequon Nature Preserve.
  • Doing this now is much less expensive than trying to do it once the road has been repaved.
  • These shoulder paths will be heavily used by the residents of the new subdivisions between Wauwatosa Road and Swan Road (I do not totally understand how they will get to it).
  • These paths will be used by workers in the business park to get to and from work.
  • It is important to keep adding riding shoulders like this throughout Mequon to create a grid throughout the city.
  • These shoulder paths will provide additional ways to get to the Town Center.

Again, I would appreciate your input.  Please identify where you live when responding.

John Wirth

Mequon Common Council, District 4

9531 West Donges Bay Road

Mequon, Wisconsin 53097


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