Eau Claire city officials, neighbors discuss Harding Ave. change - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire city officials, neighbors discuss Harding Ave. changes

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The cones are gone from Harding Avenue, but it's just for an intermission. Improvement projects are still planned for 2018, so before the plans are paved, some community members are stepping into action.

For those wanting to take the road less traveled, Harding Avenue would probably not be it. By car, bike and foot, traffic seems to be always flowing, which is why the East Side Hill and Third Ward neighbors are taking a tour alongside city engineers and city council members to talk about the future of the busy street.

You may remember in early 2017, the city closed off access to Less and Jefferson streets and restricted Harding Avenue going up the hill to one lane. If the city decides to add a bike lane in 2018, the changes would become permanent.

As one of the main routes to downtown, Jeremy Gragert, with Share & Be Aware, said the change is needed.

"We're not gonna deserve to be a silver city from a bike friendly community standpoint unless we do projects like this where we decide to make a roadway safe for people who are biking, and people who are walking as well. If it's just focused on automobiles, then we're not going to be able to serve everyone in our community and not everyone is (going) to be safe," Gragert said.

On other side of the lane, the other big concern is traffic. The city said it has received feedback saying the changes cause too much traffic backed up during rush hour.

The city conducted an online survey about Harding Avenue. Staff said more than 400 people responded. The city expects to release the results in late October.

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