top of page
Biking in Sheboygan
Sheboygan logo

Why Sheboygan Stands Out

Change is afoot in the City of Sheboygan, shaping the way people get from place to place. Much of the energy comes from local neighborhood associations, in partnership with the city. The Mayor’s Neighborhood Leadership Cabinet provides a forum, as well as grant funding opportunities, to discuss and plan changes that create vibrant, active places. According to city planner Nancy Maring, “These associations flourish when there are projects that bring people together.” The groups have worked on many initiatives that spark outdoor activity, like park improvements, trail and adopt-a-park initiatives, and placemaking efforts. Adding to that momentum, local economic development stakeholders have advanced walkable downtown improvements, and partners involved in healthy aging issues are making improvements that earned an AARP Age Friendly Community Designation. Synergy among the initiatives has created an emerging new vitality in Sheboygan. For this reason Senior Activity Center Commission member Jeanne Bogardus notes, “I pat myself on the back for having the foresight to move here from the San Francisco Bay Area.”  

Major county-level infrastructure investments also helped to set the stage for success. In 2005, Sheboygan County received a $25 Million federal grant from the Non-Motorized Pilot Program to develop a network of off-road paved paths that connect neighborhoods, retail centers, schools, recreation amenities, and employment centers. Thanks to the city’s collaboration on the pilot program, new trail systems traverse Sheboygan and connect many destinations with employment centers and cultural enrichment opportunities. It has also also sparked new trail network investments; for example, a North-South trail constructed through the federal investment is included in the city budget for expansion across the entire city. Now that residents have experienced its benefits, they embrace a robust trail system and eagerly wonder when the extension will be complete. Sheboygan provides a regional example of the power that large scale infrastructure investment can have on reshaping the physical and cultural landscape around walking and biking.

With more walkable places being created, Sheboygan neighbors feel more encouraged to walk and bike. The shift is visible. “I started walking to work 5 years ago and it was unusual back then,” said Nancy Maring, “but now you see it more and more.” Sheboygan continues its progress each day, and we’re excited to see what the next year brings!

Approach to Equity

Sheboygan just became an Age-Friendly Community, and has a commitment and multiple practices to address access to mobility and quality of life through a lense of older residents.

They are also excited to be part of the learning network with WI Active Together Communities who are all working to increase their capacity and expand partnerships to center equity and inclusion.

Strategy Action Snapshot

Local Action Strategies

  • One-time Community building walks or rides (e.g., Slow Roll, Bike Rendezvous, etc.)

  • ​Walk to School day/week (October)​

  • Bike week (June)​

  • Bike to Work Day or AHA’s National Walking Day​

  • Bike donation or bike swap event  ​

  • Safety education campaigns​

  • Regular weekly or monthly community building rides or walks​

  • Bicycle benefits program with local retailers (e.g., bike bingo)​

  • “Stop for your Neighbor” walking education campaigns

  • ​Weekly/Monthly travel training or transit club events (trips to farmer’s market using alternative transportation)

  • ​Create simple community walking loops / trails with signage

  • ​Installing bike racks and/or fix-it stations​

  • Place physical walking/biking route maps in the community​

  • Build a better bus stop (bus stop design contests)​

Planning to do:

  • ​Open Streets event(s)​

  • Share and Be Aware classes and rides​

  • Participation in the National Bike Challenge or the APHA Billion Steps campaign. Encourage individuals, teams, schools and/or worksites to sign up.  ​

  • Conduct a community walk audit​

  • Cycle Without Age programs​

  • “Walk Your City” signage or paint on sidewalks for routes that connects people to destinations​

  • Community Bike Share

Community Engagement Strategies

  • Pop-up sidewalk, protected bike lane or bike boulevard​

  • Pop-up visible crosswalks​

  • Pop-up traffic calming​

  • Pop-up directional signage or maps network. Include transit stops in network​

  • Pop up art at local ‘activity hubs’ like main streets, schools, bus stops, senior centers, etc.​

  • Create supporter email lists​

  • Grassroots education (potential topics: economic benefits, trips under 2 miles, Stop for your Neighbor)​

  • Local official education (e.g., meetings, 1-pagers, walk/bike/ride transit with your mayor)​

  • Collect walk/bike transit/transportation rider’s stories​

  • Participatory public art​

Planning to do: ​

  • First mile/last mile connections demos to show safe walking connections to transit stops​

  • Local Bike Walk Civics Course​

  • Walking meetings with municipal leaders/legislators or office hours on the bus​

  • Participatory photo mapping/photovoice. (recommendation: focus on project areas most impacted by lack of access to active transportation)  ​

  • Community walk audit  

Community Impact

  • Apply for walk / bike friendly designation  ​

  • Establish a Bike/Ped Committee or Safe Routes to School Task Force​

  • Adopt a Bike/Ped Plan​

  • Create a Safe Routes to School Plan  ​

  • Serve as a mentor to other communities​

  • Attend a statewide conference /summit on active transportation​

  • Establish consistent Wayfinding Signage​

  • Establish model workplace policies with large local employers (e.g., local government, private businesses) (ex.: bike racks, showers, incentives for walking or biking to work)​

  • Connect trails across city or county lines in bicycle and pedestrian plans​

  • Support leadership development opportunities / leadership roles with individuals in underrepresented communities / those that lack access to active transportation​

  • Local Safe Routes to School policy / funding

Planning to do:

  • Adopt a health equity resolution

How to Help

Where they would like support or resources

  • Tips for navigating perspectives from competing interests groups

bottom of page