The fearsome Racine-Milwaukee county border

Posted by Doug Shidell, October 23rd, 2012

For years the section between 6-Mile Road in Racine County and Ryan Rd in Milwaukee was a challenge for bicyclists traveling between Chicago and Milwaukee and using bike trails (see my description of this route). A 1976 guide to Wisconsin bike routes along the entire Lake Michigan shoreline describes this as “the MOST DANGEROUS STRETCH” of the whole route. The direct route follows highway 32 which can carry quite heavy traffic. Recently the highway and its shoulders have been repaved which improved things somewhat but not enough. Between 6 Mile and 7 Mile roads, in particular, the shoulders are uncomfortably narrow. Closing of the rail crossing of 7 Mile Road as part of the expansion of the WE Energies plant added a mile to the stretch on highway 32. One can avoid highway 32 by using roads to the west but at the cost of adding a mile or two to the route.

Trail construction over the last few years has raised hopes that this gap would finally be filled. Unfortunately the result so far fall short of the need. But, with the placement of bike route signs in Racine county, the route, such as it is, appears to be semi-official. I describe it here traveling north, which has the advantage of avoiding four crossings of highway 32.

At the end of the unpaved Racine county trail at 6 mile Road, follow the new bike route signs west on 6 Mile, north on highway 32, and then east on 7 Mile to its dead end. A new unpaved trail starts there and goes north to the county line (the surface on this section is too rough for my taste; perhaps it will improve with use). At the county line, a new paved–and very nice–trail continues north to Elm Rd. Continue east on Elm, picking up a trail that loops south and then east, crossing railroad tracks through a kind of stile, and then follows a WE Energies plant road north to Oakwood Rd. Go west on Oakwood, north on Highway 32, and finally east at Ryan Rd. From there one can follow city streets to the Oak Leaf Trail in Grant Park.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News