Written by Katie Rosenberg
Andy Lynch’s vision for Marathon County is simple:
Make Marathon County a more walkable and more bikeable place to live.
According to Lynch:
“In doing so, you have a lot of added benefits. It fits in well with Marathon County’s mission of being the healthiest, safest, and most prosperous county.”
Lynch is passionate about that vision and about urban planning. Two years ago, before moving to Wisconsin take a job as a Transportation Planner for Marathon County and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Lynch first consulted Google maps to check out Marathon County’s infrastructure…
“It’s divided by a river. It’s got agriculture on the outside of it. It’s got a nice gridded street network in certain areas. And the mountain — that’s cool.”
Lynch grew up in Iowa and earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduating, he worked in the Chemistry Department of the University of Iowa, managing the storeroom for a few years. It was there that he started cultivating his enthusiasm for biking and decided to channel that energy.
“At the time, I started commuting by bike and really enjoyed that. The university started the Bike Advisory Committee, and I got in on that in the first year. I got to know some of the planners there, and urban planning was always something that I kind of thought about but didn’t really know much about. But I knew that I eventually wanted to get a graduate degree.”
With encouragement from his professors, Lynch earned his master’s degree in Urban & Regional Planning, Transportation, and Land Use & Environmental Planning.
After graduating, Lynch landed in Wausau with his family, and he has wasted no time making an impact on the area. Just a few months ago, Lynch organized the “Open Streets Wausau” event.
“Ten years ago, trying to bike around this area was vastly different.”
But with help from an enthusiastic group of Open Streets volunteers, Lynch made downtown Wausau a pedestrian’s dream for a day:
A 3-mile loop closed to automobile traffic, but open to walkers, bikers, and roller skaters.
Day to day, Lynch works on a variety of transportation projects. The federal government requires that urban areas of more than 50,000 people create a Metropolitan Planning Organization to coordinate transportation projects and funds. Lynch’s department is currently in the middle of crafting a 5-year transit development plan that’s statutorily required, but he’s using it as a chance to connect with Marathon County residents about their needs. According to Lynch:
“We’re taking this as an opportunity to re-engage the community as a whole. We’re trying to find interest and support for expanding the transit system so that it’s more metro-wide and more useful to more people. We’re trying to highlight the fact that it really is an asset for our community.”
Still, he notes, the plan is not a holy grail…
It will still require funding and commitment from Marathon County municipalities, businesses, and residents. Lynch expects that plan to be finished in November.
Marathon County Board Supervisor | District 1
Katie Rosenberg is a Marathon County Board Supervisor representing District 1. She is passionate about engaging the community and is active on social media and in organizing neighborhood constituent meetings with her Wausau City Council counterpart, Alderman Pat Peckham. In her free time, you can find Katie enjoying the outdoors with her husband on bike, on roller skates, and in trail shoes. She also enjoys attending all manner of political events, traveling the world, and cooking up a mean vegetarian soup. Email Katie Rosenberg
You might also like…
- Top 10 Things You Need to Bring an “Open Streets” Event to YOUR Community
- Partnerships Build Public Safety :: Get Involved with Marathon County Crime Stoppers
- Rent a Fat Bike & Hit the Snow Trails in Marathon County
Please email our Editorial Board with your comments, suggestions, and article ideas.
And if you spot a typo or an inaccuracy, please contact us so we can fix it. Thanks!