improvements coming for Grant, Suburban, and Apollo
In the last year or so, several constituents have contacted me with concerns about pedestrian safety at the intersection of Grant St, Suburban Dr, and Apollo Way. It’s an unusual intersection where, depending on traffic, it can be difficult for a driver to see a pedestrian. The son of one of my neighbors was almost hit by a car (with a crossing guard right there). That same neighbor also saw a child on a bicycle hit a car who failed to stop. I also occasionally walk through that intersection on my way to and from work, and I’ve experienced vehicles who failed to yield.
The first problem is that drivers are simply not obeying the law. In Wisconsin, drivers must yield to pedestrians (Wis. Stat. § 346.23). Additionally, if a driver is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street, another car coming from behind is not allowed to pass. This intersection frequently has a “yield to pedestrians” sign in the middle of the road, and there is also a crossing guard there to assist people before and after school. But these efforts are not enough. The intersection needs more than that.
I’ve been talking to Eric Rakers, our city engineer, to see what more we can do about the issue. He’s been discussing it within our Public Works department and with our Parking and Traffic Team. Grant St is a county highway, so he’s also been working with the county to see what kinds of changes are possible to make the intersection safer.
At the November 2013 meeting of the Board of Public Works, Eric presented a recommendation to reconfigure the intersection by adding bumpouts to limit the lanes of traffic. I think the new design is a good idea. The intersection is not only tricky to drive and walk through, but it’s also tricky to redesign, and I think the new idea will work well. If you’d like to hear Eric describe the changes, watch the meeting video; his description starts at 36 minutes into the meeting.
Unfortunately, the proposed improvements are not free. They will cost about $30,000, an amount that we do not have in our 2014 city budget. So, Eric is looking at some funding options. We should be able to split the cost with the county, and there may be traffic safety grants available. If we can’t get it done this year, then we’ll need to budget for it in 2015.
Regardless of when we’ll be able to do it, it’s still good to finally have a plan in place. I’ll keep you posted.