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Alderman wants more 'complete streets'

Suggestion is tied to pending Mayfair Road project

Aug. 8, 2012

Well-designed streets do more than get motorists from point A to B, said Alderman Jason Wilke, chairman of the city's Traffic and Safety Committee.

Wilke said streets also provide walkable, bike-friendly routes, enhance a commercial district's aesthetics and make businesses want to locate nearby. To that end, on Tuesday, he called for a "complete streets" ordinance that would show a commitment to enhancing roadways throughout Wauwatosa.

The request came as the council approved an agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to improve the 1.1-mile stretch of Mayfair Road - also known as state Highway 100 - between Interstate 94 and Watertown Plank Road. The project is in preparation for the heavy traffic expected on local roads during the upcoming Zoo Interchange reconstruction project.

Not only will streets be widened and new traffic signals installed to improve the flow of vehicle traffic, but wayfinding signage and colored concrete crosswalks to increase visibility at intersections are included.

Alderman Craig Wilson asked that a resolution approving the agreement also include direction to staff work with the DOT on options to improve the northern stretch of Mayfair Road between Walnut and Hampton roads.

"This modification doesn't obligate us to spend a penny more - it's just to investigate costs and options," Wilson said.

A group of stakeholders from the city, county, state and local businesses and organizations met to discuss Community Sensitive Solutions that would improve the safety and appearance of the corridor off the Zoo Freeway.

However, there was frustration expressed by council members that the same process wasn't conducted for the northern portion of Mayfair Road, Public Works Director Bill Porter said.

DOT officials said the northern section - some of which is finished or nearly complete - was a road rehabilitation and as such didn't warrant the Community Sensitive Solutions process.

The colored crosswalks and other improvements will be installed by the DOT at Bluemound Road, Wisconsin Avenue and Watertown Plank Road. But that means those intersections will look different than the six to the north.

The section of Mayfair Road between Burleigh Street to Hampton Avenue is scheduled for rehab in 2014, which means the city has 2013 to plan for enhancements to that stretch as well as retrofitting roadway from Walnut to Burleigh streets, Porter said.

The city roadway should look consistent from the south gateway at Interstate 94 to the north gateway at Hampton Avenue, Alderman Brian Ewerdt said.

"Let's all just make sure we stay on top of it," he said.

Spending money to improve the Mayfair corridor could pay off in the form of development, Alderman Joel Tilleson said.

"If we want to attract high-end development and expand our tax base, then we need to invest in our infrastructure in ways that distinguish us from our neighbors," he said.

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