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Ask NOW: What is the purpose of Discovery Parkway?

Dec. 4, 2013

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What is the purpose of the new Discovery Parkway?

Issue: A reader wants to know more about Discovery Parkway, recently opened as a north-south road between Watertown Plank road and Swan Boulevard. He is concerned that it will be congested.

"The road doesn't seem to have been built to accommodate a high volume of traffic, and the 25 mph speed limit is slow," he said.

Status: While the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee builds out its research park facilities there, the parkway serves traffic between Watertown Plank Road and Swan Boulevard during major road construction.

City officials including Director of Public Works Bill Porter, City Engineer Bill Wehrley and Alderwoman Jill Organ said the parkway is meant to eventually serve as an access road. They noted that once construction of Innovation Drive to the west of Highway 45 is complete, scheduled to happen at the end of 2014, the parkway will fulfill that purpose.

"It's not meant to be a through-street handling higher volumes," Organ said. She said the slower speed limit and a parkway roundabout are "traffic calming" measures.

As Swan is reopened for traffic traveling west, Porter said, the intersection of Discovery Parkway and Swan Boulevard will have stop signs as an interim control.

"There has been talk about traffic signals there and there is a preference for a roundabout at that site, but that's several years out," Porter said.

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