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City, district look to improve traffic safety near schools

Feb. 1, 2012

The city and Wauwatosa School District likely will partner on a project aimed at enhancing safety for pedestrians and motorists along streets near four public schools.

The Traffic and Safety Committee on Tuesday unanimously supported spending $26,700 - half of which would be covered by the school district - to hire consultants to investigate "short- and long-term structural solutions" in two heavy traffic zones. The first is along Center Street, the route to Wauwatosa West High School, Whitman Middle School and Eisenhower Elementary School. The second area is on 100th Street in front of Madison Elementary School.

The full Common Council must approve the contract before the study can start.

Meetings with school and police officials, on-site observations and traffic counts would be conducted. A final report with recommendations for changes is anticipated before the city starts putting together its budget for 2013, Bill Porter, city public works director, said.

Schools Superintendent Phil Ertl contacted the city in late fall to voice concerns for motorists and schoolchildren during drop-off and pick-up times. School and city officials have determined that simple solutions such as adding crossing guards or installing stop signs likely won't work in these situations, Porter said.

Alderwoman Jacqueline Jay said the money would be well-spent.

"It seems like people lose all commonsense when they go through there," she said.

Alderman Jason Wilke agreed it was time to take some action on traffic flow problems that have existed for more than 50 years outside Madison Elementary. He shared a letter from Parent-Teacher Association President Laura Dykstra that included a copy of a letter addressing the same safety concerns in 1962.

Next step

WHAT: The Common Council will decide whether to hire a consultant to look at traffic problems on Center Street in front of three schools and on 100th Street in front of Madison Elementary

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: City Hall, 7725 W. North Ave.

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