Pedestrian and traffic safety in the area surrounding Wilson Elementary School on Glenview Avenue is a large concern for nearby residents and parents dropping their children off.
A group of about 40 people including residents, school leaders and city officials sat through a presentation in a stuffy gymnasium at the school Sept. 20 to hear the results from a recent neighborhood traffic and pedestrian safety study. While traffic engineers offered a number of suggestions to help alleviate concerns, some attendees had ideas of their own.
"This is a pretty complicated issue," said Marion Sodnik, the city's interim public works director. "There's a lot to sort through."
The study analyzed the amount of traffic and the type of vehicles that travel throughout the area on a daily basis and pointed out key recommendations for the city to pursue. On Kavanaugh Place alone (the street borders the school), an average of 1,100 vehicles travel northbound along the road daily. Of those vehicles, about 35 are delivery trucks and 33 are semi trucks. Twenty-nine percent of the traffic traveling northbound traveled over the 25 mph speed limit and about 2.5 percent of traffic exceeded 55 miles per hour.
About 490 vehicles travel southbound on Kavanaugh Place daily, including about 20 delivery trucks and 22 semi trucks.
Among the recommendations presented by Kenneth Voight, a senior traffic engineer for Ayres Associates, the architectural and engineering firm that compiled the report, were the upgrade of crosswalk markings to make them more visible, the addition of flashing diodes, the installation of medians to serve as pedestrian refuges and the restriction of right turns on red lights in some areas.
The Wauwatosa Police Department hasn't noticed a large number of traffic-related accidents in the area surrounding Wilson Elementary School but there certainly have been several "near misses," said Capt. Tim Sharpee.
Sharpee said members of the police department attended Tuesday night's meeting to hear citizen concerns about safety in the area. Moving forward, the department will send a higher number of officers to patrol the area in hopes it will deter safety hazards, he said.
Many residents offered up their own suggestions during the informational meeting with suggestions like altering traffic light patterns and installing pedestrian-activated crosswalks.
Ken Phelps was one of many residents that attended the Sept. 20 informational meeting.
"With the amount of increased traffic on Glenview in the last couple of years, it has become increasingly difficult to cross the street," he said, adding the increase in traffic can be attributed to construction and nearby medical facilities.
Some citizen suggestions, however, could be limited due to influence by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which operates Bluemound Road and Glenview Avenue, which are both state highways.
Sodnik said he finds WisDOT to be "receptive to concerns," but they are also concerned about bigger-picture issues.
"They would like to satisfy all of the people, we would like to do that," he said. "But, they try to make the whole system work and they can't sacrifice one area for the whole system."
Voight said citizen suggestions including the addition of flashing beacons on Glenview Avenue and adding crossing guards at the intersections of Bluemound Road and Wisconsin Avenue will be added to his report.
The city's transformation affairs committee will review the proposed recommendations and citizen comments during its meeting Sept. 27 at City Hall, 7725 W. North Ave. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
The city's common council will have the final vote on the recommendations.