All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Friday, July 07, 2006

Did the engineer mean "house" or just "shelter"?

Do you ever notice that when it is time to replace your roof, you start noticing roofs wherever you go? You take note of the attractive, the ugly, the old, etc. They were all there before, but now because you are replacing yours, you become aware.

Well, I have been noticing medians. Because the City is insisting that the median width be 24’ wide for the Calhoun South neighborhood, I started to take note of other similar streets and their median widths. Keep in mind that the majority of the area slated for this improvement is older residential with the front of the property facing the road. Every increase in roadway width encroaches closer to these residences front doors! I believe every effort should be made to reduce the impact on these homes, not increase the impact.

At the recent open house, engineers stated that the 24’ median was necessary to “shelter” turning cars. Sheltering is the engineering term for staying out of traffic while you wait to make your turn or cross the remaining half of the roadway. So, just how wide is a 24 foot median? Wide enough to place a 2 car garage on! That is right. 24’ is wider than my roomy 2 car garage. We could not only shelter a vehicle in that median space; we could house 2 vehicles there! My PT Cruiser and Grand Carivan minivan are only 14' and 16.5' in length; why so wide? This is OVERKILL.

For the past month I have traveled from Sunnyslope Rd. to Waukesha on Greenfield Avenue (WIS 59) twice a day between 4 and 6pm. Daily I was struck with the fact that the sections of Calhoun Road under consideration, currently a 25mph residential street south of the freeway and the 35mph section north of I-94, will become wider roadways under the proposed plan than they are on the recently renovated Highway 59. The median on the highway is 18’ wide. If this is enough width for a state highway, surely Calhoun Rd. does not need to be wider. The median is only 14’ in the small divided section of Calhoun near Greenfield—isn’t that enough?

The neighborhood south of the interstate should not have to live with an increase in speed limit to 35mph either. The perception of the road being the same width as some interstates will have a detrimental affect on speed limit--encouraging people to speed there more--once the road changes are made. Studies have been done that affirm this: people gauge their speed not according to limit signs, but to their perception of what kind of road it is. Since it as wide as a highway; they drive like they are on the highway. We already see speeding of 45mph+ on the newly completed Calhoun section. Most Brookfield residents wish to preserve 25mph. Grisa did state in a reply to a resident’s comments that, “the City could post a lower speed if it chose to do so.”

As for the cost of a TWLTL (center turn) lane vs. the 24’ median, Grisa said, “There is additional curb and gutter for a median, but the cost for dirt and grass is minimal, while the cost for asphalt is much higher.” We know curb and gutter is not inexpensive and he does not address the cost of mowing, watering, tending plantings, and pruning trees on the medians. Adding more medians increases these continual labor needs and labor costs vs. a one time material cost for asphalt. The TWLTL also eliminates the need for incessant U turns.

Please share your thoughts and concerns with all of the aldermen. Calhoun south is just the first of many expansion projects for our 35mph streets. If they will all be facing $11million widening projects, I don’t see how our taxes can possibly remain at their present level (not tax rate/$1,000, but level). We will all pay for Calhoun for years to come in dollars; the residents near Calhoun south will pay in loss of quality of life forever. Email the aldermen.

Dan Sutton
Rick Owen
James Garvens
Steve Ponto
Mark Nelson
Gary Mahkorn
Jerry Mellone
Chris Blackburn
Mayor Jeff Speaker,
Public Works Board Members:
Rick Owen – Chairman
Ald. Steve Ponto
Ald. Mark Nelson
Ald. Christopher Blackburn
Ald. Lisa Mellone
Ald. Scott Berg, aldermanic alternate
Weed control links: garlic mustard and garlic mustard's pretty cousin, Dame's Rocket. (It can take over native areas too.) Garlic mustard should be thrown in the trash--do not compost


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