Saturday, April 03, 2010

Monona Public Works Committee Considering Winnequah Road Changes

This week the Monona Public Works Committee (PWC) will be considering changes to the 5700-6300 blocks of Winnequah Road (Maywood road to Bridge Road) that were recommended by the Public Safety Commission (PSC) at its January 2010 meeting. The Public Works meeting is scheduled for 6:30 PM at the Monona City Hall, Large Conference room. For more details go here.

The proposed changes include three speed tables, additional speed limit signs, and marked crosswalks. (The PSC rejected a proposal to install additional stop signs.) Finally, the PSC recommended the removal of the existing chokers.

I have a prior commitment and cannot attend; too bad, it should be lively to say the least.


  1. Why do the residents of 'lower winnebago squaw road' get special treatment from the city? Could it be that many of the rich and powerful live on squaw bay and its close environs? How many mayors and alders(and exalders)live on this road?
    This section of winnequah road is disproportionately focused on...and altered to suit the tastes of only a few in the city.

  2. "Why do the residents of 'lower winnebago squaw road' get special treatment from the city? Could it be that many of the rich and powerful live on squaw bay and its close environs?"


    That stretch of Winnequah Road has the highest traffic volume of any residential street in the city. It also experiences more speeding than any other residential street. And we have heard from a sizable group of residents along there who want safety improved, especially for pedestrians.

  3. So why exactly are we focusing on a street that is one of the newest and most-recently renovated streets in all of Monona? Other streets have potholes, lack sidewalks, and are in a state of general disrepair (including "upper Winnequah") and yet we're going to be spending more time, more money and more precious resources on this one stretch of road. This is unbelievable.

    No, the bump outs don't work for cyclists. They have a height change that will throw a cyclist off-balance, they do not always have a straight line in / out (most require a hard right turn to get up on to them), they're not adequately cleared of snow/sand/brush/leaves/garbage cans, etc, and as I've stated many times before, they're very, very similar to sidewalks for me, and cyclists do NOT belong on sidewalks.

    However, the fact that we're going to spend time and money ripping them out seems to me a colossal waste. All of the problems that occur on that road are because of drivers not following the law; speeding, tailgating, not stopping for school buses, etc. I know that in previous sessions the police have stated that increased law enforcement carries with it increased costs, but how do they relate to the costs of a complete renovation of the road? if it will cost the city an extra $10,000 for additional enforcement, how does that compare to ripping out all of the bump-outs, resurfacing the road, speed tables, etc?

    Why can't we address the minor concerns (additional stop signs and pedestrian cross-walks) and follow that up with increased police resources on an ONGOING BASIS? Not just when we're talking about it, throughout the year? My sister used to live in Plymouth MA and learned really quickly that if a pedestrian is anywhere near a crosswalk that you had better stop and let them cross; the police would set up sting operations where someone would be standing in the crosswalk on one side of the street, and if you didn't stop you'd get a ticket. Everyone learned to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

    For school buses our old school district used to have an immediate radio call to the police if a car passed a stopped school bus. The driver would radio to the base, the base would contact the police immediately with a description of the car (and a license plate if he/she could get it) along with location and where he/she was heading. How about setting something up where a police officer could ride in the school bus and radio to a partner at the other end of the street any cars that didn't stop?

    It just seems to me that before doing more costly renovations to that one section of road, we should look into easier, simpler methods first.

  4. I disagree a little with Travis that the bump outs don't work for cyclists, but I only bike with my kids, not as a commuter. I tend to agree with Travis's points that there are other things for the City to work on, and that drivers cause the majority of the problems on Winnequah.

    For my kids and myself, we do not need to make a 'hard right' to get on them. The entrance is at an angle (which is a poor design), but only protrudes about 1 foot of the 5 foot width (or so), so if you're in the middle of the bike lane and go straight, you miss it. It is a little against a natural impulse, but not a hard right.

    I do not find the height change to be an issue either. A smooth bike lane is nicer, but the bump-outs are pretty gradual, and not do not jar my balance. Nor do they do not seem to be any more covered with leaves, dirt or trash, then the rest of the street. I don't bike in winter, and suspect he is correct with regards to the snow cover.

    I really disagree that bikes don't belong on sidewalks, and I'm glad Monona's code allows it. I assume he is talking about bikers more dedicated then myself, because I feel the safest place for my kids is farthest away from cars. I really wish Winnequah had a sidewalk for this reason. I think families on bikes can share sidewalks with foot traffic, and serious bikers can share the roadway with auto traffic. Even better would be 5 lanes for each mode and speed (walkers, runners, family bikers, commuter bikers, autos) but I realize this isn't going to happen.

    The current design is a little better to me then it was 4-5 years ago. Traffic seems about 5 mph slower (35 instead of 40), and there are painted lanes that show people "their space." I think the painted lanes did the most good. I think the bumpouts slow traffic more (to about 30), but the result is short term and people are back to 35 within a block.

    Again, I don't live on Winnequah, and only jog or bike it in the summer. The main complaints seem to be from residents and serious bikers, and I'm neither. I think my needs can work with either of these groups, but I feel their needs are a little at odds with each other. I don't have any advice on which is better to satisfy.

  5. Am I am fan of the bumpouts? No! Would I say the city should rip them out? No. My biggest beef with them is that people don't go over them on bikes but go around them. Therefore if you go down the road in the middle of summer it is an accident waiting to happen because of all the bikes swinging way out into the road. But then that brings me to my other big beef...the people who ride their bikes in packs and do it 3 across rather than in a line as if the road is just one big ole bike path.

    Since the bump outs were put in, I actually avoid that part of Monona and take alternative routes. I hate driving on that part of Winnequah because of them and how they narrow the street. I don't like to ride my bike on them either because I hate going over them on my bike for many of the reason's Travis doesn't like them. I tend to look to see if there is traffic behind me and if not, I go around them.

  6. To Anon #1 - You are correct, I'm referring to traditional road bikes (skinny tires, no suspension, drop handlebars) when I'm talking my issues with them. When you can ordinarily travel between 15-20mph, it makes the change in elevation (and steepness of the ramp) dangerous to say the least. Also, with regards to cyclists on the sidewalks, it's commonly agreed that "competent adult cyclists" should stay *off* the sidewalk. The age range that this applies differs from study to study, but most agree that somewhere around 11-12 years old kids are going fast enough (and are aware of their surroundings) that it is more dangerous to ride on sidewalks than in the street. The NHTSA feels that the age cutoff should be 10:

    The problem is that the older you get, and the faster you travel, it's more likely for you to be hit by someone pulling into or out of a driveway since they are not expecting a bicycle on a sidewalk traveling at ~10mph when the average walker is only going 3mph.

    Again, it's a suggestion, and obviously the road conditions / traffic as well as the child's ability to handle a bicycle that are the determining factors.

    But your right, the best bike lanes are the ones that have a physical barrier between you and the cars:

    Anon#2, in WI it is legal to ride 2 abreast as long as you're not holding up traffic. If traffic comes up behind you, you're supposed to move to single file and allow vehicles to pass you. I continue to ride along Winnequah since it is part of the bike loop, and I'll give a quick glance over my shoulder to see if anyone's coming up behind me in a vehicle. If not, I'll go around the bump out, and if so, I'll signal first, *then* go around the bumpout. :)

  7. I think Mr. Guifoil has a point.

    For example, why don't we have cross walks ACROSS our city where we have bus stops?

  8. You guys are doing a great job with the discussion. I'll try to post a response later, but have been short on time. I would *strongly* encourage any and all of you to appear the Public Works Committee to voice your opinions.

  9. "For example, why don't we have cross walks ACROSS our city where we have bus stops?"

    Agreed, my child was darn near hit getting to her bus stop-there is not cross walk to the bus stop and it is not on Winneq.