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Action Needed: Margaret Street Speed Limit Concerns

Submitted by Editor on January 9, 2017 – 1:32 pm | Print or Email »No Comment

UPDATE 1-11-17

The City Council has delayed any decision about Margaret Street speed limit. At their business meeting on the 10th the Council decided to get more information. Therefore, a hearing and vote by the City Council will not happen until March or April. The Council has acknowledged getting many emails about this issue. The Neighborhood Association recommends we now hold off on contacting the Council about the speed until the issue is scheduled for a public hearing, to be more effective at that time. Thank you to those who contacted the Council!

Because of the delay the City Engineer’s Office was asked to put up speed signs for 25 mph; even only two, at either end of Margaret Street. The Office refused this request even though the City only recently took down the 30 mph signs when our Neighbor Jason Duba informed them that a current city ordinance specifically states the limit for Margaret has really been 25 mph for some time. At this time the City Engineers Office is recommending that the Council vote in the future to change that ordinance and raise Margaret’s speed limit to 30 mph. Our Neighborhood Association will watch this issue closely and inform our Neighbors when a public hearing is scheduled before the Council.

In the meantime, Neighbors could consider making their own signage to help the City inform drivers that the speed limit is lower than what was posted in the recent past. If Neighbors chose to do that they should bear in mind the following guidelines: Signage can be no closer to the street than the side of the sidewalk that is farthest from the street. Nothing can be posted on or in the sidewalk or blvd. You can place a sign in your yard. The maximum size of such a sign is 11 sq. ft. (the normal yard sign measures 6 sq. ft.) It will be considered an informational sign. The sign cannot look like the standard speed limit sign that the city could put up.

Our local American Family Insurance Agencies have signs available for free that tell drivers to slow down to protect children. The office on Keith Street gave us all 7 of their signs. Neighbors could check with other of their agents to get more signs.


The current, legal speed limit on Margaret Street is 25 mph. In our Neighborhood campaign to make Margaret Street safer, our intrepid Neighbor Jason Duba researched this issue and subsequently notified the City that there existed a city ordinance that specifically posted Margaret Street’s speed limit to be 25. The City Engineer’s office admitted their mistake and removed the 30 mph signage on Margaret Street but did not repost the Street with 25 mph signage.

The City Engineering staff plans to recommend to the City Council that the ordinance be changed to make Margaret Street have a speed limit of 30 mph. They plan to request this change in January. It will be up to the City Council to leave the speed as it is now, or to raise it to 30 mph.

For a year and a half EHNA has been surveying our Neighbors and urging the City to make 25 mph the long-term limit on Margaret Street. However, the City Council usually goes along with the City Engineer’s position. So, it is up to us to contact all members of our City Council to to urge them to make 25 mph the speed limit.

Go to the City’s web site to get contact info for all Councilpersons. Act now.

Will the Council listen to the City Engineer’s office (whose reasoning we question), or listen to the clear message from the majority of our Neighbors? What is a Neighborhood  Association for if not to pass on the will of the people to the Council?  Our Association has saved the City a ton of work by surveying our Neighbors. Please take a stand. Contact the Council. When this issue comes to a City Council vote, come to the hearing and following business session to support our Taking Care of Margaret Campaign.

For more information contact Jason Duba at jasonduba@gmail.com; or Eric Anderson at eem_anderson@yahoo.com; or Mark Ruddy atmarkruddy55@yahoo.com

Read up on what’s previously been going on …

Taking Care of Margaret Street

What Has Been Done to Date

For the past 14 months, the Eastside Hill Neighborhood Association Steering Committee has been looking at ways to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists on Margaret Street and reduce the amount of through-traffic traveling to and from Main St. to Brackett St. This traffic uses the neighborhood street Margaret St. as a cut-through, which it is not the intended use of the street. The most recent five-year crash data shows 66 crashes on Margaret St. (over one a month), two of which injured child pedestrians. Improving the pedestrian and cyclist ability to safely use Margaret St. and the reduction of through-traffic in the neighborhood are both mentioned numerous times in the Eastside Hill Neighborhood Plan (2007). While researching information for this process, the data regarding pedestrian injuries at impact speeds from the Federal Highway Administration in this image was the most striking data that was found.

This process has included an online survey, research on possible changes, discussions with City staff, and presentations and conversation at several neighborhood association meetings. To increase the safety along Margaret and to reduce the number of vehicles that use Margaret St. to cut through the neighborhood, the Neighborhood Association passed a resolution in September 2016. The resolution requests the following from the City:

1. Lower the speed limit on Margaret Street from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour;
2. Install stop signs on Margaret Street at Highland Avenue to make the intersection a four-way stop;
3. Install painted crosswalks on all four sides of the intersections of Margaret Street and Fenwick Avenue, Highland Avenue, and Sherwin Avenue; (Fenwick and Sherwin are Safe Routes To School corridors)
4. Narrow the travel lanes from 11 feet to 10 feet;
5. Install bicycle shared lane markings, “sharrows,” along the length of Margaret Street; and
6. Work with EHNA to provide boulevard plants on Margaret Street to be beautification, but, more importantly, be part of “traffic calming”, slowing down traffic.

These requests were widely supported in the online survey:

1. 71% supported a speed limit under 30mph.
2. 60% supported four-way stop at Margaret. 15% were neutral.
3. 89% supported four painted crosswalks at Highland. 90% supported four painted crosswalks at Fenwick and Sherwin.
5. 45% supported sharrows. 31% were neutral.

Current Work

Margaret St. has had a posted speed limit of 30mph for at least the past eight years when the street was reconstructed. In November, it was discovered that the required ordinance to change the speed limit from the City’s default speed limit of 25mph to 30mph was never done for Margaret St. Therefore, the official speed limit of Margaret St. is 25mph, and should have been posted as 25mph. Since this discovery, the City took down the 30mph signs and now there are no speed limit signs on Margaret St.

At this time, the City is proposing to include a speed limit change of Margaret St. from 25mph to 30mph, along with several other City streets, which also did not go through the required ordinance adoption process. This proposal to increase the Margaret St. speed limit from 25mph to 30mph is in direct opposition to what is being currently requested by the Neighborhood Association and what is in the Neighborhood Plan. Per discussion with City staff, this ordinance will be going to City Council in January.

What You Can Do

If you would like the speed limit on Margaret St. to continue to be 25mph and would like the City to incorporate some or all of the Neighborhood Association requests, there are things you can do. They include:

• Contact (phone and/or email) your City Council member (Andrew Werthmann or Kathy Mitchell), both City Council members that represent the Eastside Hill Neighborhood, or all the City Council members. NOTE: Andrew Werthman is the Councilperson for most of the Eastside Hill Neighborhood, however Kathy Mitchell represents the southeast corner of the Eastside Hill Neighborhood: from the center of Altoona Avenue going south to Brackett Avenue, and from the center of Lee Street going east is represented by Kathy.

• Attend the City Council Meeting at which this will be discussed and give testimony.

City Council Members
http://www.ci.eau-claire.wi.us/government/city-council/city-council-members

Ward Map
http://www.ci.eau-claire.wi.us/home/showdocument?id=575

Read More!

Download (PDF): Speed Limits: Research and Guidance from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

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