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Margaret Street Resolutions Update!

Submitted by Editor on May 24, 2017 – 3:11 pm | Print or Email »No Comment

by EHNA Steering Committee member Jason Duba, photo by Richard Long

The Eastside Hill Neighborhood Association is continuing to work with the City of Eau Claire to make Margaret Street safer for everyone – people walking, biking, riding the bus, or driving. While EHNA did work with the City on Margaret when the neighborhood plan was written in 2007 and when the street was redesigned and rebuilt in 2008 and 2009, work remained to make it safe for neighbors from age 8 to 80.

The EHNA Steering Committee began this new process a year and a half ago by inviting the City’s Transportation Engineer, Leah Ness, and our City Council members, Kathy Mitchell and Andrew Werthmann to our monthly meeting to discuss Margaret Street. The basic outcomes for a safer Margaret Street would be people driving slower and fewer people cutting through the neighborhood on the street. The EHNA conducted a survey of neighbors and analyzed the conditions on the street. This meeting initiated a dialogue between the Steering Committee and the City’s engineering office, leading to crash analyses, speed studies, and traffic counts.

At the EHNA annual and semi-annual meetings in April and September of last year, Margaret Street was presented on and discussed. At the September meeting, the EHNA unanimously passed a the resolution to make Margaret Street safer through the changes in these 6 points, which are followed by an update on their status:

1. Lower the speed limit on Margaret Street from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour, which adds 19 seconds to the 1:34 travel time at 30 mph; – Complete!

2. Install stop signs on Margaret Street at Highland Avenue to make the intersection a four-way stop; – A decision to pursue this issue is on hold until we evaluate the effects of the lower speed limit. Data collected by City Engineers does not meet warrants for stop sign installation as established in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for vehicle counts and crashes. Would require City Council ordinance and a champion from City Council being supported by a concerted neighborhood campaign, which do not currently appear.

3. Install crosswalks on all four sides of the intersections of Margaret Street and Fenwick Avenue, Highland Avenue, and Sherwin Avenue; – Put off on the crosswalk committee, which is not active

4. Narrow the travel lanes from 11 feet to 10 feet; – Deemed infeasible by transportation engineer

5. Install bicycle shared lane markings, “sharrows,” along the length of Margaret Street; and – City will not support as it is not a designated bicycle route

6. Take care of plantings in the boulevard areas along Margaret Street, both for beautification and traffic calming. – We are actively working with the City on this

Success has been achieved on the speed limit with the street recently receiving new signage as a 25 mph street and new street trees coming soon. In a bit of a fortuitous surprise, it was discovered that the City Code of Ordinances had not designated Margaret as a 30 mph street, so the City merely decided to acknowledge the oversight by taking down the 30 mph signs and putting up 25 mph signs. This decision came only after significant pressure from neighbors contacting the City Council to ask that street stay at 25 mph. Our City Council members, Kathy Mitchell and Andrew Werthmann, followed up with City Engineers on this matter. Neighbors Eric Anderson, Jason Duba, and Mark Ruddy stuck with this issue for a year and a half on behalf of our Association to a good outcome.

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