Wells should go two-way, and watch it when you turn.
Wells should go two-way, and watch it when you turn. (Photo: Jeff Sherman)

Two Downtown traffic gripes

As a passionate Downtown resident, I feel the constant need to move the neighborhood forward by providing ideas, input and implementing change.

Today, I provide two simple ideas in the form of gripes that will make our Downtown even better.

Read and react, please.

You must yield to pedestrians
If the light is green, watch the cross walk before you turn right. I see this all the time in Downtown Milwaukee. Cars zoom though green stoplights with no regard to pedestrians who have a walk sign. For our Downtown to continue to grow, its streets need to be pedestrian focused and this starts with drivers who use caution and care. And, people -- this isn't just turns on green, it's about red lights too. Stop, look and then turn. Left- and right-turns at signalized intersections have been found to be three to six times more hazardous to pedestrians mainly because drivers fail to observe or yield the right of way to pedestrians. Let's decrease this statistic.

Wells St., it's time to end your one-way existence
The City is once again moving forward in an attempt to complete the job it started several years ago, changing Wells Street -- along its entire stretch -- to a two-way street.

I believe the city has an obligation to finish what it started (it changed Wells west of 6th to two-way years ago) and to follow the Downtown Master Plan that states, "as many streets as possible be converted to two- way streets."

I also believe that one-way traffic is bad for business, bad for the Bradley Center and M&I Bank (way too confusing) and limiting for the views of The Pabst Theater and the new, taxpayer-funded City Hall renovation. Not to mention that a one-way Wells Street also will drastically limit access to the Bronze Fonz. Two-way streets work for Downtowns. Milwaukee needs to embrace them. It's time for Wells to go two-way. Learn more about one-way vs. two-way streets in this video:

 

Talkbacks

Downtowner | April 20, 2009 at 9:51 a.m. (report)

Look to Chicago for answers!

Two new efforts are afoot to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the streetand more costly for drivers who endanger walkers.

Chicago police will intensify the city's crosswalk program this week, pulling over and ticketing drivers who fail to yield to plainclothes police officers posing as pedestrians at intersections that don't have stop signs or traffic signals.

"We started out by issuing warnings last year to get the word out that it's not just a courtesy, but the law for drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks," said Kiersten Grove, pedestrian program coordinator at the Chicago Department of Transportation.

"Now police will be issuing moving-violation tickets" with fines ranging up to $500, said Grove, who is the main architect of the crosswalk-enforcement campaign.


Meanwhile, legislation pending before the state Senate would go even further, strengthening the Illinois vehicle code by requiring drivers to not only yieldbut stopwhen pedestrians are in crosswalks.

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Nuclear_Art | April 20, 2009 at 7:58 a.m. (report)

35031 As a pedestrian, I have a greater right to be in the street within a crosswalk than cars do on sidewalks. If drivers want to cruise without having to stop for lights or pedestrians, take the highway. Take it to LA and don't look back.

Jeff, I don't know where you get the funky ideas about one-way traffic. The idea that one-way streets is bad for business is someone's misguided phrase because they think one-way streets are confusing. They work fine, they don't kill babies, and they don't make businesses fail. It is nonsensical. They can be confusing for people who don't understand how to read a basic street sign, the same as the drivers that can't figure out where pedestrian crosswalks are. I like them because they get the suburban drivers out of the city more efficiently so I don't have to deal with them longer than is required.

One big benefit is that those routes that are state highways one of which is Wells St along with it's one-way twin State St both get state funding to do any roadwork. Once they get both turned into two-ways one is going to lose that designation and funding. Guess who is going to foot the bill for any future work? Suburban commuters who get easily confused?? Uh-uh, chico escuela. It's going to be those businesses who say they aren't making any money because the streets are one-way. How shortsighted.

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ndf2 | April 17, 2009 at 5:45 p.m. (report)

34437 I love when I'm crossing Prospect with the walk light and get honked at by the drivers turning north from eastbound Brady. That next to a sign that says something like "drivers turning left, pedestrians have the right of way."

Also, what's the deal with those mid-street non-traffic-light pedestrian crosswalks with signage and markers in the middle of the road (on Brady, for example) that some cars stop for, some keep driving, some pedestrians throw themselves out into traffic. Why does it seem like we only follow those rules in the summer and don't in the winter? Confusing (both as a pedestrian and driver).

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funhouse | April 17, 2009 at 9:34 a.m. (report)

agreed on both!

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curlyboy1978 | April 16, 2009 at 10:15 p.m. (report)

Pls apply this article to locations on the eastside, Bayview, and Shorewood!!

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