Wauwatosa considers how to short circuit hectic Blue Mound Road/Wisconsin Ave. shortcuts

March 13, 2013

Wauwatosa officials are considering how the city might ease the impact of traffic cutting through 103rd and 104th streets between Blue Mound Road and Wisconsin Avenue.

The Traffic and Safety Committee on Tuesday discussed a proposal from Ayres Associates to conduct a traffic calming study for the area, at an estimated cost of $7,900.

According to a memo from Public Works Director William Porter, the study would include the data collection and analysis needed for Ayres to make recommendations on traffic calming techniques that could be applied along 103rd and 104th, the main neighborhood streets that routinely experience cut-through traffic during times of congestion.

The study was approved by the Common Council on March 5, when the issue was directed back to the committee for further discussion concerning its scope.

Traffic concerns

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Considering the traffic impacts that could occur as a result of the pending Zoo Interchange reconstruction, addressing the issue of cut-through traffic has become a priority for the city. In fact, the cost of the study would be covered by Traffic Mitigation funds from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as part of the Zoo Interchange project, Porter's memo states.

Ken Voigt, senior traffic engineer for Ayres Associates, provided the committee with an overview of the study approach, which will include analyzing existing traffic volume, patterns and speeds as well as crash patterns. It would result in traffic calming recommendations based upon that data.

The recommendations would eventually be presented for neighborhood review.

"I think it's also important to … get some input from the neighborhood before we say 'yes, this is the best thing to do here,' because it affects them," Voigt said. "They live there, day in and day out. They have a more hands-on view of things that happen that we may not observe in any kind of regular pattern."

Calm approaches

Voigt said that discouraging drivers from cutting through the neighborhood could prove to be challenging, simply because it is so easy to do.

Examples of traffic calming techniques that could be considered to either deter or slow down cut-through traffic include restricting right- or left-hand turns, or installing cul de sacs or speed tables, Voigt noted in his presentation.

District 3 Alderman Greg Walz-Chojnacki, who does not serve on the committee, noted that neighbors have expressed more concern regarding the speed of cut-through traffic, as opposed to the volume.

He suggested that the study also examine traffic along 106th Street, which also has traffic issues.

Voigt said the study will consider traffic flow through the entire neighborhood as a system, with particular emphasis on 103rd and 104th streets, which provide more direct cut-through routes.

Traffic data will be collected over a period of seven days, Voigt said, and will occur sometime prior to this summer.

According to Ayres' proposal, a draft study report would be submitted to the city within 40 days of a signed agreement.


The traffic data collection outlined in the proposed study by Ayres Associates is as follows:


Hourly weekday traffic volume along 103rd and 104th streets, between Blue Mound Road and Wisconsin Avenue;


Traffic speed data along the study segments of 103rd and 104th streets;


Peak evening traffic period observations to identify the number of vehicles using 103rd and 104th streets as cut-through routes;


Consideration of information provided by the city, including relevant traffic complaints and correspondence, and current neighborhood aerial photography, street geometric dimensions and traffic controls.


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