DOT promotes 27th Street idea in a roundabout way

Corridor could see multiple conversions featuring new design

An artistic rendering of what a three--lane roundabout would look like at at College Avenue and 27th Street.<br />

An artistic rendering of what a three--lane roundabout would look like at at College Avenue and 27th Street.
Photo By Wisconsin Department of Transportation

March 25, 2009

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will at least consider transforming up to a dozen intersections along the 27th Street corridor from traffic-light control to roundabouts.

The DOT on March 24 held a public information meeting to get feedback on the design alternative, one of several options, and to try to acquaint the public with the concepts of roundabouts.

Expanding all major signalized intersections along the six-mile stretch is also a possibility, said Vida Shaffer, DOT project manager. Additionally, the DOT could also choose to split the corridor in half, installing roundabouts north or south of that point and keeping signalized intersections on the other side; but it would not alternate between the two, she said.

One advantage to roundabouts is their potential to reduce crash statistics for the corridor, said Dennis Shook, regional communications manager.

As part of its study for the 27th Street corridor, the DOT analyzed crashes in the area from 2004 to 2006. There were 296 crashes. Of those accidents, more than 50 percent occurred at intersections, and 118 involved injuries.

According to national statistics, roundabouts have decreased crashes by 39 percent, injury crashes by 76 percent and fatalities by 90 percent, Shaffer said.

At the March 24 meeting, the DOT indicated that if a roundabout corridor is selected, roundabouts would be proposed to be built at College Avenue, Sycamore Street, Riverwood Boulevard, Rawson Avenue, NML Way, Drexel Avenue, Forest Hill Avenue, Puetz Road, Hill Top Lane, and Ryan, Oakwood and Elm roads.

Area residents aren't completely sold on the dizzying series of proposed roundabouts.

"I find them a little bit confusing and a little bit dangerous, because people don't seem to know what lane they have to be in," said Franklin resident Phyllis Runningen. "It's like there are no rules in roundabouts - at least that's how it has been for me."

Shaffer said of the residents she spoke with, about half were opposed and half in favor of roundabouts.

The decision on a preferred alternative will not be made until this fall. Reconstruction of 27th Street from College to Drexel avenues is slated for 2013. Although the DOT's recommendation will address the entire corridor, 27th Street south of Drexel will not be reconstructed for another 10 to 15 years, Shaffer said. As a separate project, that portion will be resurfaced this summer.

Julie Becker can be reached at (262) 446-6606.


WHAT: submitting feedback on the design alternatives for the 27th Street corridor

WHO: Vida Shaffer, DOT project manager

HOW: e-mail to, or mail to 141 NW Barstow St.; P.O. Box 798; Waukesha, WI 53187

MORE: The public will have another chance to comment at an informational meeting this fall, after the DOT has selected a preferred design alternative.

Do you back a plan to put roundabouts on 27th Street? Make your voice heard in our online poll.

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