Oak Creek votes on road, sidewalk improvements

Engineering department to explore eligibility in Federal Safe Routes program

Feb. 10, 2013

Oak Creek - The Oak Creek Common Council hit the road Tuesday, voting on multiple improvements to sidewalks, the connection of South 5th Avenue to Highway 100 and a recommendation to research the Federal Safe Routes program.

Federal Safe Routes

The Common Council voted to task the engineering department to explore the city's eligibility in the federally sponsored program, which could add or improve sidewalks and crosswalks within two miles of any school in Oak Creek. The city would pay for the redevelopment of roads along Forest Hill Avenue to the Oak Creek High School, which would be completely reimbursed by the federal government.

According to City Engineer Michael Simmons, if Oak Creek wins sponsorship, they could receive $100,000 to $110,000 for the redevelopment.

The application process occurs during even-numbered years, so if Oak Creek wins the competitive bid, they wouldn't receive funding until 2014 at the earliest.

5th Avenue connection

The council approved the engineering department's proposed connection of South 5th Avenue to Highway 100 to serve as a major access point to the proposed lakefront development. Three possible routes for the connection were proposed: a southern, northern and middle route. The engineering department recommended the middle route due to its angle of connection to the railroad and avoidance of nearby wetlands.

Due to a ruling by the railroad commissioner, the city would have to terminate Ryan Road in a cul-de-sac before its railroad connection. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation also ruled that the city research a possible roundabout connection at the proposed intersection of Ryan Road, Highway 100 and South 5th Avenue.

The council approved the proposed connection, with First District Alderman Daniel Jakubczyk voting nay.

Opposition to sidewalks along Ryan Road

Continuing to put the rubber to the road, the council voted for a request that the Wisconsin DOT conduct an absence of need study for a proposed sidewalk along the south side of Ryan Road between South 13th Street and the railroad bridge.

Ryan Road will be fully reconstructed from 27th Street to Howell Avenue by the Wisconsin DOT in 2014. The DOT is required to install bicycle lanes and a sidewalk, which has roused the ire of residents living along the south side of the road. The residents argue that not only will the sidewalks be dangerous due to heavy amounts of traffic on the three-lane road, but they would create headaches in the winter, when residents would be obligated to clear snow and ice from the over 1,500-foot length of sidewalk.

The absence of need study would determine if the space needs sidewalks. If the need is found lacking, they would be eliminated from the project.

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