With mounting concerns about pedestrian safety on Perry Parkway, the Village of Oregon is looking into short and long-term solutions.
Those will be based both on data findings and feedback from the public, trustees said during a lengthy discussion Monday night at the Village Board meeting.
Possible immediate fixes include increased police presence and enforcement at the intersection of Janesville Street, crossing guards wearing more reflective garb, more crossing guards in general, additional flashing beacons, fresh paint on crosswalks where they aren’t yet striped, LED-lit stop signs and increased educational efforts.
The most feasible long-term solution might be installing stoplights at the intersection, the board determined. Discussion of a roundabout came up briefly, but members of the public and the board concurred that would be too ambitious and tedious.
The first step, trustees agreed, is conducting a traffic and warrant analysis. That could take several months, public works director Jeff Rau told the Observer in an email Tuesday, Oct. 22.
“I must always remind people that these things take time and it is important to evaluate options and make sure correct decisions are made,” Rau wrote. “One board member mentioned last evening that sometimes ‘improvements’ can actually have an adverse effect and we don’t want to create more problems with quick fixes.”
He said the village first will contact engineering firms to seek proposals for the study of the Perry Parkway intersection, which will then be brought before the Oregon Village Board for approval.
“Once released, the engineer will need to collect field data including likely a 12-hour – or longer – traffic count of the intersection,” Rau said. “There will be intersection geometry analysis completed along with likely computer modeling to see how the intersection is operating and how it would … with modifications.”
Rau said the village will direct its engineers to consider feedback and ideas brought out during Monday’s discussion. That included comments from several Oregon residents.
Mark Kading, a crossing guard who works that intersection, and his wife, Julie, said they were concerned the village has been focusing on the wrong intersection, putting $800,000 into an upgrade of Janesville and Park street.
“I don’t feel that’s acceptable because of the concern,” Julie said. “I could go on and on about all the stories – Mark almost being hit.”
Cindy Matulle, who had raised the issue to the board the week before, cited police data another resident had brought up in a letter to the Observer in August.
The letter claimed six people were hit by vehicles at the South Perry Parkway intersection over the past year, citing data from a records request to the police. An Observer records request this week showed there have been 13 accidents at the intersection since 2016 but only one in which a car hit a pedestrian.
Matulle told the board she wants the village to be concerned for the safety of its community.
Andrea Below, a Rome Corners Intermediate crossing guard and Oregon resident, said she is grateful for the improvements the village made on her turf over the summer. She hoped crossing guards at Perry Parkway would see similar results – even with more paint.
“I remember I would come home in the afternoons … I was a mess,” Below said. “You’re like an air traffic controller out there.”
Clarice Dewey, Oregon resident, said as a “non-kid” user of the intersection, she’s almost been hit crossing Janesville Street, even with the yellow lights flashing.
“I have to watch eight lanes of traffic,” she told the board.
Board members pointed to an instructional video about how to safely use a crosswalk that’s available on the village website. That can be accessed via vil.oregon.wi.us. on the home page.