Perry Parkway intersection

The South Perry Parkway and Janesville Street intersection should receive traffic signals with a right turn lane, a three-month village evaluation found. The evaluation is in response to community concerns about pedestrian safety that mounted last fall, when two people were almost struck by two vehicles in separate incidents.

Signalizing the Perry Parkway and Janesville Street intersection might be a feasible option for improving traffic problems, a village evaluation has concluded.

Some Oregon residents are likely happy to hear that, though how the village will fund it has yet to be determined.

A three-month traffic and signal analysis through SRF Consulting Group, which the Village of Oregon posted on its website Wednesday, March 4, looked into, among other things, crash data spanning the last five years at the intersection. It also explored four improvement options, concluding the best would be traffic signals and an added right-turn lane.

Village Board trustees planned to discuss the study at their Monday, March 16, meeting, village president Jeanne Carpenter and village administrator Mike Gracz told the Observer in an email Sunday, March 8.

But those plans have changed since COVID-19 virus cases in Wisconsin have risen to 19, the Department of Health Services confirmed Friday, March 13. Mitigating the novel respiratory illness, which originated in China in early December, is a village priority for now.

Public works director Jeff Rau is expected to devise a recommendation for board review, based on the study’s findings and suggestions, once it is again on the docket for discussion.

The increasingly busy intersection gained the attention of local law enforcement and government officials last October, after pedestrians were almost struck by vehicles in incidents at two separate crosswalks along Perry Parkway.

In response to community pressure, the village voted in November to spend up to $6,500 on the Intersection Control Evaluation (ICE) Study of Janesville Street and South Perry Parkway. The intersection became much busier after the village linked South Perry and North Perry in 2018, providing a direct path from Oregon High School to Janesville Street.

Overall, the consultant concluded, younger motorists are having difficulty traveling through the intersection and the village should develop a plan to assist them.

In Rau’s executive summary of the ICE study, he indicates four options for upgrading the intersection: going from a two-way stop to four-way stop, installing a single-lane roundabout, adding traffic signals with no other physical street improvements, and adding traffic signals with a right turn lane on South Perry Parkway, along with a northbound right turn lane.

The consultant determined that from an operations and cost effectiveness standpoint, either a traffic signal with a northbound right-turn lane or a roundabout would be the preferred routes, though a roundabout would have higher construction costs.

Board trustees already had concurred last fall that installing a roundabout wouldn’t be feasible, considering all the construction projects the village is already undergoing.

Possible fixes

Signalizing with the right-turn lane could happen with minimal traffic impacts, the memo states.

But it suggests the village coordinate with the Dane County Highway Department to understand its requirements for considering a traffic signal there.

Intersection visibility should be improved, the study determined, to allow South Perry Parkway motorists a better vision of Janesville Street. It recommends removing any obstructions that might block a motorist’s view.

It also notes that as drivers leave the Wolfe Street intersection, there are no lane pavement markings or signage on the westbound lanes of Janesville Street. Based on that, the consultant recommends converting Janesville Street westbound to a signal lane.

The consultant also recommends putting advanced warning signs on Janesville Street to alert drivers of the upcoming intersection, as well as refreshing painted crosswalks, installing pavement word or symbol markings and pedestrian bump outs.

Analyzing crashes

The study looks back at five years of crash data, finding 14 crashes on Perry Parkway in the past five years.

Eight were caused by what the study calls inexperienced drivers – teens ages 16-18, with most involving teens between the hours of 3-6 p.m. Seven of the 14 were angle crashes, three vehicles were rear-ended, three side-swiped and one was a vehicle-pedestrian crash. Ten of the 14 resulted in property damage only.

Email Emilie Heidemann at emilie.heidemann@wcinet.com or follow her on Twitter at @HeidemannEmilie.