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.

The Oregon Village Board’s examination of driver and pedestrian safety at the intersection of Perry Parkway and Janesville Street will resume Monday, July 13, after a four-month interruption.

Trustees had planned to discuss a three-month traffic and signal analysis from SRF Consulting Group at its Monday, March 16, meeting, but those plans changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public works director Jeff Rau told the Observer SRF will present its report and summarize analysis findings, which the village had posted on its website March 4. That study, which looked into crash data spanning the last five years at the intersection and explored four improvement options, concluded the best would be traffic signals and an added right-turn lane.

Rau said he anticipates the village will consider putting the cost of adding a signal into its Capital Improvement Plan either in 2021 or 2022, whenever the village and county agree to rebuild that road. He said, however, that the village should address the “de facto” right-turn lane immediately.

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. Last October, pedestrians were almost struck by vehicles in incidents at two separate crosswalks along Perry Parkway, and in November, the village voted to spend up to $6,500 on the intersection control evaluation (ICE) Study of Janesville Street and South Perry Parkway.

The consultant found safety problems “are essentially 100% (during) school drop off and pick up time periods,” Rau said, adding it was “surprising.” As a result, the village might be on its own paying for it.

“The (analysis) shows that a signalized intersection is not necessarily warranted at this time, therefore we wouldn’t expect Dane County funding for any improvement,” Rau wrote. “The Village Board will need to hear the options and may direct staff moving forward. These could include budgeting and funding for engineering design and construction of signals, evaluating potential temporary measures.”

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.

Signalizing with a right-turn lane could happen with minimal impacts, Rau pointed out in a memo last fall.

That’s especially feasible given analysis collision data, which spans five years and finds 14 crashes that have occurred at the intersection in that time.

Eight were caused by what the analysis calls “inexperienced drivers” – teens ages 16-18, with most involving that age group between 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 collisions resulted only in property damage, the most surprising part, Rau said.

“The remainder of the day, there doesn’t appear to be much of a problem,” he said. “I would agree, as I rarely have troubles at this intersection unless it is school time-related.”

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