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 Village of Oregon plans to address pedestrian and vehicular safety issues at the South Perry Parkway and Janesville Street intersection next year.

The Village Board on Monday, July 13, directed its public works department to focus on short term fixes now and signalization down the road. Initial fixes could include bump outs, painting of turn lanes on South Perry Parkway and restricting the lane at Wolfe Street to left turns only, public works director Jeff Rau told the Observer in an email Tuesday, July 14.

Trustees voted to include the costs of signalizing the intersection in its 2021-2025 capital improvement plan and 2021 annual budget, based on findings from its three-month traffic and signal analysis through SRF Consulting Group. Lee Gibbs, senior traffic engineer with SRF Consulting group said that could cost roughly between $400,000 and $500,000 in a presentation to the board July 13.

To further address safety concerns for Oregon High School students who frequently traverse the intersection, Oregon Police Department chief Jennifer Pagenkopf said her staff would help educate students who attend Oregon High School about traffic and pedestrian safety.

Rau told the Observer some of the problems that caused people to bring the issue to the board in November is that two lanes of traffic are headed west, and one has the option to be a left turn lane.

“This causes two lanes of traffic to pass through the intersection and a ‘merge’ condition to exist without any signage,” he wrote. “This causes confusion and distracted drivers who are not looking for pedestrians and other vehicles.”

Rau added that exiting from South Perry Parkway can also be confusing because they face two lanes of westbound traffic.

The village voted last November to spend up to $6,500 on the Intersection Control Evaluation Study of Janesville Street and South Perry Parkway. The area became much busier after the village linked South and North Perry in 2018, providing a direct path from OHS to Janesville Street.

The village is hoping Dane County Highway Department will foot some of the signalization costs as Janesville Street is within its jurisdiction. In order for that to happen, Gibbs said the intersection had to meet certain “warrants” as outlined in the traffic analysis.

He said, based on the analysis, that traffic volumes at the intersection meet “Warrant 2” for four-hour volume and “Warrant 3” for peak hour volume conditions. But “Warrant 1” for eight hour volume criteria is not met, he said. The analysis found that safety problems occur almost exclusively during school drop off and pick up time periods among people aged 16-18.

“Typically, municipalities require warrant 1 to be met for consideration for a traffic signal,” the analysis reads. “However, the (signal warrant analysis) is a guidance, not policy. Therefore, coordination with the Dane County Highway Department … should take place to discuss this intersection and understand their policy for implementing a traffic signal at this location.”

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