Dave Reid

UWM Dorm Traffic, Transit & Parking Plan

By - Nov 8th, 2008 07:30 pm
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This was the third of four meetings being held to discuss Mandel Group’s proposed UWM resident hall that would be located on the former Hometown gas station site.  This meeting was held to discuss traffic, transit and parking issue connected to dorm.  Ken Voigt, Senior Traffic Engineer for Ayres & Associates Inc., gave an extensive overview of the traffic studies being conducted and the potential improvements for the North Avenue and Cambridge Avenue intersection.

The results of the traffic study indicated traffic signals at this intersection would satisfy a four hour warrant justifying the improvement, and would improve pedestrian safety.   It was explained that although one concern with installing traffic signals was that it would encourage Cambridge Avenue to become a “short cut”, the planned timing and the intersection’s offset should stop that from becoming an issue.  The plans also included, enhancing the current gateway island by adding landscaping to make it more aesthetically appealing which will have the side effect of slowing traffic entering the intersection.  Other improvements discussed included count down timers, additional on street parking and the addition of street trees.  Although curb bump outs are often a street improvement used to make an intersection more pedestrian friendly it doesn’t appear likely they will be pursued at this intersection because of its configuration.  Alderman Nik Kovac speaking about the proposed traffic signals said, “it’s not a panacea.  There are advantages and disadvantages”, though he went on to indicate that he felt the traffic signal is a good idea.

The second half of the meeting focused on student transportation options and facilities.  As had been pointed out at previous meetings UWM runs shuttle buses 24 hours a day.  These shuttles currently run at 15 minute intervals during week and 30 minute intervals during nights and weekends allowing students to come and go without personal automobiles.  Scott Peak, UWM Director of University Housing, explained that students are encouraged to not bring a car to campus and that student parking is prioritized based on need.  The number of cars per beds proposed for this dorm is essentially the same as the RiverView dorm, though there will be an addition 27 parking spots for faculty, staff, visitors, and retail business owners.  To facilitate the retail business located in the first floor of the dorm and possible visitors an additional 21 on street parking spaces will be added by widening a portion of Cambridge Avenue.

There were a few questions regarding the new traffic including, if there would be sensors in the street, what else would they do to make it safer for pedestrians, would the light flash at night, and general concerns over a change in traffic flow throughout the neighborhood.  Specifically one resident was concerned about the addition of the new traffic and how that would impact the neighborhoods further from the dorm’s location, but judging from the turnout and level of discourse the concerns proposed at the meeting were minor and items that Mandel Group could address.  In fact opposition seemed so light that when a show of hands was taken to see if there were residents living on Cambridge Avenue in attendance, no one raised a hand.

Categories: Real Estate

5 thoughts on “UWM Dorm Traffic, Transit & Parking Plan”

  1. Adam says:

    I was rather surprised that no Cambridge residents were there. I remember one showed up at the first Hometown meeting and asked a question about traffic which Mandel didn’t have a person on hand to answer, but encouraged the man to come to the traffic meeting.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Adam I was very surprised that no Cambridge residents were there myself. Of course with any project I’m sure there are still some opposed but generally I think people understand the project now and I think most everyone will be happy if they can put that stop light put in. Especially if it doesn’t change the traffic pattern, as planned.

  3. Matthew says:

    One of the benefits of the hometown site is that it is actually pretty cut off from the nearby residential. It has the bike trail to the east, north ave, and a few businesses to the south, and the river to the west. you have to go several hundred feet from the site before you get to the closest residence. Also the fact that cambridge ave doesn’t line up straight at north ave means that it doesn’t work very well as a through street.

  4. Adam says:

    I don’t think anyone’s thought of Cambridge as a through street (through to where, the paper plant?), but a lot of people were probably concerned that it’d turn into an attractive route to North Ave from Brady St. I doubt that would happen, either, even with a traffic light.

    I agree with you about the isolation being a benefit; that’s one of the reasons I thought it was the best location.

  5. Matthew says:

    In my mind I guess i was considering it a throgh street from the proposed new dorms to brady street and southward, more-so than the other way around.

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