City Wins Grant to Improve Oklahoma Ave.
Plan calls for safety improvements on stretch that had 445 crashes in 5 years.
The Department of Public Works secured a $842,814 grant to improve “multimodal safety, connectivity and comfort” along a 1.5-mile stretch of W. Oklahoma Ave. on the city’s South Side that saw 445 crashes in a five-year period.
The grant, awarded by the state Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) fund, will support the creation of new pedestrian crossing islands, curb extensions, bus bulbs, crosswalk markings, lane striping changes, buffered or protected bike lanes and signage.
The improvements will target the stretch of S. Oklahoma Ave. from S. 6th St. to S. 27th St. that currently includes six signalized intersections.
Building on the city’s Complete Streets policy, the effort has the goal to “make the street safer and more comfortable for everyone, whether they are walking, biking, taking transit or driving.” That includes slowing vehicle speeds to a level closer to the speed limit.
From 2014 through 2018 there were 445 crashes and 206 injuries or fatalities in the corridor. Traffic volumes range from 14,000 to 23,000 vehicles per day going east to west.
The grant application says 8,000 residents and 11,000 jobs are located within a quarter mile of the street.
The street varies in width from 56-feet to 84-feet wide and has two lanes of traffic in each direction with a mixture of parking lanes and turning lanes.
The city’s 2019-approved pedestrian plan identified the stretch of W. Oklahoma Ave. from S. 14th St. to S. 27th St. as part of the high-injury network of streets on the city’s South Side.
The city is also seeking to improve the Crisol Corridor along S. 13th St. that intersects with W. Oklahoma Ave. Rapid implementation traffic calming strategies, notably plastic bollards, were implemented on that stretch as well as E. Oklahoma Ave. this summer
Under terms of the state grant, the city is required to provide a 20 percent match for funding of the improvements. The Common Council endorsed the application for the grant in March.
It is one of two TAP grants the city secured this fall; the other is for a new bike trail along N. 20th St.
The federally-funded TAP grant program is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
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