Jeramey Jannene

Crash-Prone Walnut Street To Receive Road Diet

Rebuilding effort will add safety improvements for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

By - Aug 11th, 2021 03:51 pm
W. Walnut St. reconstruction project area. Image from the Department of Public Works.

W. Walnut St. reconstruction project area. Image from the Department of Public Works.

A joint partnership between the City of Milwaukee and Wisconsin Department of Transportation will result in W. Walnut St. being rebuilt from Interstate 43 west to N. 20th St. with an emphasis on safety.

The $5.6 million project will cover 0.6-miles of improvements to deteriorated pavement, curbs and gutters, as well as driveway approaches and sidewalk segments where necessary.

Classified as a “minor arterial” by the Department of Public Works, the street has an average daily traffic count of 13,400 vehicles. The posted speed limit is 30 miles per hour.

A focus is being placed on safety improvements as the crash rate on W. Walnut St. is higher than on similar streets. Two crashes involving pedestrians have occurred in the past five years, according to the Department of Public Works.

The street currently has painted bicycle lanes, a parking lane and two travel lanes in each direction as well as a median. The revised configuration west of N. 14th St. would remove a travel lane in each direction in favor of a bicycle path that is separated from the sidewalk and parking lane.

The section from N. 12th St. and Interstate 43 west to N. 14th St. would include two travel lanes and a turn lane in each direction, while maintaining the protected lane by using a grass terrace on each side of it.

Pedestrian-focused safety improvements include curb bumpouts being added at five intersections and raised pedestrian crossings on the side streets at four intersections

The project also includes upgrading the traffic signals at 12th, 17th and 20th. Street lights, including the underground infrastructure, will be replaced.

Sewer inlets and lateral pipes will be replaced as part of the project, but there won’t be many lead service lines to replace.

The eastern part of the street is a piece of the cleared-but-never-built Park West Freeway corridor and the remaining corridor was substantially cleared in the 1970s as part of a street widening project. The result of both efforts is that not many homes or businesses directly face the street. The most prominent property on the corridor is the Milwaukee County Transit System maintenance facility, 1525 W. Vine St., that runs along the north side of W. Walnut St. from N. 14th St. to N. 16th St.

The street straddles the Triangle and King Park neighborhoods.

Construction of the improvements would not occur until 2023. The city is required to fund 20% of the project cost.

A public meeting is planned for Aug. 17th at the House of Peace, 1702 W. Walnut St. The open house-style meeting will give attendees the opportunity to react to proposed walking, biking and driving changes. Masks are required.

More information on the project is available on the DPW project page.

Project Images

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Categories: Transportation, Weekly

2 thoughts on “Transportation: Crash-Prone Walnut Street To Receive Road Diet”

  1. Nate Holton says:

    I’d suggest also taking a look at the intersection of Fond du Lac and Walnut St. It’s unfriendly to pedestrians. Also, the left turn signal from Fond du Lac (southeast) to Walnut (east) is not prominent, and as a result, cars frequently do not go for many valuable seconds after the left turn signal turns green, which means cars further back have to wait an extra cycle before being able to turn.

  2. B says:

    Thank you for covering the nitty gritty road stuff here on Urban Milwaukee. I am excited to see raised crosswalks proliferating in the city.

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