Jeramey Jannene

City Will Rebuild Sherman Boulevard, Plans Traffic Calming Improvements

Four-lane road, site of many crashes, could be narrowed or reconfigured.

By - Feb 17th, 2023 01:21 pm
Members of the Milwaukee Fire Department respond to a multi-vehicle crash on N. Sherman Blvd. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Members of the Milwaukee Fire Department respond to a multi-vehicle crash on N. Sherman Blvd. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

One of Milwaukee’s major north-south roadways will be completely reconstructed, potentially with a number of safety-focused improvements.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) is pursuing the reconstruction of N. Sherman Blvd. from W. Capitol Dr. south to W. North Ave. That includes the portions of the four-lane street that run past Sherman Park and Washington High School.

“What’s the plan man?” asked Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II of DPW major projects manager David Tapia at Wednesday’s Public Works Committee meeting.

“We’ll go through the design process and figure that out,” said Tapia. He said a series of neighborhood meetings would be held to gather feedback. “We anticipate completing the design in the fall of 2025 and going to construction in 2026.”

Unlike many major street reconstructions in the city, Sherman Boulevard is not designated as a state highway. The move may allow the city to be more aggressive in pursuing design changes.

“We will be looking at all of the different potential alternatives,” said Tapia, ticking off a list that includes all-ages bicycle facilities, addressing reckless driving and improving pedestrian safety.

“I know this will be welcomed in the seventh aldermanic district,” said area Alderman Khalif Rainey, who represents the northern half of the corridor. Stamper not only represents the residents along the southern half of the corridor, but lives in a house along the street. The reconstruction is legally separated into two projects, but Tapia said it will be designed and constructed as one.

The stretch from W. Capitol Dr. to W. Burleigh St. is identified as part of the city’s Pedestrian High Injury Network and the segment of W. Burleigh St. that crosses the street is identified in that survey as one of the 10 most dangerous corridors. A large median is located in the middle of the street and parking lanes, often used for illegal, high-speed passing, are located on the outside.

The total project cost, including construction and engineering, is currently estimated at $22.1 million. The City of Milwaukee is expected to directly cover 20% of the cost.

The project is being funded through the federal Surface Transportation Program and routed through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Engineering design costs on the project are expected to total $2.2 million.

“The pavement is experiencing joint failures, utility cuts, widespread spalling, missing slab pieces and asphalt patches. Several intersections experience high crashes including disregard of read and rear-end left turn crashes,” says the project grant agreement. The lanes on the street are currently 12 feet wide.

Proposed improvements currently listed include street reconstruction, sidewalk replacement, new curb ramps, new signage, storm sewer upgrades and street lighting replacement. The city would be liable for the cost of any project design changes not approved by the project partners.

The committee unanimously endorsed the proposal. The full council must still approve the agreements. The council, in 2022, approved initial engineering work on the project. Tapia pledged during that initial approval cycle that traffic calming would be part of the project.

Categories: Transportation, Weekly

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