Jeramey Jannene

City Constructing 50 Traffic Calming Projects in 2023

From full reconstruction to rapid implementation test projects, DPW say it's time to build.

By - Mar 30th, 2023 08:40 pm
Pavement is stripped from E. Juneau Ave. as part of a high impact paving project in 2022. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Pavement is stripped from E. Juneau Ave. as part of a high impact paving project in 2022. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Break out the orange barrels, it’s construction season.

The Department of Public Works intends to build 50 traffic calming projects in 2023, with projects ranging from full street reconstructions to rapid implementation test projects. The projects will help with everything from eliminating potholes to making it easier and safer to cross a street.

Four major projects – W. Walnut St., W. Vliet St., W. Hampton Ave. and N. Humboldt Blvd. – include complete pavement replacement.

“This will be a very busy construction season as these four major projects are among the dozens of traffic calming projects planned citywide. These corridor projects are an example of our customized approach to traffic calming depending on the needs of each neighborhood’s residents and visitors,” said DPW Commissioner Jerrel Kruschke in a press release announcing the seasonal construction start.

“Making major streets safer and more inviting to pedestrians and bicyclists is a major priority for my administration,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “We appreciate our partners in the community, on the Common Council and at WisDOT as we work to advance these projects and improve safety for all.”

The W. Walnut St. project, which runs from Interstate 43 to N. 20th St., is just starting this year and includes a full reconstruction and conversion of the four-lane road to a two-lane street with fully-separated, protected bike lanes. The Humboldt Boulevard project through Riverwest will wrap up this year and includes a fully reconstructed street with replacement trees, curb bump-outs that shorten pedestrian crossing distances and block illegal passing and new lighting. Owing to a decision made two years ago by a prior administration, it does not include protected bike lanes.

W. Hampton Ave. will be resurfaced from N. 29th St. to N. 60th St. with bump outs added. W. Vliet St. will see a full reconstruction from N. 12th St. to N. 27th St., but owing in part to the age of the design and the timing of a federal grant, does not include protected bike lanes. It does include bump outs and the removal of parking to prevent illegal, right-hand passing (“the Milwaukee slide”).

A host of other projects will also be built from a dizzying array of funding sources.

From the council’s 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation, approximately a dozen concrete-based interventions will be built at reckless driving hot spots. The first handful of those projects were completed last year, with the primary interventions being concrete bump outs laid atop the existing roadway to block the Milwaukee Slide and shorten the vulnerable pedestrian crossing distance to high-traffic amenities like parks. Additional funding for those projects comes from the state’s ARPA grant.

The city will also implement high-impact paving projects that replace the top layer of a roadway and involve paint-based configuration with less than a week of construction time. A handful of other projects will involve concrete improvements, including on W. Fond du Lac Ave. and W. Capitol Dr. near Midtown Center, and are being funded by tax incremental financing districts.

None of the 2023 construction projects are located Downtown, with many located in the central portion of the North Side or on the Near South Side.

2023 Department of Public Works traffic calming project map. Image from DPW.

2023 Department of Public Works traffic calming project map. Image from DPW.

Categories: Transportation, Weekly

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