The project primarily involves laying down a new layer of asphalt pavement, so as to address the currently worn-out concrete surface. The project also involves adding new pedestrian curb extensions at the intersection of Edgewood and Maryland, making other intersections along Edgewood ADA compliant, and re-striping the street with a new advisory-bike-lane configuration and more prominent crosswalk markings.
While new to this area, advisory-bike-lane configurations have been added to over 70 streets in the U.S., and in some communities have successfully been in place for over 10 years. Studies indicate this type of street design contributes to traffic calming and promotes driver alertness, and in the process reduces motor vehicle collisions substantially (by somewhere between 36%-44%). The modest vehicle speed reductions associated with this type of street design makes these type of streets safer for all users, and more pleasant for residents of such streets.
By selecting this type of lane pattern and street configuration for Edgewood, the City and the Village have been able to retain the currently existing parking lanes on both sides of Edgewood (in a situation where—if they had decided to add traditional or protected bike lanes—one or both of those parking lanes would have to be eliminated in whole or part).
While successfully installed in many other U.S. cities, because advisory bike lanes are new in this area many Milwaukee-area street users (drivers, pedestrians, bike riders, etc.) have likely not previously driven on (or otherwise used) such a street before. The idea of not having a painted centerline (on a street that previously had a painted centerline), can in particular seem odd or impractical to those first hearing about this type of street design. Anticipating these concerns and to help answer residents’ questions, the City and the Village have created a website regarding this project. Also, those wanting to learn more about streets configured this way are encouraged to view one or both of these short online videos, which were created when such lanes were added to streets in Ft. Collins, CO and in Ann Arbor, MI. Reportedly, initial questions or concerns about the practicality and effectiveness of this type of street configuration recede rapidly, once users have the opportunity to learn about such streets, and actually use such streets themselves. As part of this project, once the repairs and upgrades are completed, the City and the Village will continue to be gathering information about traffic on the street, and collecting resident and user feedback, so as to evaluate whether this is a type of street design that should be continued or used on other streets.
The cost of the Edgewood Avenue project is being split 50/50 between the City and the Village, and the work is expected to be completed (weather permitting) before the end of October.