City plans to keep Stanley Street four lanes
By Gene Kemmeter
Stanley Street will remain in its existing four-lane configuration for the foreseeable future from Michigan Avenue to Green Avenue, but Stanley between Fremont Street and Michigan will be changed to three lanes with a center left-turn lane.
Scott Beduhn, Stevens Point director of public works, made the recommendation Wednesday, March 28, during neighborhood presentation on Stanley Street lane reconfiguration at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Stevens Point.
Beduhn said the recommended improvements came after a study began following an October 2016 meeting where residents of the area expressed their frustration with traffic on Stanley Street.
The pavement on Stanley between Fremont and Michigan is narrower than that east of Michigan, he said, and pavement markings would delineate two lanes of traffic with a left-turn lane for both directions in the center, he said.
That would eliminate on-street parking in both blocks, he said, and bikes would share the traffic lanes with vehicles.
Moving east on Stanley, Beduhn said the existing pavement markings would remain from Michigan to Clayton Avenue and the city will evaluate the installation of a crosswalk at Clayton because data is unavailable for that prospect, but problems were reported.
The city will also maintain the existing pavement markings from Clayton to North Court, he said, while also evaluating the installation of a hybrid pedestrian beacon near Minnesota Avenue to assist pedestrians and bicyclists crossing as pedestrians get across Stanley without vehicle conflict.
Beduhn said the data from a study of the intersection indicates 4,500 vehicles in a 12-hour period, with 700 making a left turn from southbound Minnesota onto Stanley, but those numbers don’t warrant traffic signals. He said turns at Wilshire Boulevard were similar.
The hybrid pedestrian beacon would be a smaller-scale light like the one on Division Street at the Fire Station, he said, and would be pedestrian activated when necessary. The cost would be about $50,000 to $60,000 for the project, along with $30,000 to restrip the road between Fremont and Michigan.
The speed limit for most of Stanley is 35 mph, and Beduhn said speed monitoring showed an eastbound speed of 33 mph at Indiana Avenue and a westbound speed of 32 mph. “Operationally, the roadway functions as an efficient four-lane road,” he said.
Beduhn said residents had identified operational issues with the street, and he listed those as access to Stanley Street; would signals improve access by easier access at signalized intersections and platooning of vehicles through the rest of the corridor; high peak-hour traffic and traffic in general on Stanley; lack of alternate modes of transportation along the corridor; lack of sidewalks for portions of the corridor and bike accommodations; and bicycle traffic through the area would increase if dedicated bike lanes were installed.
He said safety issues included speed of traffic on Stanley; difficult and dangerous crossings for Stanley; deceiving perception of which lane traffic is in when accessing Stanley; dangerous intersections at Minnesota Avenue, Wilshire Boulevard and North Point Drive; and bike safety with operating on Stanley and its sidewalks.
The Engineering Department used a “Decision-Making Flow Chart” to evaluate the various factors, with road diet actions utilized to evaluate whether the problem could be corrected, such as with a three-lane roadway.
Beduhn said a three-lane roadway with a center left-turn lane, would have a negligible effect on potential crash reduction, pedestrian-intersection conflicts or bicycle conflicts based on the current data.
The state has proposed adding two roundabouts at the on-off ramps to Highway 66 at Interstate 39, he said, but that project has been delayed indefinitely because of highway funding issues.
This summer, a traffic signal will be installed at Green Avenue because of construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Division Street North and North Point Drive will force the closing of the Division Street interchange to 39, he said, and that will potentially help create breaks in traffic on Stanley.
However, he said, the state is also trying to determine who owns the intersection of Green Avenue at Stanley Street. The state always thought it did, he said, but is searching for the paperwork to determine that so it may want to divest of the property because Highway 66 no longer uses that land.
Most residents of the area said they supported the city’s recommendation to keep Stanley as a four-lane roadway, as well as the possibility of installing a pedestrian signal at the Minnesota intersection because that might create breaks in traffic.
Several voiced opposition to the possibility of a lane reduction due to a road diet and bicycle lanes, saying they felt there weren’t enough bikes using the route and they feared the lanes would create safety issues.
Mayor Mike Wiza said the Common Council should act on the Stanley Street project in May, and the city may add road markings to Stanley reminding motorists that bicycles can also use the roadway.