Alley in 200 Block Soon Might be a Two-Way Operation
At last night’s Board of Public Works meeting, the Board considered two-way alley operation in the 200 block west of Central Avenue.
“With the changes that were made to Second Street as part of the Green Corridor, it included the creation of a one-way street,” said Tom Turchi, City Engineer. “We have received numerous comments and questions about access to the new Burlington parking lot that is location off the alley in the 200 block on the west side of Central Avenue.”
Turchi added that drivers have expressed difficulty accessing the Burlington lot, due to the westbound one-way street on the adjacent portion of Second Street. Currently, the only way a driver could legally enter the alley was heading West on Second Street from Central, or from First Street heading south through the alley.
“One-way alleys in the downtown are necessary due to narrow widths and large delivery trucks,” he added. “Parking next to the Wenzel Family Plaza dictated moving parking west 10.5’ to create necessary room for the turning movements when vehicles are parking. This additional width added to the alley allows for a total of 28.5’ which would easily accommodate two-way traffic.”
He added that one potential limitation is the 18’ entrance to the alley.
“While this width will not accommodate two semi-trucks at the same time, it could accommodate two passenger vehicles, therefore I recommend that the alley bounded by Second Street to the north, Third Street to the south, Chestnut Avenue to the west and Central Avenue to the east be changed to allow for two-way traffic,” said Turchi. “I further recommend that the ‘Administrative Code to Traffic and Parking” be changed to reflect these recommendations.”
A motion was made by Alderman Mike Feirer, with a second by Alderman Tom Witzel to approve the change. Discussion was largely in favor of the change, with Alderman Ed Wagner expressing concerns.
“My objection is that the entranceways from both north and south are too narrow to accommodate two cars at one time. We’re going to create bottlenecks on both ends,” said Wagner. “I think this is a bad idea.”
Alderman Chris Jockheck asked about loading docks, with Turchi explaining that while there are none in this section of the alley, there are businesses receiving deliveries, but there would be room to navigate around these vehicles when necessary.
Witzel questioned what would happen if a semi were to head southbound in the alley and if this would impede traffic or parking. Turchi explained that, while possibly an issue, there is more concern currently about people using the alley now without paying attention to the one-way sign, because of the amount of movements they need to make to enter the alley from the north side.
Alleys West of Central are currently southbound for truck traffic (with the east side being northbound).
Feirer mentioned that deliveries are usually completed early in the morning and quickly.
“I honestly don’t think it’s going to be an issue, as there’s one restaurant that actually gets a Sysco truck on that street right now,” said Turchi. “Two of the store owners are the ones that contacted me about this change.”
Witzel, while willing to give the idea a try, expressed a desire to revisit the issue in the fall.
The motion was approved, with Jockheck, Witzel, Earll, and Feirer in favor, and Wagner voting no. The Common Council will vote on the item next Tuesday, February 13. If approved, a timeline for the change will be established and signage discussed.