A proposal to narrow the roadbed of Oregon Street and widen its sidewalks is one of two major street decisions that the Common Council will consider at its Aug. 8 meeting.
The other issue is whether to approve the closure of two sections of Murdock Avenue for up to 18 weeks.
On Oregon Street, the city’s Department of Public Works is planning a major overhaul of the sanitary sewer, stormwater drains and water mains that run underneath the roadway. When it puts everything back together, the city would like to have wider sidewalks.
Part of the reason is lower cost, but the city also wants to accommodate the kind of pedestrian-friendly retail and residential development it hopes will spill over from the nearby Sawdust District, where the Wisconsin Herd basketball team will start playing this fall.
The major hitch is whether to keep the street at 40 feet throughout or to widen it somewhat at the intersections of West Ninth and West South Park avenues to allow for turning lanes.
The Traffic Review Advisory Board is recommending the wider intersections while the Pedestrian and Bicycling Advisory Committee wants to maintain a uniform width.
The uniform 40-foot “configuration would result in a combined right turn and straight lane and a dedicated left turn lane,” said James Rabe, the director of public works. He is also in favor of this approach, but it will be up to the council to decide.
On Murdock, the contractor, Dorner Inc., is asking for permission to close the street completely between Algoma Boulevard and Vinland Street and between Harrison and Bowen streets.
On the western part of the project, Dorner had considered keeping one lane open during construction using flag signals, but the city staff determined that this approach would lead to big traffic backups and is recommending that a complete closure be allowed for up to six weeks.
The council will also be asked to approved the closure of the Harrison to Bowen section of Murdock for up to 18 weeks and the intersection of Murdock and Bowen for up to one week.
Photo: City staff is proposing to narrow the roadway on Oregon Street and widen the sidewalks. Copyright Miles Maguire 2017.