Traffic lights at Brown and Davenport backed by committee
Four-way stop opposed at intersection
BY KEVIN BONESKE
An intersection in downtown Rhinelander where decorative concrete will be placed as part of the Streetscape project will also be regulated by traffic lights instead of a four-way stop.
The installation of traffic lights at Brown and Davenport Street, which is included in the current construction plans, was also the preference Monday of the city’s Public Works Committee.
Public works director Tim Kingman said previous traffic counts made at that intersection support having traffic lights there.
“In the future, if we wanted to change to a four-way stop, we would do a traffic study to further substantiate that it could be a four-way stop,” Kingman said. “But as it stood right now, our indicators are is that we made the right decision, and although it is a marginal case where we might be able to consider a four-way stop, the best economy is just to keep on track with what we’re doing and study it later.
“It costs more money to not (install traffic lights) and do it later than it would to do it now and change it back to a stop sign type of situation.”
Committee member Steve Sauer said he favored the traffic lights “from a comfortability point of view,” because diagonal parking on Brown Street makes it difficult for westbound vehicles on Rives Street to see traffic when crossing Brown a block north of Davenport.
“You’re really blind from the left,” Sauer said. “You’re lucky in that there’s not a lot of traffic always on the right, and everything is kind of more spread out on the right, so you don’t have to worry so much about that right, but from the left you’re really blind.”
Sauer said he favored “safety before aesthetics” and made the motion to continue with the installation of traffic lights at the intersection as previously planned. The motion passed on a voice vote.
A member of the city’s water/wastewater committee, Dawn Rog, favored a four-way stop at the intersection. She said the traffic would move faster there than with traffic lights.
“We all know that four-way stops move traffic a little bit quicker,” she said. “We can see it, obviously, at Timber and Coolidge, especially during the school year.”
Rog said motorists will travel around traffic stops with traffic lights along Davenport Street on Stevens, Brown and Courtney Street.
“It would be a lot cleaner, and traffic does flow easier, when it’s a four-way stop,” she said.
Kingman said Brown and Davenport Street will be the only intersection to have decorative concrete in the Streetscape project. He noted that material doesn’t last as long as standing concrete.
City street superintendent Tony Gilman said stamped, colored concrete also requires more maintenance.
“It will require power washing and sealing of it on an annual basis to maintain the luster, to keep that new look,” Gilman said. “It’s just like anything. It will fade over time unless it’s maintained. The cost will be determined on that, but there will be a little bit of cost for that annually.”
The full City Council last month approved a design overwhelmingly supported in online voting that called for decorative paving for both the crosswalks and bump-outs.