Residents call on officials to solve Falls Rd. traffic problem

They say it’s virtually impossible for pedestrians to cross safely; police chief vows to investigate
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

 

Residents of Cedar Drive have a question for Grafton village officials — what will it take for something to be done so they can safely cross at Falls Road?

“It’s become impossible to cross safely,” Susan Katzban, 1987 Cedar Dr., told the Public Safety Committee earlier this month. “It’s like the game chicken crossing the road.”

And it’s not likely to get better anytime soon because more homes are being constructed along Falls Road and Port Washington Road, she said.

The intersection with Cedar Drive in particular is dangerous because motorists are driving on a hill, neighbors said.

“When you’re standing at the end of our street, you cannot see past 16th Avenue (one block away),” Deanne Gehrke, 1976 Cedar Dr., said. “You can’t see.”

Gehrke said that several years ago the crosswalks were painted but they have since faded, and warning signs were installed at one point.

“They were put behind the trees coming down the hill,” she said.

Katzban noted that last year the village said it would place a warning sign in the road to increase awareness of pedestrians.

“It hasn’t shown up,” she said.

Motorists don’t always honor the crosswalks, Gehrke said.

“Some cars will stop when they see you. Sometimes they won’t,” she said. “And cars seem to be driving faster, and there are more of them.”

Michelle Rindt, 1956 Cedar Dr., concurred, saying, “No one goes 25.”

She said she often cares for her grandchildren and “it gets so bad the 2 and 4-year-olds put their hands out to try and stop traffic.”

Rindt said she recognizes that police can’t be present 24/7, but said something has to be done to help people trying to cross the road.

“Cars barrel down the hill,” Nadine Butler, 1977 Cedar Dr., told the committee. “We have to wave so they stop,” she said. “A few of the cars stop.”

“This has been an issue since the day we moved in,” Aimee Lempke said, noting she moved into her 1998 Cedar Dr. home 15 years ago. “It’s just not safe.

“I’m asking you what it’s going to take for something to get done — someone to get hurt?”

John Katzban, 1982 Cedar Dr., said there are a number of things that can be done, such as installing solar-powered flashing lights at the crosswalk and better painting of the walks.

“We just keep running into roadblocks,” Gehrke said.

Committee Chairman and Trustee Lisa Harbeck noted that the committee could not discuss the matter because it was not on the agenda. However, she said, it will be placed on the agenda for discussion at the committee’s meeting at 6 p.m. July 12 at the police station.

Police Chief Jeff Caponera said he suspected the idea of installing a sign in the roadway came up not long before winter, when plowing would have made it difficult to maintain.

He told the residents that he emailed Public Works Director Amber Thomas to check on the signs and crosswalk, and noted that they will monitor traffic before the July meeting.

“We will have information then (at the meeting),” Caponera said. “We will definitely make sure we look at this.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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