May 12, 2021
Madison Street Traffic Improvements
Madison Street from Chicago Street to Oak Street is undergoing changes this spring. Staff began evaluating this corridor two years ago amid concerns being raised with pedestrian safety. This review prompted an evaluation of the entire area resulting in the improvement project. The project is going to accomplish three goals: reconfigure the narrow two lane system in place, improve pedestrian safety, and to bring parking spaces into compliance with state and federal guidelines.
The current two lane system has not functioned properly on Madison Street. The driving lanes are not sufficiently wide enough to accommodate side by side traffic flow and allow on street parking. In many instances vehicles are forced to drive down the center of the roadway. We are basically making Madison Street a one lane roadway as it is essentially already one.
The Plum Street and Oak Street are also becoming STOP intersections. This will improve pedestrian and motorist safety in these areas. Congestion at these intersections often caused confusion for motorists and pedestrians entering the intersection from the side street. This is particularly the case on Plum Street when motorists attempted to cross the intersection to utilize the mail boxes at the post office. Issues arose with the dual lane concept in which one motorist would stop at Plum Street to allow traffic to pass while another motorist continued through the intersection in the second lane. Pedestrians also found it difficult to cross the street at these intersections as traffic tended to speed up as it moved westward.
Planters have been installed at the intersections of Plum and Oak as well. These serve two purposes. First they help delineate the single traffic lane. Secondly they allow for the stop signs to be more prominently placed in the view of motorists. They are designed to be temporary in nature. Their placement will allow City staff to evaluate the traffic pattern and make changes before more permanent structures are installed.
The final portion of this project is to begin to bring our parking spaces downtown into compliance with State and Federal regulations. In many areas we have spaces too close to crosswalks and intersections. Over the coming years we will be working to make corrections, beginning with Madison Street.