SHOREWOOD - Shorewood officials will decide Monday, July 10, whether the 56-foot-wide Wilson Drive corridor will be reduced to a 41-foot-wide roadway or a 51-foot-wide boulevard.

The redesign of Wilson Drive has been under discussion for nearly two years in Shorewood, starting with the creation of the Wilson Drive Task Force in December 2015.

Residents quickly and loudly voiced opposition to any kind of commercial or residential development on the west side of the street, so the village board advised the task force's steering committee to take development off the table of possibilities.

After compiling input from roughly 20 meetings, including an open house event that attracted 200 people and more than 130 pieces of written feedback, a consulting firm called MSA Professional Services developed four roadway designs.

The design phase of the project was handed off to GRAEF, an engineering firm, which narrowed the four roadway options to two designs: a 51-foot-wide boulevard and a 41-foot-wide roadway.

In a presentation to 150 community members on Thursday, June 29, Mary Beth Pettit of GRAEF said the project engineers chose these two roadway designs because they address the priorities of pedestrian safety and green space.

The 51-foot-wide boulevard would have a 10-foot median in the middle, providing an island for pedestrians trying to cross the street. The boulevard would provide 27 feet of village-owned green space on the west side of the street, while the 41-foot-wide roadway would provide 37 feet of village-owned green space on the west side of the street.

Both roadway options include one vehicle lane and one bicycle lane in each direction. Both designs would create left turn lanes for southbound traffic at Olive Street, Kensington Boulevard and Glendale Avenue.

Both designs would eliminate parking on the west side of the street, bringing the number of parking stalls from 298 to 130. Village officials say parking on the west side of the street is not utilized.

The benefit of the boulevard design is that it would control vehicle speed and increase pedestrian safety, according to GRAEF. The benefit of the 41-foot-wide roadway is that it increases the amount of green space on the west side of the road, creates more connectivity with the park and costs 8 to 10 percent less to build. 

Pettit said buses should not be a significant hindrance to traffic on the redesigned roadway. Most bus stops along Wilson Drive have six or less riders per day. GRAEF typically does not consider bus pullouts unless there are 30 to 35 riders per day.

"We know through operational analysis that the buses are not going to cause an operational concern," she said.

The planning phase of both roadway designs is about 30 percent complete, but a decision must be made before GRAEF does any more planning work. The village board will vote on July 10 whether Wilson Drive should be narrowed to the 41-foot-wide roadway or the 51-foot-wide boulevard. The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

Another public hearing will be held Sept. 14 when plans are 60 percent complete. The September public information meeting will consider storm water treatment, trail connections and construction staging, among other additional opportunities.

The planning process is scheduled to be completed Dec. 1, which would allow for the construction of Wilson Drive to begin in April.

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