Residents propose closing Green Tree Road
Traffic volume, speeds irk many; some blame Glendale Market
River Hills — Residents living along West Green Tree Road just west of Interstate 43 want their street closed to through traffic.
Since the opening of the Glendale Market on the west side on the interstate, they say traffic on their narrow two-lane street has increased. People speed through the area and toss litter into yards, and residents say they have had enough.
About 35 of them turned out for a Village Board meeting last week, presenting a petition to the board asking for the street closure. By next month, the board hopes to have a resolution for the neighborhood, asking for reports from the village engineer and police and fire chiefs as to the feasibility of closing the street. The board also wants information from Village Attorney William Dineen about the process to close, or vacate, the street.
Tragedy mobilizes residents
Donna Manley said it took a tragedy in the neighborhood to galvanize it. In April, a 72-year-old man lost control of his car and struck a Glendale man walking his dog on the street. The driver also died from injuries suffered when his car struck a tree. A medical problem may have contributed to the crash.
"The issue for our neighborhood is safety," Manley said. "Two 18-wheelers came down my road today. We can't get across the street to get the mail. People drive 50 miles per hour."
Manley said she jogs every morning but has to time her run through the Nicolet High School area because of congestion.
Although Manley mentioned traffic generated by nearby Nicolet High School, most pointed their fingers at the Glendale Market.
"People in Glendale are benefitting from the merchants, but we have broken up roads, more gas fumes and pollution than ever before," Francesca Worthington said.
Eric Strande said drivers from a fast food restaurant in the Glendale Market drive too fast, despite repeated phone calls to both the local and national offices of the company. Strande also said he didn't believe it was safe to have emergency vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances going at high rates of speed on the street.
Closing driveways suggested
Several residents had suggestions for other remedies.
"Why not turn the bridge over the Milwaukee River on Green Tree back into a foot bridge," asked Victor Harding, noting that years ago the bridge was a foot bridge only. River Hills spent $1.5 million several years ago to rebuild the bridge, which is partially in Glendale. Glendale also helped pay for the bridge.
Trustee Wendy Walcott suggested asking Glendale to consider closing the driveways from the shopping center to Green Tree Road, forcing all traffic to use the Port Washington Road entrances. Walcott reasoned that once on Port Washington Road, drivers would go to Good Hope Road to travel west rather than using Green Tree Road.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has announced a preliminary plan to recondition the Green Tree Road bridge over Interstate 43 as well as rebuild the bridges at Brown Deer and Good Hope roads in 2010. The three bridges are the only east-west connections available to traffic from County Line Road to West Bender Road.
Trustee Steve Anderson said the board should act quickly to address the safety concerns.
"When Nicolet High School gets back in session, that just compounds the problem," he said.
Most of the property abutting Green Tree in that area is in River Hills, but there is a small subdivision on the southwest corner of Jean Nicolet and Green Tree roads that is in Glendale and is accessible only from Green Tree. While those residents would likely have an opinion on closing the road, they were not included in the petition to the River Hills board.
Glendale Mayor Jerry Tepper said that as of Monday he had not heard from any city residents about the issue but he did hear from one River Hills resident who is opposed to the proposed closing of the road.
"We are waiting to see what happens," Tepper said.
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