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Green Tree Road residents pitch new plan to village

They suggest closing eastbound lane to halve traffic

Oct. 16, 2009

River Hills — Residents living on Green Tree Road between River and Jean Nicolet roads want village officials to consider a new proposal to reduce the volume of traffic and speeding on their street.

Instead of a total closing of the road, which they advocated earlier, the residents suggested a half closure, closing the east bound traffic lane to through traffic at Green Tree and River roads.

Resident Paul Manley spoke for the group, introducing Wayne Higgins of Traffic Engineering Services. The residents have hired Higgins to help them find a solution for their problem.

The half closure would allow bicycles, emergency vehicles, plows and school buses to use the road but would likely halve overall traffic volume since a traffic count done by Higgins showed equal traffic volume in both directions. Higgins said his study was done in September during the ongoing construction on Good Hope Road.

The city of Glendale and the Nicolet School District have objected to the proposal to fully close the road. The district cited concerns about travel time for buses and the congestion that would arise on both Jean Nicolet and Bender roads with the closing of Green Tree Road. The city has concerns about access for emergency vehicles and a Glendale subdivision whose entrance is on Green Tree Road.

The city hired Traffic Design and Analysis to do a traffic study on Green Tree Road. That study will include traffic counts taken both during and after the Good Hope Road construction.

Trial period suggested

Village Engineer Bob Elkin advised giving half closure a six month trial period with temporary barricades and signs before making a decision to install a concrete island that would be a permanent barrier.

"You should try it on a temporary basis to see the impact on residents in the area because obviously there will be some inconveniences," he said.

Village Attorney William Dineen said that while there are statutory requirements to close a road, he is not aware of any legal requirements for a half closure.

"I believe that is a decision within the legislative powers of the board," he said.

Because the school district owns property on Green Tree Road, it has a right to object to its full closure. That would ultimately trigger a requirement for approval of road closure by a super majority of the River Hills Village Board.

Residents would pay for closure

Trustee Peggy Russo said she wanted to make sure residents along Green Tree understand the financial implications of half closure.

Dineen said the last time the village closed a street, it required a signed agreement from the residents agreeing to the closure and payment of its costs. The money was collected from residents prior to the start of the road closing, he said.

Higgins estimated it would cost $16,100 to engineer and build the temporary barrier, plus $6,500 to set up video equipment to monitor the intersection. Engineering and construction costs for the permanent island would be approximately $16,000, he said.

At least two River Hills residents indicated they were not ready to agree with the half closure.

Bernie Cohen's driveway would be close to the barrier and warning signs. He suggested making the street a one-way street as a possible alternative.

Lastly, Ginny Gerth, a Glendale resident living in the subdivision off Green Tree Road, asked the board to consider the ramifications for those residents when they make a decision.

Village President Robert Brunner said the board will wait for additional information from the Glendale traffic study and for a response from Nicolet and Glendale about the half closure proposal. At a minimum, the discussion will continue in November, he said.

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