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Glendale consultant suggests keeping Green Tree open

Safety improvements include uniform speed limit, more enforcement

Jan. 13, 2010

Glendale — An engineering company hired by the city of Glendale recommends West Green Tree Road remain open to eastbound and westbound traffic through the village of River Hills, officials announced Monday night.

Representatives from consultants Traffic Analysis and Design presented their findings to the Common Council after studying such data as crash histories, peak drive times and motorists' speeds.

River Hills officials announced in November plans to close eastbound traffic along Green Tree on a six-month pilot basis, citing neighbors' speeding and safety concerns.

Donald Lee, engineer with Traffic Analysis and Design, said several conclusions were derived from the study, which was conducted in October and November.

A speed count survey using radar and laser guns, for instance, concluded that 11 percent of motorists exceeded 35 mile-per-hour limits along Green Tree, near the intersection of Green Tree Court. Ninety-three percent of the motorists sampled drove faster than 25, and 52 percent of those sampled exceeded 30 mph.

The posted limit on Green Tree west of River Road is 30 mph; to the east it is 25 mph.

"There is a speeding issue out here," Lee said.

While the firm recommended Green Tree remain open to through traffic in both directions, several suggestions were presented. Among them:

• create a uniform 25-mph speed limit throughout Green Tree;

• increase police enforcement in the area to curtail speeding;

• add a sign prohibiting trucks on Green Tree, immediately west of the driveway leading into the Glendale Market shopping complex and near the border of the two municipalities; and

• lengthen a right-turn lane on Green Tree, immediately west of North Port Washington Road, by eliminating a portion of an area prohibiting parking on the south side of Green Tree.

After reviewing traffic patterns throughout the day, Lee said data revealed peak traffic patterns along Green Tree in the morning were from 7 to 9 a.m. and in the evening from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. A license plate survey revealed that most traffic through Green Tree was commuter traffic going to and from Port Washington Road.

Before coming up with its findings, Traffic Analysis and Design also reviewed the history of car crashes along Green Tree. Ten reportable crashes occurred from January 2006 to October 2009 along the Green Tree area stretching from Milwaukee River Parkway to Jean Nicolet Road.

Thirty percent of the crashes were correlated to speeding. One of the incidents, on April 18, 2009, was fatal.

Glendale and the Nicolet School District have filed a lawsuit against River Hills to keep the plan to close the road from moving forward. Both entities have expressed concern that the closure would adversely affect nearby roadways.

Because the litigation is ongoing, the Glendale Common Council refrained from commenting on the recommendations.

"I would urge you to refrain in any discussion … until you can have a discussion with legal counsel," City Attorney John Fuchs said to the council members moments before Traffic Analysis and Design representatives presented their findings.

Attempts to reach River Hills Village Manager Tom Tollaksen before press deadline were unsuccessful.

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