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willy & jenifer intersection

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

willy & jenifer intersection

Postby iromic » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:05 pm

I have worked @ the Elks club for over 2 years and have watched people not see/ignore the do not enter signs ad nauseum turning onto Jenifer St. from Williamson St. or vice versa. My question is ...WHO DO YOU FREAKIN' SCOFFLAWS THINK YOU ARE?!!! My day's just too busy to obey traffic signs so I'll drive through a intersection that's meant for buses and bikes only because I'm the most imporatnt person in the world. I have more but I'll let others respond :evil:
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby markkay » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:39 am

Looks like there was an enforcement action about this on Monday. At around 5 pm or so, I rode my bike from Willy to Jenifer, and saw a bunch of cars pulled over by the police.
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby ilikebeans » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:59 am

When enough well-intenioned people ignore traffic signs or laws in a particular area, I think that means that particular area's design and/or signs need to be changed.

Any particular reason why that segment can't accommodate car traffic from Willy?
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby narcoleptish » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:03 am

I can understand drivers in that area losing their shit due to the ridiculously unneeded lane closures. Coming off Willy and turning left onto John Nolen you have one of the turn lanes closed for absolutely no apparent reason, backing up the already backed up traffic even more. Then on your return trip the right turn lane off of John Nolen onto Willy is closed forcing you to wait in the often huge line going to E Wash until you get to the intersection. Again it is closed for no apparent reason. Some people actually need or want to turn onto Willy and we all know it's fucking closed by now so we're not just oblivious idiots. The idiots are the people responsible for those closed lanes and my wish is to have them in a dunk tank at the Willy st. fair, without the protective cage.
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:27 am

I'd like it if I could get into the Sardine/Machinery Row parking lot without first solving a complex spatial reasoning puzzle.
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby rabble » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:49 pm

ilikebeans wrote:Any particular reason why that segment can't accommodate car traffic from Willy?

I don't know for sure but I'd bet my pay cut that it has something to do with a certain neighborhood association.
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby Ducatista » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:48 pm

rabble wrote:
ilikebeans wrote:Any particular reason why that segment can't accommodate car traffic from Willy?

I don't know for sure but I'd bet my pay cut that it has something to do with a certain neighborhood association.

Might be a bike route thing. Willy/Jfer marks the transition from sidewalk path to riding in the street. That means cyclists heading west (or NW or WNW or whatever the hell it is there) have to cross Jfer to continue on the path. Cars turning onto Jfer from Willy wouldn't be expecting that.

Re: Sardine: Coming from John Nolen or Wilson is easy.

If you're coming from Willy, you can always do the J-turn—IF you're not squeamish about blocking Willy while you wait for the cars turning onto Willy from John Nolen to get a red. That'll happen before the light on Wilson turns green, so you won't get clipped, but you'll get a lot of alarmed looks from the John Nolen drivers before they realize you're stopping and not crossing in front of them. And if you try to explain to a cop "It's a J-turn, not a U-turn," you're probably gonna get a ticket.

I usually use the same route whether I'm approaching from Willy or Blair: head W on Wilson, whip a U-turn (legal, btw) at Hancock (before Rubin's), and then enjoy a stress-free right-hand turn into the parking lot just past the lights.
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby snoqueen » Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:10 pm

The no-right-onto Jenifer arrangement is quite old, comparatively speaking (I'd guess late 1970s-early 80s). The people living on Jenifer-Spaight were not happy to have through traffic in their neighborhood and decided it was better having non-local eastbound cars stay on Willy. They managed to get the cul-de-sac put on Jenifer, but had to concede westbound buses needed an outlet.It didn't have anything to do with the bike path and route, which came later.

Another artifact of this same period was a bunch of signs on Willy saying eastbound traffic could not turn RIGHT onto the side streets, of all things. I think those signs are gone but I could be wrong. Maybe they're just universally ignored. The idea was to keep Jenny and Spaight as quiet as possible.

Jenifer-Spaight in that area also got their own snow rules and streetside parking rules. It was during this period the whole area was nicknamed People's Republic of Jenifer Street.

It all seems self-indulgent and silly except when you compare the area to its sister neighborhood, Johnson-Gorham. Johnson and Gorham Streets go through a nice original-plat neighborhood much like Jenifer-Spaight but because they're both through-routes, they're very heavily traveled and the whole neighborhood is a lot noisier and has noticeably lower property values. So in a way the J-S people were smart and the J-G people got rolled over.


History tidbit: the Johnson-Gorham street pair (east and westbound) dates to a 1962 Madison traffic plan, much of which actually was built. It also included Packers Avenue, intended to serve Oscar Mayer (a very busy employer at the time). I think Johnson and Gorham actually were changed into one-way streets in 1968. The diagonal crossover portion of Gorham St. in the 1200 block dates to this conversion.
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby barney » Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:20 pm

Even though Jenifer is a 'collector street' there, and a bus route, the neighborhood doesn't actually want people in cars to use their streets. Same reason there's no right turn on Livingston from eastbound Willy from 4-6. Discourage people from using the neighborhood streets. Everyone wants to be able to get to their own houses, quickly and easily, no matter how, but they just don't want anyone else to, apparently.

When I lived in the neighborhood, I turned on Livingston all the time, but only did the Jenifer Street one when it was either super late at night or really, really snowy. Further down it gets kinda hilly and with the spotty plowing the last few years we were there, I didn't want to get stuck, especially during rush hour. My mom would do it on occasion as well, but she's one of those 60s anarchists who doesn't understand why she should have to listen to the "man" and his "rules" :roll:

I understand the Livingston restriction a little, as buses do come barreling down Jenifer and could hit you if you're turning left from Livingston onto Jenifer to continue through the neighborhood. And I do think the no-entry on Spaight by BB Clarke makes sense (at least during the summer when there's kids present - or at least they used to be when you could still swim in the lakes).

It was always fun to watch people sit in their cars trying to turn left onto Willy from Jenifer, waiting for the light to change. (The sensor for the light is about 10 feet off the ground, at 'bus' height.) They'd get pissed and just turn anyway. So, not only would they be disobeying the signage, they were also running red lights.
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby barney » Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:23 pm

Sno's so smart.

I've heard rumblings that they're going to change Johnson and Gorham back to two way? Any news on that? Is that out with Soglin in?
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby snoqueen » Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:38 pm

barney wrote:I've heard rumblings that they're going to change Johnson and Gorham back to two way? Any news on that? Is that out with Soglin in?


Tenney Lapham Neighborhood Association has been talking about it for years but I don't know if it's ever moved beyond the talk stage. With E. Wash all upgraded, you'd think that would be the best place for commuter traffic. A re-do of the Fordem/Johnson intersection would help by getting traffic coming down North Sherman over to First Street and onto E. Wash more effectively.

One issue is getting people from the northeast to campus, which isn't reached by E. Wash. (An obvious answer is more buses.)

So does the reduction in state aid to Madison harm street re-do programs, or would they be covered under Walker's giant giveaway to the roadbuilding industry?
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby Ducatista » Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:57 pm

barney wrote:It was always fun to watch people sit in their cars trying to turn left onto Willy from Jenifer, waiting for the light to change. (The sensor for the light is about 10 feet off the ground, at 'bus' height.)

I always thought it was a weight thing, but height makes more sense.

I'd sometimes tell people: "The light's never going to change with you sitting there. It'll only activate for buses." It was about 50/50 whether they'd plow forward or turn around in the cul de sac and head back down Jenifer.
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Re: willy & jenifer intersection

Postby barney » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:36 pm

snoqueen wrote:One issue is getting people from the northeast to campus, which isn't reached by E. Wash. (An obvious answer is more buses.)



I've often thought a park-n-ride passenger ferry from Warner Park to Edgewood or Union area. They could walk the couple blocks to the GEFs/Capitol and the campus bus route picks up at the Union. Great way to reduce state and UW worker traffic from Waunakee/Lodi/Windsor, etc., thereby reducing traffic from those coming in from the actual city. Alas, I'm sure the current administration would rather build a bridge, more paving involved.
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