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North Sherman Avenue Proposal

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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby snoqueen » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:26 am

North Sherman should be for local and business traffic, Packers Ave (which it parallels and meets at both ends, for crying out loud) is for through traffic. The map makes this so clear it hardly needs repeating.

North Sherman deserves the same benefits the east and west sides have, and if they can't settle on a separate bike path route the street redesign is the next best solution. Those who insist it has to remain a four-lane rushing stream for the sole convenience of car traffic are being left behind in other parts of town and there's nothing to indicate Sherman should be exceptional in any way.

Living out near the end of the eastbound bike path, I know how having an excellent path nearby does wonders for a residential neighborhood. I am sure it adds a couple thousand dollars' value to every house within several blocks, and it is a great convenience and pleasure.

A well-designed business/residential street upgrade is easier to use for all three types of traffic. The Willy Street upgrade, while it was a pain to undergo, has been well worth it. Faster through-traffic uses E. Wash, similar to the way Packers Ave will handle faster north-south traffic once Sherman is adjusted.

My biggest regret is the north side couldn't find a good bike path route like the east and west sides have. On-street paths, while better than nothing, aren't the friendliest for non-competitive bike riders. That includes little kids, the occasional (red-bike, say) rider, those who are older or not interested in aggressive riding, and those using trailers or other arrangements to transport goods or children. You can hope we'll retrain all the car drivers in time, but there will be years of learning curve and of gradually tamping down aggressive, resentful, drunken, and distracted driving. Personally, I prefer not to be the lab rat (pedestrian or bike) who gets out there and tries to retrain them all.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby jman111 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:35 am

I like the idea, independent of the bike path/lane inclusion. I don't think four lanes of traffic with no median is a good design. It makes left turns onto the road more difficult. It also results in erratic lane changing by some drivers to avoid turning vehicles.

By including a designated left turn lane, you avoid the inevitable periodic obstruction of the current left traffic lanes by those waiting to cross oncoming traffic. The remaining lane in each direction is virtually unimpeded. I just think traffic tends to flow better with the proposed design.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:41 am

snoqueen wrote:On-street paths, while better than nothing, aren't the friendliest for non-competitive bike riders.


This is definitely true for some of our older on-street paths, but the newest one they put on East Wash is great. Granted it is East Wash and that is a crazy busy street, but I see all sorts of folks using it, from young to old, novice and experienced. It has a ton of room and the rider is very easily seen by cars. I have had more close calls on side streets and even the bike path(blind spots at crossings) then I do on East Wash.

That said, I agree with what Sno said about converting Sherman. I believe a cyclist is more likely to be a drop in customer to these businesses vs. someone who is commuting home from work. The city has done a great job converting streets to more mix use as they re-construct and I don't think Sherman should be an exception.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby rabble » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:02 pm

Stebben84 wrote: I believe a cyclist is more likely to be a drop in customer to these businesses vs. someone who is commuting home from work.

Agreed, but with the caveat that it would shift the business model. In my opinion, bikers are a different set of customers than drivers on their way to and from work. Some business would benefit, others wouldn't and the shift will be a little traumatic.

Still, it has to be done. The longer we wait the harder it will be.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby snoqueen » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:06 pm

Commuters are probably interested in groceries or the liquor store, both of which are at the Northport-Sherman corner and accessible from either.

I agree they did a good job on the E. Wash bike path. I think one reason it works well is there aren't that many driveways on E. Wash, block for block. The bike path on the new parts of Monona Drive is nicely designed too, but with so many cars turning off and on the street, it's always going to be a bit riskier.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby barney » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:17 pm

I don't like the median idea, I would prefer having a designated left turn lane for both directions down the middle (Is this what they did on the newer parts of Monona Drive? I can't remember off the top of my head.). This would avoid backups from those of us trying to turn in to our driveways, and (hopefully) appease the business owners who have a lot of car traffic.

I would also hope it would decrease the volume of truck/semi traffic. It is insane for that type of street.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby snoqueen » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:26 pm

New Monona Drive doesn't have the designated left turn lane down the middle. It's got designated left turn lanes at the intersections though.

The designated left turn down the middle things come and go as traffic planning techniques. In my experience (not in Madison, but elsewhere), when they're put in people can't decide who gets to use them (northbound? southbound?) which becomes a cause of collisions. So after a while they get taken out again.

I like the medians because they make it easier for pedestrians to cross. Personally, I won't attempt to stop traffic with my body (even though it's legal) to cross a street, so I like being able to cross half, wait on the median, and then find another gap in traffic and go the rest of the way.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby jman111 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:55 pm

barney wrote:I don't like the median idea, I would prefer having a designated left turn lane for both directions down the middle (Is this what they did on the newer parts of Monona Drive? I can't remember off the top of my head.). This would avoid backups from those of us trying to turn in to our driveways, and (hopefully) appease the business owners who have a lot of car traffic.

I would also hope it would decrease the volume of truck/semi traffic. It is insane for that type of street.

The article indicates a change to "a two-lane street with bicycle lanes, pedestrian islands and a center left-turn lane." I don't think a somewhat continuous median with intermittent left turn lanes is in the plan, just pedestrian islands at crossing points. I read it to include a two-way designated left turn lane down the middle.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby jman111 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:09 pm

confirmed
After reviewing residents’ concerns and analyzing the street operational characteristics, Madison Traffic Engineering staff proposes a package of improvements to N Sherman Avenue including:
1) Reconfiguring the street cross-section from the existing four lane street to a two lane street with a center left turn lane and bike lanes, often referred to as TWLTL
2) Installing pedestrian refuge islands at high pedestrian crossing locations along the project corridor.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby barney » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:47 pm

Yeah, I looked up the report on the city's website. I had a full fledged boulevard/parkway in my head for some reason.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby barney » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:35 pm

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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby fennel » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:24 pm

I think the notion of trying to solve safety issues by increasing enforcement is ridiculous. People tend to drive at the speed for which a road was engineered, and I'm guessing that was 40-45 for Sherman Ave.

When looking for houses, we ruled out the North End, since it seemed to be separated from Madison. The new road plan will do much to improve that.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Violet_Skye » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:15 pm

I just looked at the proposal and I LOVE it. I live just off Sherman and this addresses so many of the traffic problems I encounter on a near daily basis. Especially during biking weather, this will be a hugely positive change.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby sylvie » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:21 pm

I've lived on North Sherman near Malcolm Shabazz for close to twenty years. I remember the city trying out of a median/left turn lane thing some years ago. It was a mess. I did not like it.

I say lower the speed limit.
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