MILWAUKEE — Major corridors across the city of Milwaukee are about to be reconfigured in an effort to reduce reckless driving. Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works has identified 16 stretches of roadway where the streets will be re-engineered to make it harder for drivers to speed.
One of those areas is along North 27th Street, between Atkinson and Center Street. The two-mile stretch is just a couple months away from having its lanes narrowed and curbs widened.
Asia Don has lived along North 27th St. her whole life. She says reckless driving keeps getting worse right outside her front door.
“People just don’t care about other people’s well-being,” she said. “If you’re in the way, they’ll drive toward you to scare you.”
Changes are coming as Milwaukee plans to spend nearly $4 million in federal Covid relief funds to re-design roads.
“Our goal is to reduce speeds, that’s number one,” said Department of Public Works Commissioner Jerrel Kruschke. “Reduce people from passing on the right and reduce pedestrian fatalities.”
Milwaukee County Medical Examiner records show 31 people have been killed in motor vehicle crashes on Milwaukee streets this year. 11 of whom were pedestrians.
“If you reduce speeds, every 5 miles an hour, can save a pedestrian’s life. Our goal here is to save lives,” Kruschke said.
Kruschke says DPW and city leaders identified the 16 corridors that are the most dangerous when it comes to reckless driving and pedestrian injuries. 10 of which are on the north-side, four are on the south-side and two are west of downtown.
“Every roadway is a different animal,” Kruschke said. “Some are wider, some are narrower, some are longer, some are shorter, so that’s why each project has to go through the engineering process.”
DPW’s reengineering process includes physical infrastructure like extending curbs further into the roadway and widening medians. It also means narrowing lanes and removing turn lanes that are often used by drivers to illegally pass other vehicles.
Kruschke says the 16 corridors are just the start as the city tries to identify other funding sources to do the same at many other locations.
“From my standpoint, it’s happening everywhere,” he said.
While Don hopes reconfiguring roads will help, she isn’t so sure reckless drivers can be stopped.
“They’re going to find a way around it, even if they’ve got to drive on the sidewalk or grass,” she said. “They’re going to get around it.”
DPW says it’s going to compare data on speeds and accidents along these corridors before implementation and a year after to determine whether this method of trying to reduce reckless driving is effective.
16 corridors selected:
E. Oklahoma Ave. from S. Clement Ave. to S. Howell Ave.
N. 27th St./W. Center/ W. Fond du Lac Ave intersection
N. 27th St. from W. Atkinson to W. Center
N. 35th St. from W. Congress to W. Townsend
N. 35th St. from W. Highland Blvd. to W. Cherry
N. 60th St. from W. Silver Spring to W. Hampton
S. 35th St. from W. Lincoln Ave. to. W. Oklahoma Ave.
W. Appleton Ave. from N. 60th St. to W. Burleigh
W. North Ave. from N. 24th St. to N. 30th St.
W. Highland Blvd. from N. 20th St to N. 35th St.
W. Lapham Blvd. from S. 6th St. to S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr.
W. Lincoln Ave. from S. 1st St. to S. 35th St.
W. Locust St. from N. 40th St. to N. Sherman Blvd.
Butterfly Park area
Riverside Park area
Washington Park area