The Menomonie city council approved plans to turn a section of Stout Road from four lanes to three lanes. From 6th Street to 21st Street there will be two lanes of traffic with a center turn lane, two pedestrian crossings, and two bike lanes. The resolution passed by an 8-0 vote on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.
The project is part of federal safety grant funding. It will cost $1.89 million as a whole, with $1.62 million coming from federal funding and $266,000 coming from the state. The city will pay slightly less than $5,000 towards it. There is no set date when this project will take off, but it is said that it may not start for a couple years.
The goal of this project is to create a safe way for pedestrians to cross the street. In the specified area, there aren’t many marked places on either side of the road for individuals to safely get across.
The gains of this project include a new surface, safer turning movements, and an overall increased safety for pedestrians in the neighborhood. The loss of this project is the inconvenience of a slower flow of traffic. According to a study conducted by the Department of Transportation, the change in traffic flow will not be a significant problem.
Joseph Krenik, a senior majoring in packaging said that he believes the project is a great opportunity for Menomonie. “It will help better traffic flow as well as having a safe way for bikers to commute everyday,” said Krenik. He explained that even though the construction will cause problems with traffic build up, it will be worth it in the end. Krenik said, “In the long run of things, it will be most beneficial for the community and [be] safer passage for pedestrians.”
Colin Carlson, a junior majoring in computer networking and information technology said that he doesn’t drive down Stout Road very often, only when he’s headed toward the hospital. He explained that because he uses the street so rarely, he is pretty indifferent on the Stout Road project. Carlson said, “Although this doesn’t affect me, it affects one of my friends because she is a delivery driver and the extra traffic will impact her income.”
Eli Lee, a sophomore who is undecided said, “Considering how small Menomonie is already, I think changing four lanes to three lanes wouldn’t be a bad idea if pedestrian [crossings] and bike lanes [are] added.” He said he knows people who travel around campus that say they have difficulties crossing the road sometimes on busy weekdays. “Some have even had really close calls to being hit by a car,” said Lee.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Oct 21, 2019.