Pilot program set to begin Oct. 24 or 25
By Angie Landsverk
The downtown Waupaca pilot program initially scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 16 will now begin at least a week later.
“We intend to start the pilot project Tuesday (Oct. 24) or Wednesday (Oct. 25) of next week,” said Brennan Kane, the city’s director of community and economic development.
He provided the update during the common council’s Tuesday, Oct. 17 meeting.
The month-long program will turn the intersections of Main and Fulton streets and Main and Badger streets into flashing red intersections.
It will also temporarily remove the right turn lane movements from Fulton Street onto Main Street and from Badger Street onto Main Street.
City staff and SEH Engineering, one of the city’s consultants for its Main Street reconstruction project, will study how traffic flows through the two intersections.
Kane explained why the start of the pilot program was pushed back a week.
He said the city learned late last Friday, Oct. 13 there will be equipment on South Washington Street later this week at The Paint Store, where an addition is being built.
Justin Berrens, the city’s director of public works, told the Waupaca County Post a crane is scheduled to be there Thursday and Friday, Oct. 19 and 20, to put up the trusses.
The street will remain open, but traffic is expected to be impacted.
Rick Graves owns The Paint Store.
Last spring, he presented an application to the city’s Plan Commission to expand his business at 101 S. Washington St.
The Plan Commission approved the site plan in April.
The project will result in additional warehouse and storage space on the lower level and a second story, which will be his living quarters.
Kane said information about the city’s pilot program will be distributed to downtown business owners.
He also said, “We don’t want to start it on a Monday.”
The city hoped the pilot program would begin after its Lake Street project was completed.
During the common council’s Oct. 3 meeting, Ald. Steve Hackett expressed concerns about how the Lake Street closure would affect the traffic flow on downtown streets during the pilot program.
There are traffic backups at School, State and Badger streets at various times of the day, including before and after school.
The Lake Street project was scheduled to be completed by mid-October.
“Lake Street is still underway,” Berrens told the common council this week.
He said the project, from South Main to Eighth streets, is a bit behind schedule and not going as quickly as planned.
Berrens said a little more curb and gutter, as well as more sidewalks, were replaced.
Additional crosswalk work took place as well, he said.
“The paving crew is scheduled next week,” Berrens said.
During the public input portion of Tuesday evening’s meeting, Susan Reniewicki brought up several concerns related to the street.
She lives at 720 E. Lake St. and said she did not want to “discuss the progress or lack or progress” some feel there has been on the street.
Instead Reniewicki shared how she contacted Berrens last summer to express concerns about the speed at which vehicles travel on Lake Street, the heavy vehicles seen on it and the intersection of School, Lake and Eighth streets.
With traffic patterns disrupted during the Lake Street project, Reniewicki wondered if it might be a time to consider changes at that intersection, including whether some turns should be allowed to continue.
Noting she would be impacted by some of her suggestions, Reniewiski also said she spoke to a lot of her neighbors, who said they would be in favor of the changes.
She said Berrens did correspond with her, describing that intersection as having been a “conundrum for a long time.”
Mayor Brian Smith told Berrens he wants to talk to him about the intersection.