City to revisit street standards

The move by public works follows last year’s dust-up on Kallgren Road.

From the ashes of the city’s failure at Kallgren Road, a new framework for road design rises.

The city is moving toward customized solutions for “growing” streets, giving neighborhoods a “menu” of options to choose from within the required roadway standards.

“I think this is pretty big on a couple of levels,” said public works director Randy Witt of recommendations by a new committee formed following the Kallgren debate. “First, it will change the way we do things operationally. More importantly, (it asks) ‘what are our streets going to look like?’

“We’re doing something here that is pretty cutting edge.”

Last year, residents on quiet Kallgren Road feared that proposed street improvements – which included a connection with nearby Day Road – would irreparably damage the character of the neighborhood.

The connection would have increased traffic and changed the street’s atmosphere, neighbors said.

Though the plan was thwarted, the city’s one-size-fits-all street design policies pose future conflicts in other island neighborhoods.

Knowing that, an ad hoc Trans­portation Standard Scoping Committee was formed by Mayor Darlene Kordonowy.

The committee is recommending that new road policies, to be crafted with the help of a consultant, should consider the character of individual neighborhoods, giving planners and the community greater flexibility as new street designs take shape.

The mayor will present the committee’s findings to the City Council on Wednesday.

From there the city will begin a search for consultants, with $40,000 already set aside in the budget for the task.

Witt said the new changes wouldn’t likely take effect until sometime next year. But the findings were praised by north-end resident Dennis Vogt, who served on the ad hoc committee.

“Things are slipping away,” Vogt said. “If the street standards are left as they are now, there will be an irreversible change in the character of the island.”

New standards must address both motorized and non-motorized transportation, according to the committee’s report.

“It’s not just about pavement width,” Witt said. “It’s what you do around the pavement.”

That, he said, includes ditches, sidewalks, pathways and plantings. For Witt, the change is welcome.

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