Greenfield considers ways to calm Howard Ave. traffic by park

Jan. 28, 2013

Greenfield - Some of the options for slowing traffic that blasts past Zablocki Park on Howard Avenue aren't very appealing, but they must be explored to try to keep children using the park safe, city officials say.

Residents continue to ask for help slowing drivers down, said Greenfield Board of Public Works chairwoman Linda Lubotsky.

"Zablocki Park is very busy with softball, baseball, volleyball," Lubotsky said, noting that even with children around and cars parked on both sides, people still speed.

Sidewalks run along part of Howard between 35th and 43rd streets, the stretch where the park is located, but even with those sidewalks, kids still need a safe way to cross Howard Avenue, said Richard Sokol, director of neighborhood services.

Actually, police speed studies show that Howard Avenue in that stretch isn't any worse than other two-lane roads in the city, Sokol noted.

"But a park where children play rates special consideration," he said.

What can be done?

To pay for improvements, the city could use some grant money left over from projects to redo three Howard Avenue intersections - at 38th, 39th and 40 streets.

One of options Lubotsky favors to calm traffic is a small roundabout. Sokol agreed that a roundabout would be helpful, especially if the turns are tight enough to adequately slow traffic.

Another option is a gentle movable speed bump, such as the one at Greenfield High School. Lubotsky said the advantage offered by a removable speed bump is to see how much additional noise the traffic calming device would generate and subsequent reactions from neighbors. Putting in a traffic calming measure that annoys neighbors only trades one problem for another, she noted.

There are other options, Sokol said, including regular speed bumps, gentler speed humps or raised intersections. But all those create noise and the bumps could damage cars, Lubotsky said.

Even raising intersections six inches and adding a textured roadbed creates tire noise that drives neighbors crazy, Sokol said.

Another option is narrowing the street, but Lubotsky said with cars parked on both sides there's danger of cars being sideswiped.

City consideration

The Board of Public Works might make a decision Feb. 26.

At that meeting, police will provide information on how much over the speed limit cars are typically driving.

Residents attending a Jan. 10 public information meeting were pleased that the city was trying to do something about the speeding, Lubotsky said.


WHAT: possible decision on speed-reduction methods for Howard Avenue between 35th and 43rd streets

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26

WHERE: Greenfield City Hall, 7325 W. Forest Home Ave.

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