Increase Safety of the Packers and Schlimgen Avenue Crossing (Madison, WI)
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Local media outlet Channel3000 picked up this story, watch/read it here, and the local police put up "Your Speed" indicator signs.
So I've written some of you (City of Madison Mayor, City of Madison Traffic Engineering Department, District 12 Alder Larry Palm, Northside Police Department, local news, IMAP school) recently about the dangerous pedestrian/bike crossing at Packers and Schlimgen Avenue. It's near the Isthmus Montessori Academy (Public) school and many parents and children cross here as part of our daily routine.
Coming from the Brentwood Village Neighborhood we bike across at Packers and International Lane going to school. This intersection by itself is not terrible as there are lights here. Crossing International can sometimes be a little challenging as airport bound cars do not yield to this crosswalk, but it's manageable. Then myself, bike trailer, and another father bike back and cross at Schlimgen Avenue.
The Schlimgen Avenue crossing is a death trap at best. There are pedestrian activated yellow flashers here, crossing signs and paint, but it's simply not enough. Cars are going way too fast at this crossing. I'm not sure if the speed limit is 35 or 45 here but it's way too fast for cars to react safely to crossing pedestrians.
This morning I was a witness to this deadly crossing at a distance that was far too close to think about. Crossing back across Packers Avenue we activated the yellow flashers and Northbound traffic did not stop. Once the pack of 20-30 cars went by a single car at the back of the pack stopped and we proceeded to the median.
Once in the median, we have to stop again, because even though the flashing yellow lights have been on since before we could cross the northbound lanes nobody has stopped in the southbound lanes. In the median, I waved my arms, as the yellow lights continued to flash and the southbound traffic continues to ignore us and the lights. Finally, a single car comes to a complete stop, and then it happens, CRASH! A full sized, flatbed tow truck rear ends the car. Who, by the way, was the only driver doing the right thing in this case.
From there I called the accident into 911 as it appeared everyone involved was ok. However, a thought occurred to me. What if the tow truck hit me? Or one better, what if my daughter was still in the trailer, I begin crossing as a single car stops, and then the inattentive tow truck driver hit. I can only guess. Best case scenario we'd have a lot of breaks and bruises. Worst case scenario we're dead. Or what if this was a child crossing the street by themselves. Would they have waited for traffic or might they have just gone right into traffic?
More action on improving this deadly intersection is needed and it's needed now. We are only a few weeks into the school year and a deadly crash is just a matter of time.
A few thoughts on immediate improvements we could make here are to make this area a School Zone with reduced speeds, more school zone flashing lights, crossing guards, crossing flags, police enforcement, and perhaps "Your Speed" indicators.
Long term I'd like to see an additional light here, a pedestrian bridge or a pedestrian tunnel like those that run under East Washington Avenue.
Just so everyone is aware I will be reaching out to local media about this problem, as well as the IMAP school, our alder, the mayor, North Madison Police Department, and the City Traffic Engineering Department.
I hope together we can do something about this crossing before someone gets seriously hurt or dies.
Thank you in advance for your support with this effort,
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