Residents deliver 1,400 signatures supporting traffic signal

Apparently you can beat City Hall … with a petition baring 1,400 signatures.

Westhaven subdivision residents, churchgoers and others delivered a pre-emptive strike to the Oshkosh Common Council earlier this month in the form of a petition opposing the removal of traffic signals at the intersection of West Ninth Avenue and Westhaven Drive.

Maricopa Drive resident Frank Zuern David Groenier delivered 80 pages of signatures opposed to the removal of the traffic signals. Another resident, Frank Zuern David Groenier, delivered a similar, though smaller petition. The signals were installed several years ago as a temporary aid to help with traffic flow in the area while U.S. Highway 41 was widened and interchanges upgraded.

“I’m asking you to put a human touch to this. The numbers don’t tell the whole story,” Zuern told Councilors Tuesday evening. “You’ve got to have a heart about this.”

The “numbers” Zuern referred to are traffic counts that suggest the intersection doesn’t have the volume to necessitate traffic signals. They were supposed to be temporary, but residents and churchgoers who spend Sunday mornings navigating the intersection beg to differ.  And so when the city’s Traffic Review Advisory Board voted to recommend removal of the signals during its Aug. 13 meeting, Zuern and Gronier got to work.

“I cannot understand the logic (of wanting to remove the signals),” Gronier told Councilors Tuesday. “We also need radar out there to control speeding. It’s gotten worse. It’s a major problem out there. Speeding all over is a major problem. It’s dangerous. Someone’s going to get killed on Ninth. Even if you want to cross … in mid-day traffic, the cars are spread out over all lanes so you have to wait.”

But it appears unlikely Traffic Review Advisory’s recommendation will make it to the council chambers.

On the contrary, City Manager Mark Rohloff said modern signal equipment was requested in the 2014 Capital Improvement Program, but he pushed it back to 2016 for borrowing reasons. (The construction of the central garage and continued road and sewer construction is taxing the city’s debt capacity at present.)

As he so eloquently put it in his Weekly Newsletter on Sept. 20:

“While I respect the analysis and review that has been done by the Transportation Department and the Traffic Review Board, I also recognize the political realities that resulted in Council approving this temporary signal to remain in place.”

In short: The signal stays.


About Jeff Bollier

Jeff Bollier is an award-winning public affairs reporter for the Oshkosh Northwestern who covers everything from city hall to business. As Streetwise, Jeff delivers updates on the comings and goings of Oshkosh's retail and business world. Jeff is an avid Instagram and Twitter user and a member of the Northwestern Bacon Team.
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