North Street and Main Street intersection

This graphic, provided in the traffic impact analysis study conducted by SRF Consulting Group, Inc., shows the North Street and Main Street intersection near the new Poynette Elementary School site. 

The final report from a traffic impact analysis study for Poynette’s Main Street and North Street intersection was recently released and reviewed by trustees earlier this week.

The study was launched last year after Poynette School District Administrator Matt Shappell approached the village about safety concerns at the unregulated intersection, due to its proximity to the new elementary school being constructed near the Poynette Dekorra Fire and EMS Department. According to the study’s final report, traffic operations through the intersection will continue to operate adequately through 2030 and the consultants do not recommend any major traffic infrastructure improvements.

However, the study did propose a few enhancements to alert motorists of potential pedestrians at the intersection and provide comfort to pedestrians. Those improvements are installations of:

  • Crosswalk markings on the west and south approaches of the intersection to provide a designated space for pedestrians to cross;
  • ADA-compliant ramps and curb cuts on the south approach of the intersection;
  • School crossing advanced warning and school crosswalk signs near the intersection to inform motorists about potential activity. The study recommended officials consider providing an active warning system, such as flashing beacons, to “further enhance the visibility” of these signs.

In addition to those three recommendations, the study’s findings also led consultants to suggest officials contemplate making the intersection an all-way stop, in order for “all intersection users (to) understand what turning movement each vehicle will be performing.” According to the study, drivers heading westbound on North Street may not use their left turn signal to continue onto Main Street (County Highway CS/Q), as that is the more traveled route. That factor could lead to confusion for the intersection’s users as it would be unclear if those vehicles are turning left to go south or continuing straight, headed west, if no turn signal is used. An all-way stop could remedy those situations, according to the study.

According to Village Administrator Martin Shanks, the study also encouraged the construction of the village’s proposed North Street asphalt path, which would take pedestrians off the street. That project, originally planned to be constructed this year, would connect to a six-foot asphalt path created by the school district in front of the new school. During a meeting earlier this month, some village officials debated the need for the path, which would run down to U.S. Highway 51.

During the Jan. 27 committee of the whole meeting, Shanks explained that any junction improvements supported by trustees would have to be approved by the Columbia County Highway Commission, due to the county’s jurisdiction over County Highway CS/Q, which is part of the intersection. If the commission backs the proposed improvements, then the board can decide what they’d like to install, as the village is financially responsible for the changes.

Trustee Jerry Burke said he believes the county will support the three enhancements related to pedestrians, but won’t go for the addition of an all-way stop configuration. After Trustee Steve Mueller said the all-way stop suggestion was the most appealing to him, Burke went on to say the other improvements will be enough to mitigate potential issues, “especially when you consider the school district will have crossing guards there.”

When asked by Trustee Chris Polzer if Poynette Police Chief Eric Fisher had weighed in on the study’s results, Shanks said Fisher had no issues with them. Shanks said village officials were involved with the research.

During the subsequent village board meeting on Monday, trustees voted unanimously to approve a resolution supporting the recommendations and conclusions of the traffic impact analysis. The resolution requests the county highway commission allow the village to install all-way stop control, crosswalk markings, curb cuts, ADA-compliant ramps and advanced warning signs alerting motorists of the crosswalk. Village President Diana Kaschinske and Trustee Judainne Stronach were absent during the meetings.

In other news, the village board:

  • Approved authorizing the use of Edvest College Savings Plans as a village employee benefit, which allows for individuals to make payroll contributions to a savings account used for future education expenses of a child or grandchild.
  • Heard from Shanks about phase two in Research Projects’ expansion plan, which is a 60,000 square foot addition to the company’s 300 building. The site plan for the second phase was recently approved by the village’s plan commission. Research Products began construction on a new distribution center in Poynette last spring.

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