Nichols & Winnequah

The Monona Public Works Department has proposed a three-way stop at the intersection of Nichols Road and Winnequah Road after several safety complaints from residents.

After several resident complaints, a three-way stop may be coming to the intersection of Nichols Road and Winnequah Road in Monona.

As it is now, only traffic coming from Nichols Road is required to stop at the intersection. Ordinance 3-21-738, if approved by the Monona City Council, would also add two stop signs to the Winnequah portion of the intersection.

“We’ve had phone calls over the years from residents asking for opportunities or ways to make this intersection safer, and one way to do that is to put in a three-way stop intersection,” said Monona Public Works Director Daniel Stephany.

Stephany said the danger of the intersection lies in a mixture of poor sight lines and high speeds. According to a traffic study from the public works department, the 25-mile-per-hour intersection sees roughly 800 cars a day, with an average speed of 30 miles per hour. At key traffic times, however, speeds reach closer to 40 miles per hour.

The study also found that, on an average day, 60% of drivers passing through the Nichols and Winnequah intersection are speeding.

Yet, Stephany said he wants to make it clear that the proposed three-way stop is not meant solely to control traffic speeds.

“You’ve probably heard before that we shouldn’t put stop signs in to control speed, and I don’t want to give the impression that this request is to control speed,” Stephany explained. “Everybody knows the curve in the road… the speed coming through that curve, in addition to the poor sight lines as someone sitting on Nichols looking north, those kind of go hand-in-hand, so I think the approach is more of a safety related item versus controlling speed.”

Before the proposal sees a council vote in the coming weeks, City Councilor Kristie Goforth raised concerns about confusion the updated intersection might cause for bike traffic.

“What’s going to happen is, bicyclists are not going to stop at that stop sign,“ Goforth said. “[I suggest] we might consider putting something on the stop sign, just kind of indicating either telling cyclists to stop, or that they’ve got the right to roll through,” Goforth said.

She suggested imprinting a message on the stop sign saying ‘bikes too,’ though City Concilor Kathy Thomas said that may worsen confusion for Monona’s younger bicyclists if the new intersection is the only place where stop signs have that message.

“That’s a place where there’s a lot of kids on bikes... and I’m very concerned about the message we send. I think that it is very confusing for children, and I see no reason why bikes should not follow the rules of the road just like automobiles do, it’s the law,” Thomas said.

The new ordinance will be up for discussion again at the council’s April 5 meeting.

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