A proposal to set alternate parking on Gerald Avenue from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. is heading to the Sun Prairie City Council for a vote.

The Public Works Committee approved the recommendation Tuesday Sept. 8, trying to edge closer to a solution for safety and parking issues along the street during athletic events on Sacred Hearts property.

Alders have debated the Gerald Avenue for more a year, first bringing up the issue last September after the street was narrowed from 33 feet to 29 feet during reconstruction to allow for parking and sidewalks on both sides.

Sun Prairie Public Works Committee members set the alternate parking hours to cover when sporting events take place. It won’t be known if the solution works until the COVID-19 pandemic events ban is lifted.

“I think it will work but we won’t know until the sporting events begin,” said District 1 Alder and public works committee member Steve Stocker.

The Public Works Committee met via Zoom per the city’s policy on meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. No public comments were submitted to the city on agenda items.

Railroad crossing solutions

After a near-miss and a vehicle-train crash this year, city officials are looking for make railroad crossings safer.

Public Works Committee members this week suggested replacing yield signs with stop signs at the Town Hall Road and other railroad crossings but will instead wait for a safety study to be finished.

The city has requested that the State Office of Railroads (OCR) investigate city railroad crossings and order improvements.

If the agency finds there are safety problems, the state would pay for improvements. It would cost $250,000 to install railroad crossing gates. City Director of Public Works Adam Schleicher said the state has funding for railroad improvements, but it could take 3-4 years for installation.

After briefly considering stop signs at some city railroad crossings, the Public Works Committee agreed on Tuesday with Schleicher’s recommendation to hold off on any improvements until the state safety study was done.

In August, a driver failed to yield to a train and was hit at the Town Hall Road crossing. The driver wasn’t injured and received a traffic citation.

In February, a Sun Prairie couple reported a near-miss with a train at the S. Bird Street crossing and asked the city to make the crossing safer. The driver reported seeing the lights and warning whistle but didn’t have time to react.

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