Sun Prairie bicyclists want safety improvements at Madison road crossing

Peter S. Detmer, Sun Prairie Moves president, said the lack of pedestrian/bike signals and marked crosswalks at the Nelson Road, American Parkway and High Crossing Boulevard intersection is unsafe and discourages use.

The City of Sun Prairie is asking the City of Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) to improve pedestrian/bicycle safety at the Nelson Road-American Parkway-High Crossing Boulevard intersection.

Sun Prairie Moves, a bicycle advocacy group, requested the action after hearing complaints from local residents.

Peter S. Detmer, Sun Prairie Moves president, said the lack of pedestrian/bike signals and marked crosswalks at the intersection is unsafe and discourages use on the main bicycle connection between Madison and Sun Prairie.

“This is a barrier to Sun Prairie residents who want to ride into Madison, and is limiting Madison eastside residents to ride their bike into Sun Prairie to take advantage of shopping and entertainment options our great city has to offer,” Detmer wrote in a Feb. 29 letter to the city.

Detmer is also working with Madison alders and Madison bike groups to find a short-term safety solution.

Detmer cited one bike injury crash at the intersection in 2017.

The intersection is in the City of Madison limits. The city council approved a resolution on March 10 requesting the City of Madison and the WisDOT investigate bicycle/pedestrian study safety improvements at the intersection.

Railroad crossing concern after close call

A Sun Prairie couple wants the city to look at improving safety at the railroad crossing on South Bird Street after a near-miss last month.

The driver, Dan Anderson, reported that on Feb. 13 around 7:15 p.m. he had to swerve to miss a train that was going through the intersection (S. Bird Street between Main Street and Bailey Road) at a high rate of speed. Anderson reported seeing the lights and a warning whistle but didn’t have time to react. Anderson and his wife Kathleen wrote a letter to District 1 Alder Steve Stocker to bring attention to the railroad crossing.

The section of the railroad is owned by WisDOT and operated by the Wisconsin Southern Railroad. The city council can petition the State Office of Railroads (OCR) to investigate the crossing and order improvements

City staff estimated it would cost $20,000 for an engineering study and $250,000 to install railroad crossing gates. The Public Works Committee, concerned about the costs, asked city staff to look at other options to make the railroad crossing safer.

City staff reported a one-vehicle crash, with no injuries, at that railroad crossing in 1982.

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