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TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE FROM HELL

The Geneva Plaza Development, Gas Station/Convenience Store/Car Wash and Dunkin’ Donuts, with a drive-thru window, to be built on Highway 50 near Curtis Street, is a study in delay and secrecy. The proposal for this development was initially made at the plan commission meeting of May 21st, 2018, and approved 3-2, contingent on the Department of Transportation’s approval of acceptable merging and passing lanes. The issue did not make it to the city council until almost six months later on November 12th, 2018, and at that point, it was continued until the engineering report become available. The engineering report was announced as available three months later by Alderman Dunn in the Committee Of The Whole (COW) meeting held on February 4th, 2019. The engineering report was drafted almost one year earlier on February 13th, 2018, but the Department of Transportation report, upon which approval is contingent, either has not received it or made it public. The current status of the project, because of this delayed or withheld report, is unclear.

Regardless of that report, there are some severe problems with the Traffic Impact Analysis report of the Geneva Plaza Development at the Highway 50 location near Curtis Street. The traffic analysis report only covered weekday traffic, and it assumed that summer traffic would be 1.6 times the winter traffic that was measured. In blatant, and easily observable reality, however, the summer traffic (especially on weekends) is many times greater than winter weekday traffic. Also, the report, on page 6 states: “Unfortunately, a methodology does not exist to extrapolate gap (interval between cars) data into higher volume summer months.” Which seems to make the summer estimate sound a bit like the SWAG method (Silly-Wild-Ass-Guess) of calculations.

The report did include looking at traffic from the bowling alley entrance/exit next to it, but the report neglected to include the impact of Curtis Street traffic, which is closer to the entrance/exit than the bowling alley entrance/exit, and Curtis Street has a much greater level of traffic than the bowling alley. The report also neglected to include the traffic from St. Francis De Sales Church and School on the corner of Curtis Street and Highway 50; but it appears to have assumed (or concluded) that the by-pass traffic (not stopping) on Highway 50 would be about equal to the traffic entering the Lake Geneva Plaza site, with 1,700 (combined entering/leaving) to 1630, by-passing per day (exhibit 4-1). Adding this estimated 1700 per day on Highway 50 to the calculations makes for a significant increase in the already congested local traffic on Highway 50.

In the report, a level of service (LOS) rating was used to describe the entrance/exits to the facility with an “A” being very good or quick, to “F” being very poor, with a 50 second or greater wait. The report lists the summer weekday level of service (LOS) for turning left (toward town) from the facility, as an “F” with a 416.2-second wait per vehicle (almost a 7-minute wait, and the spread calculation actually went out to almost 10 minutes) on a summer weekday. Those turning left on to Highway 50 from West Drive by the Comfort Suites know the difficulty involved in making that turn.

Picture the volume of traffic similar to the traffic that enters and leaves the Kwik Trip gas station on Williams Street and put that on Hwy 50, and then add the Dunkin’ Donut traffic to it, and anyone can get a clear mental picture that is sufficient to question the traffic analysis veracity and the conclusion in section B7: “except where noted, all movements at the study area intersection are expected to operate safely and efficiently with the modifications described.” Perhaps the best description of the results of this report might best be called “Traffic Nightmare From Hell.”

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