The turnout was sparse for a public informational meeting on a proposed road project on Highway 42/57 in the Sturgeon Bay area, featuringing roundabouts at the intersections of Michigan Street and Egg Harbor Road. Only a couple dozen people showed up at Sturgeon Bay High School Tuesday evening to listen to the Department of Transportation presentation, ask questions and consider DOT displays. As reported before, the state agency wants to install roundabouts at the two intersections because their analysis says they are safer, more efficient and less costly than signalized intersections. While project manager Jeremy Ashauer emphasized safety and efficiency were top priorities, he also indicated that the state could save about $1.6 million by installing roundabouts, rather than stop lights. Ashauer noted that resistance to roundabouts, while initially strong, usually waned as people got the hang of using them. Some of that resistance was found among members in the audience who raised concerns about traffic bottlenecks, especially during holidays. One man suggested that the project’s funding would be better spent elsewhere and that the current system was working just fine. He also had unkind words to say about the driving habits of drivers with Illinois license plates. Others worried about navigating the circular intersection and traffic patterns during the project. And still others related their unhappy experiences with roundabouts elsewhere. Carmen Schroeder said she was keeping an open mind on the subject…[audio:http://wdor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/N1308.mp3|titles=Carmen Schroeder]
Ellen Knipfer said she was concerned for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists on the busy roadway. She also worried that lack of knowledge could lead to dangerous situations for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists…[audio:http://wdor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/N1309.mp3|titles=Ellen Knipfer]
The DOT is seeking citizen input and intends to return to Sturgeon Bay for another informational meeting. Unfortunately, the sampling Tuesday evening wasn’t large enough to make a statement one way or the other.