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Townsend Corridor Analysis
The Townsend corridor stretches from N. 51st Blvd and W. Townsend St. east to about N. 24th St., where it jogs north one block to W. Keefe Ave. The corridor then continues east to N. Teutonia Ave. for a total distance of a little over two miles. These streets are more residential in character and are excellent candidates for a neighborhood greenway that would create an east-west connection through the Century City area. However, bicyclists travelling along this corridor will still have to contend with crossing higher-traffic, higher-speed streets, many of which meet the corridor at an angle.
At the west end of the corridor, the intersection of W. Townsend St., W. Roosevelt Dr., and N. 51st Blvd is quite complex. Depending on input from nearby residents, techniques like diverting smaller streets or turning them into cul-de-sacs could reduce vehicle traffic while maintaining bike and pedestrian access. Moving east, the intersection with N. Sherman Blvd. would benefit from green bike lane markings to indicate the best crossing position for bikes and alert vehicles to the possibility of bikes nearby. Additionally, bicyclists in the Townsend corridor will need a way to trigger the stoplight, such as easy access to the pedestrian signal button or technology that senses a bicyclist waiting at the intersection.
These techniques could also be applied to the intersection of W. Fond du Lac Ave. and W. Townsend St. To further improve safety outcomes, curb extensions at this intersection could prevent vehicles from turning right in front of bicyclists and reduce speeding due to the tighter turning radius. In the future, as innovative technologies become more widespread, bicycle-specific stoplight signals could give bicyclists a head start through the intersection and make them even more visible to vehicles.
The space between N. 35th St. and N. 27th St. along W. Townsend St. is particularly challenging for bicyclists. While the speed limit is 30 mph, the wide lanes and lack of stop signs or other traffic controldevices enable drivers to easily exceed the speed limit. Additionally, truck traffic is high due to the industry to the north and south of this section of W. Townsend St. Due to these concerns, protected bike lanes would be ideal for this part of the corridor. These lanes could either be combined into a two-way protected bicycle way along the north side of the street or separated into buffered lanes on either side of the street. The buffer could initially be paint or temporary bollards and later changed to a concrete curb. If space permits, plantings along the buffer could improve the appearance of the entire street.
At the angled intersection of W. Townsend St. and W. Hopkins St., the shortcut created by N. 25th St. functions much like a channelized right turn lane for vehicles travelling south along W. Hopkins St. Closing off this small section of N. 25th St. would reduce the number of crossings for bicyclists and lower the chances of a potential crash. However, because vehicles turning right from W. Hopkins St. to W. Townsend St. would then have to make an extremely tight turn, such a change would need to be carefully considered. On the opposite end of the spectrum, this area also provides an example of a road that could be reopened. Currently, N. 26th St. does not cut through the block between W. Townsend St. and W. Hopkins St. Restoring this connection for at least bicyclists and pedestrians, if not all vehicle traffic, could improve mobility in the area.
The shift from W. Townsend St. to W. Keefe Ave. could occur at either N. 24th Pl. or N. 24th St. The first option, N. 24th Pl, is a one-way street going south, so a contraflow bike lane would be necessary to enable bicyclists to travel both directions. However, based on a conversation with a local resident, the demand for parking along this block is quite low and the parking spots on one side of the street could be removed. The second option, N. 24th St., is a two-way street and would not require a contraflow lane. Additionally, N. 24th St. continues southward to provide a connection to other neighborhoods, while N. 24th Pl. stops at W. Hopkins St. However, because a church is located on this block, the parking demand is probably high during services and removing spots could create issues for the residents. More input from area residents could help finalize this decision on where to create a turning point for the corridor.
A traffic circle connecting either N. 24th Pl. or N. 24th St. with W. Keefe Ave. could help direct bicyclists along the corridor and generally slow traffic. While W. Keefe Ave. currently has a number of 4-way stops, additional traffic circles could be more effective in slowing traffic without requiring bicyclists and drivers to stop as often. At the east end of the corridor where W. Keefe Ave. intersects N. Teutonia Ave., intersection treatments similar to those discussed for other crossings would connect bicyclists to existing infrastructure along N. Teutonia Ave. and improve access to the rest of Milwaukee.