This past summer I wrote an article as I usually do for the Astor Outlook newsletter. It was just about time for the August issue and the article was titled "How to slow it down on S. Monroe Ave". In the article I talked about how traffic was an issue people talked about. It was about the speed and lack and traffic control in the crosswalks on S. Monroe Avenue Now, as I read the article back I probably should have more clearly defined the greater problem as being between Eliza and Emilie Streets in front of Aldo Leopold School. Well, regardless of my lack of specificity, by the article's end I asked if anyone had any ideas that they think might help solve the situation. I asked if they did, they should let me or an Astor board member know. I did not receive any responses. Neither did the Astor Board at that time. That was August, 2015. On October 28th, 2015 we had an unfortunate car vs. dog accident. A pedestrian was legally and rightfully in the crosswalk with the dog on a leash when the incident happened. The Press-Gazette and Fox 11 news, among others, did numerous stories on the incident. The headlines read "Aldo Leopold parents, students, pushing for Monroe Ave drivers to slow down" and "Dog killed by driver spurs traffic crackdown". As much as the accident pushed the traffic issue to the forefront on S. Monroe, we are still no closer to finding a long-term, comprehensive solution. A meeting that took place on November 23rd highlighted among other things the strong need for safety in the crosswalks. Several residents wanted more police traffic enforcement in front of the school. Others wanted more effective signage and environmental designs put in place to slow traffic.
What is really needed is a combined strategy to solve the situation. Enforcement action alone cannot do it. Captain John Laux explained that the Green Bay Police Department cannot commit two traffic cars to S. Monroe on a daily basis for an extended period of time. Doing this without any other factors in place is not an effective solution. Signage alone will not work for an extended period of time either. As traffic professionals have told me in the past, driver reaction to signs alone is eroded over time. The signs become part of the everyday clutter drivers see, thereby reducing the effectiveness of having them there. Adding the issue is that S. Monroe is a State HWY 57 traffic corridor and a main artery into downtown Green Bay. So how do we keep traffic flowing and keep it safe? It is a neighborhood, and overall a community issue. The dialogue was started November 23rd. Let's keep the ideas, tempered with rational action going until a more permanent solution is found.
The problem won't get solved overnight; it will take some doing. As I said back in August, if you have any ideas that have not been mentioned at previous meetings and want it to be heard, please let me or an Astor Board member know. The best solution might be the one you have thought about or seen work well in another city, and it could work here just as well.
Paul Van Handel
GBPD Community Police • Director NE Wisconsin Association of Community Oriented Policing (WACOP)
Office 448-3143 Ext. 3