Work on Rhinelander’s Streetscape project to wrap up next year
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Though work on Rhinelander’s downtown Streetscape project has halted for this year, what happens this winter could determine how the traffic might be configured upon construction being finalized in 2017, said city public works director Tim Kingman.
He updated the Public Works and Water/Wastewater committees Monday on the Streetscape work, for which he said there is now “full accessibility to everything” with all the streets downtown now open.
However, he noted that not all the new street lights for illuminating the downtown area at night are working because he said some of them “came with some missing parts.”
To remedy that problem, Kingman said he hopes the needed parts will arrive so that an electrician could come back to Rhinelander to get those lights working before Christmas.
“We’re working diligently on that,” he said.
While the final road work is on hold for this winter, Kingman said a number of alternatives will be looked at that were suggested at last month’s public information meeting for the Streetscape project related to parking and the traffic pattern on Brown Street.
“I think we might want to use this time this winter, while we’re not doing other things on the project, to put out a questionnaire,” he said.
One alternative that has been suggested is having Brown Street made into a one-way street downtown with diagonal parking on both sides, rather than the current layout of having a two-way street and parallel parking on one side and diagonal parking on the other.
“I think what it really gets down to is there are different options available that there would be no expense for,” said committee member Mark Pelletier. “It’s just a question of where the striping goes in. If it was going to end up being a one-way (street) with angle (parking) on both sides and one-way (traffic) down the middle, it’s the exact same setup. It’s all how the paint goes on after the next coat of blacktop.”
In the event Brown Street would be converted for one-way traffic downtown, Kingman said the direction preferred by the fire chief and former police chief would be to route traffic from the north to south because of public safety concerns to respond to an emergency.
Though all the traffic lights have been installed along Davenport Street, Kingman acknowledged there are “some deficiencies” as to how they are operating.
“Right now we are waiting for some parts to put into Stevens Street, so there isn’t such a long wait,” he said. “Right now it’s a timed intersection.”
At the intersection of Davenport and Brown Street, Public Work Committee member Steve Sauer noted a constant beeping has been going on that doesn’t change according to the traffic lights.
“It’s just a constant, beep, beep, beep, beep, no matter which direction is walk and which direction is stop (for pedestrians),” Sauer said, “which would mean that if someone was blind, and they got to that corner, there’s no way for them to know what meant what.”