RACINE — The city is proposing a study to evaluate three alternative routes for part of State Highway 32, based on recommendations for the Downtown area from a planning and engineering company.
Toole Design Group was hired by the city in May to conduct a $50,000 redesign of Monument Square and a $150,000 study of Downtown traffic and parking. The study was partially spurred by feedback from travel adviser Roger Brooks, who visited Racine County in 2017 and stated that Racine was not maximizing Monument Square and Downtown.
At a presentation in August, representatives from Toole said the key to improving Downtown is slowing down traffic on Main Street. The recommendations include reducing Main Street to a two-lane street, giving more room for pedestrians, cyclists and parking, and changing Wisconsin Avenue and Lake Avenue into two-way streets. They also recommended removing many of the Downtown traffic signals and replacing them with four-way stops.
Any of those measures would require rerouting Highway 32 off Main Street. At a Nov. 26 Public Works and Services Committee meeting, Public Works Commissioner John Rooney recommended hiring Strand Associates, which has an office in Milwaukee, to conduct a preliminary investigation of the three potential alternate routes for the highway.
The budget for the study is not to exceed $28,600, which would come out the Department of Public Works’ paving budget.
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Two possibilities are, going north to south, to either move the state highway route onto Lake Avenue or Wisconsin Avenue once it has crossed the Main Street bridge and then reconnect to its current route at Sixth Street (coming from the south, drivers would still take Seventh Street).
The third option would have the state highway route go west onto State Street after crossing the Main Street bridge, then go south at Marquette Street and reconnect with the current route at Washington Avenue (Highway 20).
All three routes include the Main Street bridge because having that bridge designated as part of the state highway system is a major source of funding for its maintenance and repair. Rooney said Wisconsin Department of Transportation agreed that it wanted to keep that bridge part of the highway in order to continue funding its upkeep.
The Public Works and Services Committee recommended the City Council approve the study at its next meeting, which is scheduled for 7 tonight at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., Room 205.