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Brady Street Pedestrian Safety Program

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For those of us who travel on Brady Street, whether walking or driving, there are some changes that have been made that will make it a safer area for everyone. On Monday, May 6, a press conference was held at the corner of Astor and Brady Street to announce a new initiative not just for Brady Street, but for all of Milwaukee. In a collaborative effort between city government and the police department, Mayor Tom Barrett along with Alderman Michael S. D’Amato, State Senator Jon Richards and City Of Milwaukee Police Chief Nannette Hegerty presented a program intended to make all crosswalks in the city safer for pedestrians. “The city of Milwaukee is a wonderful place to live and one of the keys to having a successful neighborhood is businesses and families working together. We want everyone to know that they are safe to walk to their local stores,” said the mayor. “If you are in a crosswalk, the right goes to the pedestrian.” “There were 17 pedestrian fatalities in the city last year,” said Police Chief Hegerty who introduced Operation Safe Crossing. “New stronger laws will be enforced regarding motorists yielding the right of way to pedestrians. For motorists who fail to do so, they will be fined $133 and lose four points off their driver’s license.” Police officers ticketed six motorists that morning, in one half-hour, at downtown crosswalks as part of the new campaign. A proposed bill would also double the fines for speeding within the city of Milwaukee. “We’re definitely going to make the streets safer, and hopefully we’ll have a safe summer.” Some changes have already taken place. Crosswalks markings and signs are now a bright yellow, instead of the dull mustard yellow of the past. There is a sign in the middle of the crosswalk reminding motorists that it is a state law to yield to pedestrians. The speed limit has been reduced. What was 30 mph speed limit is now 25. There are also fewer right turns on red along Brady Street and there are “bump-outs” built into some curbs. The bump-outs are extensions from the curb, making it a shorter distance to cross. They are sloped and make it easier for wheelchairs and the elderly, who will also be more visible to motorists. There are plans to produce fliers and educational posters to make sure the word gets out to everyone. Pedestrian safety is not just a problem on Brady Street or even just in Milwaukee. Fond du Lac has recently implemented a stronger pedestrian safety program, and its being looked into in other cities in the state. You may have seen some changes locally already. In Shorewood, the crosswalk that allows Sendik’s shoppers to cross Oakland Avenue is more boldly marked now. In Whitefish Bay, on Silver Spring Drive from Dominican High School east to the Fox Bay Theatre and shopping district, more visible crosswalks should make going to school and shopping safer there. (Another block that could use more prominent marking would be North Avenue between Beans & Barley and the East library, where the current crosswalk is largely ignored by motorists.) “By this time next year, any pedestrian in any crosswalk in the city will force the drivers to yield,” said Alderman Michael S. D’Amato at the May 6 press conference.
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