The Monona Rag

Dealing the Dish on Monona, Wisconsin

Category: Winnequah Road

$17.2 million pedestrian bridge approved for Winnequah Road

In a move to improve pedestrian safety in Monona, the city council has approved a foot bridge that will help citizens safely cross Winnequah Rd. The $17.2 million structure will be located between the intersections of Graham and Frost Woods.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said a local resident.

Construction of the bridge will begin this spring, said Mayor Bob Miller. “We hope to have it completed by mid-fall.”

The bridge is the final compromise on pedestrian safety on Winnequah Road, where kids are struck by speeding cars “at an alarming frequency” said Alderman Chad Speight. “We estimate that, without this bridge, Monona’s population will dwindle by about 7% due to deaths on Winnequah Road.”

The new bridge will be state of the art – pleasing to the eye as well as functional.

“On the west side of the bridge there will be a handicap accessible bathroom at the base,” said Alderman Jeff Wiswell. “No longer will fear of bladder issues stop people from walking down Winnequah.”

The lights in the bathroom, as well as those on both sides of the bridge, will be powered by a state-of-the-art solar panel system, which will rest strategically on top of the bathroom roof – thus avoiding any unsightly panels sticking up into the sky.

The bridge will feature a spiral staircase on both sides to the walkway with railings made of Baldacian Spanish Steel to prevent rusting. Gold filigree will be inlaid into the railings.

The walkway across Winnequah will be enclosed by strong wire mesh, to prevent idiots from falling or climbing over. A water fountain will be installed at the halfway point across the bridge.

For bikers or those with issue climbing stairs, each side of the bridge will have a high-speed elevator to take you to the top. The glass enclosed elevator will offer a beautiful view of the road as you are whisked to the top.

As a final touch, the bridge is a drawbridge, allowing it to be raised in case anyone driving down Winnequah has their yacht in tow.

“Forcing boat owners to drive around the bridge the extra block isn’t environmentally friendly,” explained alderman Doug Wood.

With regard to financing, Mayor Miller says it will take “No tax increase.” Instead, the city will borrow necessary funds.

The city said that similar footbridges are being considered for Broadway (near Ahuska Park), several locations on Monona Drive, and on Nichols Drive.


Parks Director Jake Anderson Proposes White Tiger Hunt at Winnequah Park

In an effort to raise money for the Parks and Rec department, director Jake Anderson has proposed a safari-like Siberian tiger hunt at Winnequah Park.

“We’ll bring in those big tigers and sell off the rights to shoot ’em,” Anderson told the Rag. The cost of importing the endangered White Siberian tigers was not reported, but Anderson said that hunting licenses would go for ‘six figures’, and the city park’s department would make ‘millions”.

Mayor Bob Miller said the plan was okay with him, so long as Anderson didn’t cut down any trees or shrubs. “I don’t need Kathy Thomas going all ninja on me again,” he said.

When contacted about the plan, Alderman Jeff Wiswell expressed his concern, but did admit hunting a tiger would be ‘pretty cool’.

Alderman Scott Munson was against the plan, until geese were included in the safari, and hunters could shoot as many of the poop making machines as possible.

When asked about opposition from groups, including PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), Anderson just chuckled. “Good luck finding room for that dart.”

Anderson said the proceeds would allow the city to replace the drinking fountain at Frostwoods Park.

Stop sign at Frost Woods/Winnequah to go away

Doug Wood is reporting on his blog that stop sign at Frost Woods/Winnequah will be removed.

A pedestrian crossing sign will be added.

The reasoning for the move is that traffic speeds actually increased between Greewood and Graham after the sign was installed. The percent of traffic traveling 30-34 mph increased from 6% to 23%. The percent of traffic traveling 35 mph or higher increased from 1% to 6%.

I look forward to further battles over speeding, sidewalks, stop signs and so forth on south Winnequah.

Sidewalks in Monona

Sidewalks in Monona? Do we need more?

In 2009, then-alderman Chad Speight made sidewalks a campaign point. Speight felt there were some opportunities in the city to improve safety, especially for kids walking to schools. In many ways, I think this move backfired on Speight. I think his opponents (successfully) portrayed the idea as an example of an expense the city couldn’t afford.

No matter what you think of this move, sidewalks are constantly brought up because of our lack of them in Monona.

Here’s what we think:

Put in sidewalks at the south end of Winnequah. Ripe out the horrible bumpouts and be done with it. Otherwise, I think we are good. Sidewalks aren’t cheap. I don’t like the idea of ripping up yards that don’t need it. And I don’t like the idea of cutting down trees to make sidewalks.

Perhaps there are some other locations that residents feel they are especially needed – but for the most part, the southern end of Winnequah is probably the one place we could use them most.

By the way, no matter what, we need to teach kids (and adults) to walk on the LEFT side of the road. This includes joggers. I can’t believe how many people walk around this town on the wrong side of the road. Rant done.

Monona to consider stop sign alternatives on Winnequah

An example of a Vastu Pyramid

The Monona city council is due to discuss the state of the two stop signs on Winnequah Drive later this month. When the signs were originally installed, the plan was monitor the effectiveness of the signs, and potentially have them removed on November 1st.

But now a new option is reportedly being considered by the city.

Inside sources say that the city is close to agreeing on a plan that would allow small pyramids to be placed at 10 sites on lower Winnequah to see if their claimed positive energy can reduce speeds. The pyramids could be an addition or alternative to the stop signs,.

The details as we know them:

City officials have been meeting with an expert in Vastu. Vastu is an ancient Hindu system of construction and architecture.

The city has reportedly talked with Sushaiel Fatepurra, an expert in Vastu, and a former city planner in Bangalore, India. Fatepurra told the Rag: “I would install them at 10 locations. They won’t be on the road directly but at the corners.  They are working great within Middleton at the new Greenway Station development.”

Fatepurra believes very strongly in Vastu, and his services are being offered free of charge to the city. He said that each pyramid will be 30 millimeters in height and have a copper bottom and four smaller pyramids inside. The location of the pyramids is not being revealed at this time. “I think the high speeds and accidents are caused by our combined negative energies. So we need to minimize or convert the negative energies into positive ones,” he said. “I will energize the pyramids by transferring my positive thoughts into the pyramids.”

Can such a plan work?

“We will see in six months,” said Fatepurra. “If we get a positive result, then that’s excellent.”

“We might even consider removing stoplights on Monona Drive if these things really work,” said Monona’s police chief.

The Rag is offering a prize (an ‘I am NOT Janus Dent Masters’ T-shirt) to the first citizen to find the location of the pyramids – photos required.

If the pyramids of Sushaiel Fatepurra are rejected, the city is considering an offer to let a friendly horse wander up and down Winnequah. Passing cars would be required to stop and offer the horse – who is super friendly – sugar cubes, carrots or tasty bits of fruit. The stopping would force cars to be on alert at all times, and thus slow traffic all along the road.

Solar-Powered Speed Tracking Signs Pop Up on Winnequah Road

Where did these signs come from? And where will they be going?

A reader sent us a note about two new speed limit signs on Winnequah Rd. They were not thrilled about them. Not really knowing what to expect, I took a walk down Winnequah on Saturday to check them out and was surprised to find out how massive these things are.

For those who haven’t seen them, they are located around where Graham Street intersects with Winnequah – not too far from Bridge Road.

The signs themselves are not just speed limit signs or a sign showing oncoming traffic their speed – they are solar powered – making for very tall and imposing signs. The photo (courtesy of Doug Wood’s blog) doesn’t do these things justice. Because of their size, Wood has stated on his blog that the mayor has ordered the signs to be relocated to a less residential area.

I imagine the mayor’s office got flooded with complaints/questions once they became operative.

I do have some questions about these things.

First, they are giant – and thankfully, the homeowners won’t have to have them in their yard for long. But did these people get any say in having these installed in the first place? Perhaps they did, but I would have been mighty annoyed to wake up with them in my yard. Also, didn’t anyone realize what they were approving when they ordered these things?

Second, the location is really odd. The new stop signs are only a block or so from the new Frostwoods/Winnequah stop signs, so traffic will already be either slowing down or just starting to speed up – depending on the direction they are coming from. The signs seem redundant. Why were they put here? Is Winnequah Road in need of traffic controls every block?

Third, who authorized these? How much did they cost? I don’t recall ever seeing any mention of these in our budgets or in the plans for helping control speeds on Winnequah. I believed they were offered as an option, but I never thought they were budgeted and agreed upon by the traffic commission.

I’ve emailed the alders on the Public Safety Commission – Busse and Veserat – and will pass on any information if they get back to me.

Let us know what you think of the new signs. As I said, I was taken aback at their size – not to mention I’d never heard anything about them. For the sake of the homeowners on Winnequah, I’m happy they are being moved.

But we’d love to hear your perspective on the new signs. Also, since the signs will be moved, so let’s hear some suggestions for where they would be effective. The mayor has said they should be relocated to a non-residential or less residential location, so keep that in mind with your suggestions.

Winnequah Stop Signs

It’s been a week since the two stop signs were put in on Winnequah Road.

My initial reaction was it really ruins what was a pretty nice drive.

I have to admit, I hate the stop signs. But I understand why the locals want these. Still, as some have pointed out, we aren’t supposed to use stop signs for speed control – and that’s exactly what these are being used for.

I will miss the nice drive Winnequah – where you could flow effortlessly through the city, see so many great things.

What are your thoughts on the new signs?

Winnequah Road slowdown measures

Monona’s intrepid government has been discussing potential ways of slowing down traffic on Winnequah Road.

Our first thoughts are “how bad is the speeding anyhow”. Now, I’m not talking anecdotal comments from the locals – I’m talking about real tracking data about the speed on the road. I say this because what 25 mph speed limit road isn’t full of speeders? No one drives 25 mph. Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating, but seriously, it seems like every other road in a residential neighborhood in every town complains about speeding.

Let’s just say that there is a significant number of drivers that speed on Winnequah – and speed at a higher rate than they might in other places. It is a long uninterrupted span of roadway – no stop signs, no stop lights, no islands, no bump outs (oh, sorry, we couldn’t resist that one). A casual glance does make one believe that the cars do go a bit faster on Winnequah than other roads. So let’s say it’s a fact.

So, what to do about the death race on Winnequah?

The city council has been considering all sorts of things for years – stop signs, stop lights, speed bumps, human barricades, etc. It seems now that they are leaning toward putting in two stop signs – one at Maywood and one at Frostwoods. We have to say – thank God. Not because of the need to curb speeding (we do want that, but it’s just not that fun), but we are thrilled that the council is considering a simple, low cost option. The ‘bump outs’ are a symbol of overkill – overkill that can’t be fixed without significant cost. Many of the other options – speed bumps, traffic lights, islands – all come at a higher costs, and if they don’t work, come at a high cost to remove (or in the case of the bump outs, a constant reminder of our silliness).

We had heard some talk about non-permanent speed bump gizmos, but it appears nothing has come of that.

Our greatest concern about the stop signs will be the herky jerky traffic on Winnequah. Will it just become a logjam? Probably not, but expect it to be the top city in rolling stop violations once the signs are installed. If you’ve ever driven down Gregory Street – which runs parallel to Monroe Street – you’ll know what we mean.

No matter – be prepared to stop – twice now – on Winnequah.

Bump outs on Winnequah Road

Who had the brilliant idea to do these bump outs on Winneqauh Road in Monona. And even worse, who approved the  things? I mean, common sense should have said they were plain dumb.

The idea is that the bumps outs would cause drivers to slow down as the road got narrower (at least, that’s what I think they were supposed to do). Instead, bikers don’t go up the bump outs, and only crowd on to the road.

Why don’t bikers go up onto the bump outs? Simple, it’s dumb. No biker willingly wants to go up a curb-like ramp and then back down a short time later. Changing elevation, altering the direction you’re riding, etc. all go against the grain when it comes to biking. It’s like a car going through a construction area on the highway – weaving in and out of pylons. Would you do that or just keep going straight if you had the choice?

It’s not as if going up the bump outs is that difficult – it’s simply that they are counter intuitive to what a rider would do. You avoid bumps, you avoid swerving.

I wonder if  anyone asked a biker or two what they thought of these things.

I don’t know how much these cost Monona – someone said $300,000-400,000 – but I don’t know if they were just blowing smoke. No matter, they are waste of money. And that they actually got built is a travesty.