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Changes to College Avenue traffic flow could be on the way

Downtown Appleton
Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-01 19:28:19-05

APPLETON (NBC 26) — College Avenue might look different this summer if the proposed changes are approved in April. They're looking to change the current four-lane traffic flow down to three.

“Basically, a restriping project to remove the lines that are out there,” said Danielle Block, Director of Public Works.

The city wants to reduce the road from four lanes to three to add a left turn lane.

“When we put the new lines down, a bike lane will be striped, one through lane in each direction and that center area will be striped for left turns,” said Block.

Currently, anyone trying to turn left slows traffic behind them, but the question remains; would having only one lane of flowing traffic also slow it down?

Shelley Nystrom, the owner of a downtown business, shared her thoughts.

“My first concern was losing some drive-by traffic. People might not want to come down if it's one lane, it's going to be a little slower,” said Shelley Nystrom, owner of Eco Candle Company.

The other major change would be the addition of bike lanes.

“It's not very bike friendly, so I think adding more pedestrian walkways and biking would be really helpful,” said Nystrom.

The goal of these changes is to reduce speeding, address safety concerns, and make downtown biker friendly.

“It's in response to a lot of feedback that the Mayor's Office and city have received,” said Block.

Laurie Koestner, the owner of The Depawsitory, doesn't think this is the best solution to these problems.

“By taking it from two lanes down to one lane, it's going to increase the congestion and it's going to make people rethink whether they want to come down here to shop,” said Laurie Koestner, owner of The Depawsitory.

According to the city's simulations, congestion shouldn't be a problem.

“It does not show considerable traffic delays in that peak hour,” said Block.

The city has budgeted $130,000 for these changes, and if passed in the spring, the adjustments would be made this summer.