APPLETON (NBC 26) — In an effort to create a safer and more accessible downtown atmosphere, the city of Appleton is embarking on a project some are calling the College Avenue “Road Diet.” This project aims to transform the downtown area into a corridor that encourages people to stop and stay awhile, rather than simply driving through.
The key features of the road diet involve reducing the number of traffic lanes from four to three and introducing a left turn lane. Additionally, bike lanes will be striped on both sides of College Avenue, providing a safer and more accessible route for cyclists.
Appleton resident Meghan Brzozowski expressed her excitement for the upcoming bike lanes.
"We come down quite a bit on our bikes, and so we are looking forward to being able to bike down College Avenue more easily," said Brzozowski.
According to Appleton Public Works, the inspiration behind this project originated from community feedback.
"It was in response to a lot of community feedback we received regarding aggressive driving noise," said public works director Danielle Block.
Shelley Nystrom, owner of Eco Candle Company located downtown, experiences the noise firsthand.
"It's getting worse, there's a lot of speeding and like racing,” said Nystrom.
She thinks the road diet could help, but still has her concerns.
“I think it will slow down traffic enough to make it more accessible to people with bikes and you know and quieter and all that, I just hope that it doesn't deter traffic,” said Nystrom.
The road diet aims to address multiple goals set by the city, including safety, access and growth. As a part of this endeavor, the city has launched Smart Streets Appleton, a one stop shop that provides information about the road diet and eventually future street projects. Once the lane reconfiguration is finished, the data will start to be posted there.
"This is a pilot project, so we need to report back, and we anticipate that will be about every six months, and it's an 18-month pilot project," said Block.
The city of Appleton expects the road diet to be completed by mid-July.