APPLETON (NBC 26) — To combat vehicle noise and increase pedestrian safety, the City of Appleton is preparing to implement new changes. One of those being the addition of a Traffic Safety Police Unit. It's a separate division that doesn't take away from the original department.
“We were pulling out resources from the north side of the city, the south side of the city to come deal with those [traffic] complaints," said Chief Todd Thomas. “We're not able to respond as quickly to calls... People have to wait, victims have to wait. Sometimes suspects get away before we can get to a scene."
The pilot program for the new initiative begins June 1 and runs through the end of the year. Officials will use that time to study and identify areas that may need to be reconsidered. That is, roads with high traffic, like College Avenue and the intersection of Glendale Avenue and Richmond Street.
“We're introducing, essentially, obstructions for people… like a raised intersection or a raised crosswalk... or throwing a circle in the middle of an intersection, just something that forces people to slow down,” said City of Appleton Traffic Engineer Eric Lom. “We're really trying to change that paradigm to a much more, sort of, equal footing, where the vehicles are driving slower, and therefore those interactions between bikes and pedestrians and cars are much safer."
But overall, traffic safety education is what they really want to bring to the table.
“We want people to be aware that there's going to be a stronger emphasis on traffic enforcement in the City of Appleton," said Mayor Jake Woodford.
Each area stresses traffic safety is something they must tackle from all angles.