ALLOUEZ — Thomas Mittelsteadt and his family drive along Highway 172 every week to the Webster Avenue exit, and he said they're slamming on their breaks, fearing an accident every time.
"My wife, driving our children, is consistently having to yield herself at the spot that isn't a yield because of traffic that continues to blow through it," Mittelsteadt, an Allouez resident, said. "We experience near-accidents on a weekly basis."
Drivers coming onto Webster Avenue from Riverside along the Green Bay Correctional Institution are required to yield to oncoming traffic exiting Highway 172, but Mittelsteadt said this frequently doesn't happen.
As a result, he decided to start a petition demanding the yield signs to be changed to stop signs. So far, the petition has gathered around 430 signatures in a week, and other residents have expressed similar concerns.
"When I saw the petition and signed the petition, it was the day before, I had an extremely close call with a gray GMC pickup truck," Jeff Munisteri, a De Pere resident, said.
"Give me the stop sign. I've got a ladder," Munisteri said. "I'll change it out myself for crying out loud."
Mittelsteadt, along with multiple other residents, have voiced their concerns to the Village of Allouez, however, they have no jurisdiction over that portion of the highway. It's under the jurisdiction of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, who said changing the sign isn't the solution.
"If that was changed to a stop control, we'd expect to see that back up into that Riverside intersection, which is going to cause more high-injury crashes along that location and that whole connection point," Mason Simmons, traffic safety engineer, said.
"We would also need to realign the connector to a more 90-degree angle, and what we would see is an increase in the T-bone crashes," Simmons added. "With that is going to come a higher injury rate."
Simmons said there have been 19 crashes there over a five-year stretch, averaging about three to four a year. The majority of these crashes are property damage crashes with minor to no injuries.
He said they currently have no plans to make changes, and the solution is for drivers to be more attentive.
"What we ask is that drivers remember to make sure you're always driving at a safe speed for the conditions, that you're paying attention to the road and the vehicles around you and limiting your distractions," Simmons said.
Mittelsteadt said residents are going to keep pressing anyway because they believe there is an alternative or solution.
"If the DOT doesn't respond appropriately on it or prevent these situations from happening, then our next step would be to go to our local senator," Mittelsteadt said.
"Fix it now, and deal with it later, or deal with it later, and then someone dies," Munisteri added.