By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

The East Troy Village Board considered options for improvements to sidewalks and traffic patterns on the Village Square at the Aug. 26 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Department of Public Works Director Jason Equitz told the board the county’s 2021 plan to redo Highway ES through the village means the village needs to have the engineering for its share in the project done in 2020, so he needed some direction from the board on what they wanted for the square to begin the process for the 2020 budget.

Village Engineer Tim Lynch, of Lynch and Associates, presented the board with two options for the Village Square, both of which included larger sidewalks, more green space on the outside of the square, islands to control traffic, additional parking and handicapped accessible parking.

“A lot of what we’re trying to do is preserve parking, increase the green space and make the square more pedestrian friendly,” Lynch said.

Both options presented to the board increases parking by making the stalls on the outside of the square about 6 inches narrower and changing the angle from 45 degrees to 60 degrees. The parking spaces on the inside of the square should remain about the same, with some possible differences to allow for the handicap accessible walkways.

The board members favored Option 2, but decided that the addition of an 8-foot sidewalk circling Village Square Park was something that they might consider at a later date.

“I think that money could be used better elsewhere,” Village Board President Scott Seager said.

Trustee Alan Boyes, the former village police chief, expressed concerns about traffic turning left onto Church Street when leaving the Village Square heading toward the East Troy Railroad with the new configurations.

Benny Stichmann, owner of Al Smith’s Saloon on the Village Square and village Plan Commission member, echoed those concerns, but noted that the new traffic configuration on the square would be working as a true roundabout with the changes and thought that would slow things down because people coming up Highway ES to the square would have to yield to square traffic.

The idea of making Church Street and Division Street from the square to Union Street one-way streets was floated at the meeting. Equitz said he thought the idea had considerable merit and deserved investigation.

“If you made it (Church Street) one way that would take care of the problem,” Equitz said.

Stichmann said if the village was going to change street directions and other traffic patterns, this project was the time to do it because people would be expecting change and adapt easier.

Lynch said the cost of the project for the village if Option 1 was chosen would be about $350,000 and double that for Option 2 with the 8-foot sidewalk addition around Village Square Park.

The board members were in favor of Option 2, but not with the additional sidewalk around the park, which would bring the price in closer to Option 1.

Equitz told the board he was also in contact with We Energies about possibly moving some of the power lines on the Village Square during this project, which is something the board has discussed in the past. Equitz said he would be bringing back more information on that at a later date.

Village Trustee Forty Renucci voiced concerns about what Walworth County would allow the village to do on the square in regard to parking and traffic patterns and Equitz said he was meeting with county officials soon to show them the board’s preferences and options.


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