It looks like word about Mayor Taylor reconsidering his vote on Puetz Road was accurate. It's on the Common Council agenda for tomorrow night. Alderman Olson did send out an e-mail to residents of the 1st District notifying them of the reconsideration. However, I think there is a ton of political maneuvering in the background that will allow aldermen and Mayor Taylor to wipe their hands clean of the Puetz situation. Unfortunately, residents in the 1st District wanting solutions on pedestrian accessibility on Puetz will be out of luck in the process.
Please take note that the council agenda item right after the Puetz Road reconsideration (Item G24) is regarding another road project, an "extension" of St. Martin's Road to Hwy 100 along Forest Hill Avenue (Item G25). That whole item left me confused for a bit, but then looking at a Google map things started to make sense. Apparently the Board of Public Works found an "out" for the council relating to the Puetz Road matter by resurfacing the issue of St. Martin's Road ending (or some could say continuing since Hwy 100's road designation becomes St. Martin's Road) at Hwy 100 near the Loomis Road intersection, causing unnecessary traffic issues. In this scenario, St. Martin's Road would end in a cul-de-sac by Loomis and the thru road would curve eastward just before the Indian Community School and go to Hwy 100. In the process, ten homes along St. Martin's past the curve will have a longer way to get to Hwy 100, and ten homes along Cascade Drive will now have a backyard transformation from woods and grasses to an urbanized road with a decent traffic count.
This will all come at a hefty price: Between $500,000 and $1 million dollars. A good chunk of these funds would come from a Federal Surface Transportation Plan (STP) grant.
In the meantime, while Puetz Road will be "reconsidered", it only will be in terms of scrapping the whole reconstruction project for the time being. Why? Because the funds that were going to be for the Puetz work happen to be the same very STP grant funds that are now being aimed at this St. Martin's Road project. This leaves the issue of installing a sidewalk on at least one side of Puetz Road in no-man's-land for the foreseeable future. This is unfortunate, since residents and children could use a sidewalk on Puetz, which is extremely unsafe for pedestrians at this time.
What I don't get is why some on the council needs to throw money around for new road projects. In this case, is the new route for St. Martin's Road to Hwy 100 absolutely necessary? When it comes to installing a simple sidewalk along an unsafe road, which I'd consider something absolutely necessary in order to protect pedestrians and potentially save a life, some on the council go quiet.
I'd like to know if those living along Cascade Drive, where the new road will be built, are aware of their backyards transforming. I'd also like to know if residents living in the subdivisions along Puetz are aware that one of their concerns, a sidewalk on Puetz, turned political and that no one will end up winning this round.