By Brandi Makuskio
A plan to install bike lanes on Stanley St. will move forward this spring.
Public Works Director Scott Beduhn on Monday confirmed the controversial project was moving forward per direction of the city council, which voted 8-2 last October to purchase the equipment necessary to install bicycle lanes on a portion of Stanley St. The same equipment can be used for striping lanes on any roadway, something for which the city had to previously hire a contractor.
Purchasing the equipment was a compromise, according to Mayor Mike Wiza, between doing nothing on the roadway and the hefty $97,000 price tag—$60,000 was previously earmarked for the project—estimated by the project’s sole bidder, Pewaukee-based Century Fence.
The project will convert a portion of Stanley St., also known as State Highway 66, to three lanes, and install bicycle lanes and crosswalks, between Michigan and Indiana avenues.
Prior to Beduhn’s suggestion that the city buy its own equipment, Wiza said he was “seriously considering” a veto on the vote to re-stripe Stanley St., saying the proposal had caused unnecessary division in the community.
Beduhn said the striping equipment cost the city about $50,000. During a project update he presented on Feb. 11, Beduhn said the cost in labor and paint to re-stripe Stanley St. would run about $3,000. By owning the equipment, he “conservatively” estimated the city would save about $12,000 a year.
“We’re looking to begin that project in the spring,” Beduhn told the board of public works on Monday.
During a follow-up interview Tuesday, Beduhn said his department still needs to conduct an additional review of the roadway and traffic control before it can begin painting, and even then it’s at the mercy of the weather.
“Tentatively, we’ll look at the end of next month to do the training on the striper, weather permitting,” Beduhn said. “As far as starting on Stanley St., I’m guessing mid- to late April, but that depends on the weather, too, and if we have to go past May, we’ll probably wait until school gets out.”
Wiza on Monday said owning the equipment would give the city the ability to do its own work, as opposed to hiring contractors.
“That does, however, mean, because we’re not adding any additional staff, some things are going to get pushed aside,” he said. “We’re going to do the best we can with the city staff we have to make sure everything gets done to the best of our ability, all the time.”
The Stanley St. proposal has a storied history and was first introduced by Tori Jennings, before she was elected to the city council, during a 2016 neighborhood meeting at Washington Elementary School. When formal city discussions began about a year later, public dissent was in the majority during a series of listening sessions throughout 2017-18.
During a highly-attended city council meeting prior to the final September 2018 vote, 17 citizens spoke in support of bike lanes on Stanley St., and 17 spoke against.