June 12, 2019 – West Bend, WI – The proposed Kwik Trip at 1610 E. Washington Street in West Bendwas a hot topic at Tuesday night’s Plan Commission meeting. Aside from public hearings on zoning and conditional use permits there was a lengthy discussion on whether traffic signals were necessary at the intersection of Schoenhaar Drive.
Motorists in West Bend realize there is already a traffic signal at E. Washington Street and River Road. Installing another traffic signal at Schoenhaar Drive could create a lot of stop-and-go within a one-block radius. Right now, River Road is the last signal for motorists headed east out of town. Those headed west would hit another signal about a half mile up the road at Highway 33 and Indiana Avenue.
Plan Commission member Jed Dolnick said he would have a difficult time voting in favor of the development without first seeing a traffic impact analysis and what would happen to businesses on the south side of E. Washington Street.
City engineer Max Marechal said they did review a traffic impact study and a signalized intersection at Schoenhaar Drive was one of the first things discussed.
“All of the improvements will go through a plan review and we will make sure those improvements match our standards and then my office will oversee those improvements,” said Marechal.
Dolnick questioned how the signals would be synchronized within a one-block radius and then he opened the door on roundabouts.
“I hate to blaspheme but I wonder if a roundabout would be appropriate at Schoenhaar Drive instead of a signal so close to River Road,” he said. “I’m sure if you’re Kwik Trip their heads are exploding now because a roundabout is really expensive.”
Marechal basically said a roundabout is more expensive and requires more property.
“It’s more expensive than a traditional intersection because it requires substantially more real estate and then I would anticipate the need to purchase private property in order to install a roundabout at this location,” Marechal said. “At this point without substantial actions a signalized intersection is the best option at this time.”
Plan Commission member Rich Kasten asked of there was a way to modify traffic flow so the city could avoid a signal at Schoenhaar Drive.
“We don’t like to have signal intersections close to each other,” said Marechal. “Look at the distance between Main and Paradise and then a signal by Meijer. Sometimes we don’t have a choice, but we do regularly have traffic counts done and look at if we can refine signal coordination.”
Plan Commission member Chris Schmidt questioned which entrance/exit to the Kwik Trip would be used the least. Early indications were it would be the entrance/exit off Schoenhaar Drive.
“If you put a traffic light at Schoenhaar Drive and it’s the least used of the three entrances then I don’t see the need for it (the traffic signal),” he said.
The Plan Commission ended up voting to move forward with development of a Kwik Trip on E. Washington Street.
The approval came with four contingencies
Approval of a site plan for all required improvements prior to the issuance of the conditional use permit.
Approval of a traffic impact analysis.
Approval of a certified survey map combining the three lots.
Approval of the zoning amendment and 2020 Comprehensive Plan for the development.