Monday, January 14, 2013

Wilshire/Brighton Intersection

We all have witnessed the major street reconstruction around Mound the last few years in our neighborhoods. I appreciate the work done on my home street, and believe a lot of good was done with the reconstruction. There is one issue that became apparent to me last Fall that I need to dwell on today.
Recently rebuilt Wilshire/Brighton intersection
Brighton Blvd is the neighborhood street on the Island that connects Wilshire to Tuxedo Blvd. It's an old street, initially built for the people that live there. At first glance, it looks like it would be a great street to live on. It goes next to Wychwood Beach/Commons, a public beach near Wilshire, and Swenson Park. It's laid out nicely, following the contours of the hills and meanders around the intial cabins and homes built there.

Brighton Blvd in red, Wilshire (north side) and Tuxedo (south) in green.

Unfortunately Brighton Blvd is also a shortcut, that connects Wilshire to Tuxedo, and get's lots of use for people wanting to cut through the neighborhood. There is a palatable sense of disrespect for the neighborhood and street users by the automobiles that go through here everyday. Despite the fact it's a narrow street, houses close to it, Swenson Park, sharp turns and people on it, cars drive through too fast. I would've hoped that this could have been improved during the reconstruction of this street last year, possibly with stop signs, paint, police enforcement, and at worse, speed bumps, but I fear it was rebuilt the same way, and could possibly be worse at the intersection I'm about to focus on.

For the last five years, I have walked a group of small children from my house, along Wilshire to Brighton so we could play at Swenson Park. We only did it a couple times a summer, in part, because of the disrespectful traffic on the streets. One of the worst parts about the walk was crossing from Wilshire to get to Brighton. Wilshire has barely tolerable walking shoulders for the most part, with the exception of the bridge, which has sidewalks, but traffic still rushes by making a person feel insignificant. Brighton, is a better street, but the intersection of Wilshire and Brighton was (before reconstruction of Brighton) a nightmare.

Intersection of Wilshire/Brighton before reconstruction last summer.
Now the city of Mound just invested in rebuilding Brighton, and they changed how this intersection works, the main change is stopping Brighton traffic who are going east. Right before the snow fell last Fall, I walked my daughters out this way for the first time since they finished construction. It appears that there is still little consideration of people (engineers call them pedestrians) on this intersection.

Walking eastbound on Wilshire, to then cross Wilshire to get onto Brighton, now one has to walk onto a turn lane.

Someone walking eastbound would have to cross here. Where are they supposed to walk?
Walking westbound, on Brighton, to then just walk on to Wilshire, there is no accommodation for people. A person has to hug the curb, while cars coming at you from Wilshire have no need to slow down.

Walking westward here, note the sidewalk coming to an abrupt end/beginning.
The same mailboxes from the previous picture. It's clear the priority of this intersection is that cars move fast through here. It feels that there was no consideration of people here. 
The point of all this is that when our city starts reconstruction of the MSA streets in a year, will the focus remain on getting cars to move fast, or will it focus on creating an atmosphere for people, and for a neighborhood the street is on. I worry that this intersection is a sign that people are not a consideration of the engineers rebuilding our streets.