Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Vilas Park deathtrap
The picturesque stone bridge at the west entrance of Madison's Vilas Park was especially busy on the Fourth of July. It's quaint and old-fashioned. It's also a death trap.
Cars come hurtling down the steep Edgewood Avenue hill and often fly onto the one-way, one-lane bridge way too fast. And because they also have to turn slightly before entering the bridge, they often swing wide, occasionally scraping the stone wall. The wall can be repaired, and is, from time to time. Adult pedestrians, wandering young children, runners, bicyclists, and the occasional car going the wrong way -- which the steep incline of the bridge often obscures until it's too late -- wouldn't fare nearly as well in a collision.
I've seen way too many close calls here, and experienced a few in the narrow bike lane myself. The bridge is a fatality waiting to happen -- unless something is done to slow down the auto traffic.
The solution is simple: Install a stop sign at the base of Edgewood Avenue, at the intersection with Edgewood Drive (it would also help with bicyclists coming from that direction). Or, alternatively, put a stop sign right before the bridge itself. The important thing is to make cars coming down the hill stop before they get to the bridge. There is absolutely no need for them to have an unobstructed run at the bridge, tempting absent-minded drivers to get in over their heads. What's the hurry? They're entering a crowded park. If they have to stop, they'll still be moving slowly when they start over the bridge, and they'll be better able to react to unforeseen congestion on the bridge.
If somebody gets killed at the bridge, it might be someone you know. Why wait to do something that would seem obvious after tragedy strikes? Let's do it now.
Use the email button below to send this post to your alder or Mayor Dave and ask that something be done.