City struggles with Panera intersection

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Marcia Nelesen
Saturday, April 26, 2014

JANESVILLE--City Engineer Mike Payne said he doesn't think any businesses affected by suggested traffic changes at Lodge Drive and Milton Avenue are happy with city proposals.

So staff recommended that the council wait until September to weigh in on improvements suggested by a traffic consultant hired by the city. The council will consider the request Monday.

“The purpose of the delay would be to give the businesses in the area time to explore alternative options that would improve the safety of the intersection of the frontage road while maintaining the access options provided by the existing frontage road,” Payne said in a memo to council members.

The city wants to improve traffic flow at the troubled intersection, especially in light of a decision by Panera Bread to open later this year at the former Ground Round site.

Recommendations include:

--Changing the traffic along the frontage road in front of Toys “R” Us to one way;

--Restricting southbound traffic from Panera Bread from turning left onto Milton Avenue or going straight.

Representatives from Toys “R” Us, Culver's and Lions Quick Mart all have said they oppose the changes. Speakers at several committee meetings predicted that northbound traffic would cut through the Toys “R” Us parking lot and that other access points to businesses would be restricted.

Toys “R” Us has hired a firm to develop design plans for relocating the frontage road in front of its building, staff recently learned.

Janesville frontage roads were built too close to Milton Avenue and have caused problems for years. The city has chosen to fix the problems as redevelopment occurs.

This segment of the frontage road is more difficult because Panera Bread does not own the property where the fix must occur.

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