School objects to road plan

Closing Green Tree would impact Nicolet

Oct. 7, 2009

Nicolet — The School Board took a stand against the closure of West Green Tree Road on Tuesday night, agreeing to send a letter to the River Hills Village Board outlining its objections.

The River Hills board is considering several options to reduce traffic and speeding on the street after residents in July petitioned the board to close it. In late August, River Hills added additional stop signs to the intersection of Green Tree and Jean Nicolet roads in an effort to reduce speeding.

Green Tree Road is an important link between the east and west sides of Interstate 43 and has seen an increase in traffic since construction began on Good Hope Road this summer. However, residents petitioned the board for closure before the road work started, citing a fatal accident on their street. The accident, which was not the result of speeding but from a medical problem, spurred residents to action. They fear speeding motorists could cause another accident.

The River Hills residents want a road closure that would allow access for emergency vehicles and perhaps school buses, but that solution to their problem would create problems for the Nicolet community, according to the letter from the school district.

The district owns two houses on Green Tree Road, just west of its intersection of Green Tree Road. The district rents those houses. Part of the home's value to tenants is the accessibility to shopping and other amenities in the area, according to the letter sent to River Hills.

The district also expressed great concern about the congestion that would result on surrounding roads, particularly West Bender Road, which is in Glendale. Bender Road provides access to Jean Nicolet Road and the high school from the south.

"Bender has tie-ups already at 7:15 a.m.," said District Administrator Rick Monroe.

If Green Tree were closed, the school bus routes would be impacted, having an effect not only on service to Nicolet but to the three elementary feeder districts served by the buses.

The board held a special session to discuss implications of the proposal. The meeting was open to the public but only Glendale City Administrator Richard Maslowski and Mayor Jerry Tepper attended.

Maslowski and Tepper said the city has offered some possible solutions to River Hills, among them offering to undertake a traffic study, consider the construction of a roundabout at River Road, Green Tree and the Milwaukee River Parkway and assist with patrol on Green Tree to help alleviate the problem. Thus far River Hills has not responded.

Keeping Green Tree open is important for fire, police and ambulance services, Maslowski told the School Board, not only for Glendale and River Hills residents but also to some degree for Fox Point residents. In the case of a fire in that section of River Hills, water would have to be brought in tankers from hydrants in Glendale, likely coming via Green Tree Road from large water mains in Port Washington Road, across the interstate.

Green Tree Road also provides access to a Glendale subdivision on the south side of the street.

Wanting accurate data to support decisions on Green Tree, Glendale, at a cost of $48,118, recently hired Traffic Design and Analysis to do a traffic study on Green Tree between Port Washington Road and the Milwaukee River Parkway. The firm will measure traffic volume and speeds during the continuing construction work on Good Hope and after its conclusion, Maslowski said.

Both Glendale and Nicolet have consulted with attorneys about possible litigation that could result from a decision to close the road.

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