Pewaukee village officials establish committee to address downtown pedestrian safety

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PEWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The village of Pewaukee is establishing a committee to improve safety for pedestrians on Wisconsin Avenue, but some of those proposals are getting mixed reactions.

Village board officials say the issue is people often park on the business side of Wisconsin and cross the busy two-way street to get to the beach across the way, often jaywalking to do it.

"[There have been] so many near misses, occurring in fact just this morning. You're traveling through, there's a mother with three children getting out of her car," said Trustee Bob Rhode.

Rhode says that's why some board members suggested removing the parking along Wisconsin, increasing visibility, decreasing traffic.

He says instead, they planned to push people to park behind businesses and in a nearby park.

Business owners like Sarah Stephens at Beach Bum Bakery on Wisconsin say it would be bad for business.

"Every time they shut down the streets we lose 30-50% of our business," said Stephens.

Other business owners, like Twisted Vine Wine Shop owner Brendan Moore, see the proposal differently.

He said on many days, the people parking on Wisconsin are using the beach for hours, not the businesses.

"You come to a place like [my business], you have a great amazing patio, and you can't even see the beach, you can't see the lake, and that's one of the reasons you want to sit outside," said Moore.

Moore and Stephens agree everyone has different needs, which is why Stephens said she's glad the Village Board decided to putt together a committee to look into more possible solutions.

"Get other people's opinions, business owners, citizens, get everybody's input," said Stephens.

Rhode said all of those people and more will be included in the committee.

"Whatever the solution is, we're trying to take into account everybody's needs, which can be difficult, not everybody is going to be happy, and we have to do it in a fiscally wise manner," said Rhode.

Some of the proposed solutions include speed bumps, more time-limited parking, or perhaps fencing off areas of the beach to encourage people to use the correct crosswalks.

Village trustees say they're hoping to have a new, more inclusive plan sometime this winter.

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