Like it or not Franklin, you’re getting another roundabout

Image result for image, photo, picture, wi roundabout

The Franklin Common Council voted 3-3 at its April 17, 2018 meeting to approve financing the design of a roundabout at 51st and Drexel just north of Franklin High School.

Aldermen Steve Taylor, Kristen Wilhelm and Mark Dandrea voted YES. Aldermen Dan Mayer, Mike Barber, and John Nelson voted NO.

Mayor Steve Olson then broke the tie by voting in favor.

The city will now spend $89,933.78 to have the firm R.A. Smith design a one-lane roundabout at the intersection.

The resolution presented to the council at the meeting noted that 51st and Drexel is a heavily congested intersection in Franklin. The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) in its analysis of the intersection determined that a single lane roundabout design is the most appropriate solution for that location.

Prior to the vote some residents spoke in opposition.

One woman said during the citizen comment period the proposed roundabout was  “too close to the high school and fire station.” She asked other residents to attend the meeting to speak out they told her it wouldn’t do any good.

“They don’t listen to us, they already have their minds made up,” she was told.

Another woman voiced concern that accidents would increase at the intersection because of a roundabout.

Mayor Olson said the issue boiled down to leadership.

“You make your decision based on what’s best for the community in the long term.”

Aware that motorists may not know how to maneuver the roundabout, including senior citizens (Claire Meadows Senior Apartments is right down the street on 51st), Olson noted that he recently traveled to Rome, drove through a roundabout there, and he was “just fine.”

Well then, I guess the entire matter is settled, right?

Olson continued with a statement I believe probably required more thought.

“Seniors complain they don’t like roundabouts. Well, how much longer are they going to drive? I’m sorry. It’s a plain fact,” said Olson.

Alderman Steve Taylor argued doing nothing is not an option and that motorists would be able to handle the roundabout.

“I think the residents of Franklin are pretty smart,” said Taylor.

Now that the design services have been approved the issue is just a formality. Next will be the actual construction that is planned to begin after the last day of school for the 2018-19 school year (June 7, 2019) with the project set for completion prior to the start of school that fall (mid-August 2019).

My thoughts:

I don’t like roundabouts and never have, even though I know how to drive in them. I recall how the roundabouts in New Berlin caused mayhem.

I’d love to hear more concrete evidence/data that the roundabouts a) will work, although government agencies like the state DOT have always been wildly pro-roundabout and b) if this one is absolutely necessary.

Many years ago on my old blog on FranklinNOW I posted figures I received from the Franklin Police Department about accidents within a period of several years that occurred near the high school, including the 51st and Drexel intersection. The number was incredibly small, not even noteworthy. This aspect was never brought up at the meeting.

On April 17, the Common Council did what it does best. It voted to spend a lot of money that I submit could very well be unnecessary and result in less, not more safety.

And no one, no one has been more publicly supportive of Mayor Olsen than me. But his tie-breaking vote was disappointing.

13 thoughts on “Like it or not Franklin, you’re getting another roundabout

  1. Did you (FCC) know that roundabouts started in Europe and Europe is now getting rid of them due to drivers not being able to navigate them. Just saying’. Maybe you should rethink it.


  2. Unfortunately this is a done deal. The next vote after the designs are in will be to build the damn thing.

    Don’t like it? The city says…tough cookies.

    Do you appreciate all the advanced warning they gave folks?

    The mayor’s comments about elderly drivers?

    If you don’t I totally understand.


  3. It is insane what this city spends money on. Why do we never seem to have a say on things that go on. Time to vote some of these people out


    • The elected officials will say it’s all the on the city’s website.


      But just about nobody goes there for information.

      This obviously was done with the vast majority of folks totally in the dark. I only happened to know because I did check the city website, then went and listened to the tape of the meeting that was posted online. How many other citizens did that, or even do that at all?

      This is why the city and school board can get away with what they do time and time and time and time again.


  4. I personally like roundabouts to speed up long lines of cars waiting at a 4 way. I prefer them over stop lights if possible to save everyone waiting time. I trust people will learn and adapt to this change just fine. Everyone will need to be cautious and watching others. If you have to pause an extra few seconds because someone did or didn’t yield, how is that different than a regular stop sign?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you Whitney. I hate 4-way stop signs. And yes, the roundabouts in New Berlin caused problems initially, but people soon learned to navigate them and the traffic flow is much smoother now.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Being a recent graduate from Franklin High School, I understand that area better than most. I love roundabouts In comparison to stop signs.
    Whether it be a roundabout or a stoplight, that intersection was a problem with a stop sign. The congestion in the morning from 6:30-8:00 and in the afternoon around 3:00 it was awful. I remember mornings that the line heading South would be up over the hill past the apartments. That is absolutely ridiculous all because of a stop sign.

    I say thank you very much to the aldermen and women and the Mayor for voting in a roundabout.

    Whether you like roundabouts or not, it does not matter. Everyone has learned to drive in a roundabout and if you can’t, then you should go get another driving test done because you are causing safety issues on the road. As proof that they work, look at Europe, all over Britain, London, Scotland. I’ve been over in Scotland recently and been a passenger in a car inside a 4 lane roundabout. That is something to be worried about. A one lane roundabout not at all.


  6. Pingback: Stats show Franklin intersection targeted for a roundabout is not dangerous | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  7. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (04/30/18) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s