An indepth look of Fisher Avenue

Sev­eral com­plaints from UW-Superior stu­dents has encour­aged the Uni­ver­sity of Wisconsin-Superior and the City of Supe­rior to con­struct more side­walks mak­ing the cam­pus more pedes­trian friendly when trav­el­ing to cam­pus from Ross/Hawkes halls.

Fisher Avenue con­nects Ross-Hawkes Halls to the rest of UW-Superior’s cam­pus. But the con­nec­tion lacks pedes­trian friendly path ways. It is five blocks from Ross Hall’s back park­ing lot (lot six) to the Library and Holden Fine Applied Arts park­ing lot (lot seven). Dur­ing those five blocks, there is only one block that has a side walk. Although the stu­dents may walk on Catlin Avenue which has a newly con­structed side walk the entire way from Ross hall to cam­pus, Fisher Avenue is more con­ve­nient if you’re walk­ing out the back door of Ross Hall, or if you want to avoid the high traf­fic area of Catlin Avenue.

Tom Fen­nessey the Direc­tor of Facil­i­ties said he has been meet­ing with the City of Supe­rior for a year and a half to con­struct a side­walk con­nec­tion from Ross Hall to the rest of Cam­pus. He con­tin­ued say­ing that safe pedes­trian traf­fic from the Ross and Hawkes hall down to cam­pus is the num­ber one goal.

Prior to this school year there wasn’t a side walk that con­nected cam­pus to Ross Hall. The city and the Uni­ver­sity decided it was time to improve the cam­pus’ side­walks. “The city had some addi­tional money through the Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment Block Grant Fund,” Fen­nessey said. This is where the city and Uni­ver­sity had to make a deci­sion where to use those funds.
When the City of Supe­rior approached Fen­nessey about using the grant money for side­walks, they asked what he would rather have done, Fisher, or Catlin Avenue. In order to make the most ben­e­fi­cial deci­sion, the city held a pub­lic meet­ing ask­ing the com­mu­nity to join in.

Fisher was put in the spot light as a prime loca­tion so that stu­dents could get off of the traf­fic heavy Catlin Ave, and walk along a more res­i­den­tial street. “The pro­posal was to put a nice wide side­walk along there, new light­ing to match the Uni­ver­sity stan­dard and bring it right into the back of Holden Applied Arts,” Fen­nessey said.
Fen­nessey also added that if it was done the right way, with wide side­walks, that the Uni­ver­sity would take respon­si­bil­ity for the snow removal even though it is con­sid­ered city property.

In order for the city to con­struct side­walks on Fisher Avenue, they would need the res­i­dents who live there to jump on board. How­ever Fen­nessey said, “some of the neigh­bors were gun shy” about the Fisher Ave con­struc­tion. The main rea­son for this was the removal of sev­eral large trees in order to con­struct the side walk. “Some neigh­bors liked it, some didn’t,” Fen­nessey said.

How­ever the Uni­ver­sity and city deter­mined that con­struct­ing side­walks along Catlin would be the best deci­sion, where there were par­tial side­walks already. The con­struc­tion on Catlin Avenue is what Fen­nessey referred to as “Phase One.” But the side­walks that have been put in on Catlin aren’t wide enough for the Uni­ver­sity plow trucks to plow. As many stu­dents found out while walk­ing from Ross Hall, at times the side­walks didn’t get plowed at all.

Nick Stoskopf, a first year res­i­dent in Ross Hall, said “the snow removal on the side­walks on Catlin Avenue seems to be one of the main issues of liv­ing on cam­pus.” Stoskopf added that it made get­ting to school dif­fi­cult, fol­low­ing the tracks of the pedes­tri­ans ahead of him.

Fen­nessey stated that the Uni­ver­sity can’t tell the res­i­dents to plow the Catlin side­walks, but the City can. The City of Supe­rior Pub­lic Works Depart­ment has a strict Win­ter Road Main­te­nance Pol­icy that states “Snow removed from dri­ve­ways and side­walks is the prop­erty own­ers’ responsibility.”

The Pol­icy con­tin­ues to touch on side­walk snow removal stat­ing “Per City Ordi­nance, Sec­tion 28–9.1, the owner, occu­pant or per­son in charge of each and every build­ing in the City of Supe­rior, fronting upon or adjoin­ing any street, and the owner or per­son in charge of any unoc­cu­pied build­ing or lot fronting as afore­said, shall clean the side­walk in front of or adjoin­ing such build­ing or unoc­cu­pied lot or build­ing, as the case may be, of snow or ice to the width of such side­walk by 12 p.m., of each day and cause the same to be kept clear from snow or ice.” The pol­icy states that any owner, who fails to do so, will be pun­ished by a $100 fine.

Fen­nessey is still com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the city about the pos­si­ble con­struc­tion of Fisher Ave, how­ever in order to ful­fill the stu­dents requests of side­walk, the res­i­dents will need to get together and peti­tion the City.

Another issue that stu­dents have become con­cerned over is the fad­ing paint of cross­walk, and the lack of flash­ing lights to high­light the cross­walk areas. The main issue is the cross­walk on N 19th St. that crosses Catlin Avenue. Vehi­cles are able to park on the side of the road along the MWC, but that row of cars makes it very dif­fi­cult for dri­vers to see the stu­dents wait­ing to cross the road.

The city ordi­nance says that a car can­not park any closer than 10 feet to a cross walk, but Fen­nessey didn’t think that was enough. “We went to City Coun­cil to get an over­ride, and backed it up to 20 feet, but it’s still not enough”. Although it may not be enough, the issue still lies in the city’s hands because Catlin Avenue is con­sid­ered a res­i­den­tial city street. The city does in force park­ing within the restric­tions, but in order to move the clos­est parked vehi­cle back fur­ther Fen­nessey says it’s a process going through the City Council.

Images cour­tesy of Brad Phe­now — The Stinger
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