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City Council plans future reconstruction for Cascade

February 15, 2007

Some consider Cascade Avenue as the main road of the UW-River Falls campus. It is used daily by pedestrians and drivers. On Jan. 23, the River Falls City Council decided to start planning the reconstruction of Cascade Avenue from Spruce Street to Wasson Lane, basically Main Street to Highway 65.

“That strip of Cascade is bumpy and old,” River Falls Journal reporter Debbie Griffin stated in her Jan. 26 article. “It’s graded ... to state-highway specs, not a city thoroughfare. It’s been coated with asphalt and concrete many times over. It lacks good lighting in some spots and boasts no real amenities.”

Interim Public Safety Director Dick Trende said the first time he heard about the Cascade construction plans was in the River Falls Journal.

“This is so early in the process, there is a lot of information that we do not have,” Trende said. “Nothing is really clear yet.”

Trende said street parking will be greatly impacted by this project.

“At this point, I’m not sure where people would park,” Trende said. “When the time comes, we would have plans for where those people could park and we would advertise that in advance.”

Because Cascade Avenue is a city street, it will be the city’s job to fund some of the project.

The state of Wisconsin and UWRF may also possibly be involved with the funding.

Trende said that because this project is so preliminary, there has not been a planning meeting yet.

“I’m not sure where the grant process is, when money is allocated or how they are going to start dealing with it,” Trende said.

Whatever the plans may be, Trende said travel and construction times are the biggest issues.

If the construction was planned to occur during the summer, there would be less people on campus, and it would be easier to handle traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists, Trende said.

“We are trying not to inconvenience anyone, but that will always be difficult,” Trende said.

Junior Blake Ashley said he thinks some areas of Cascade Avenue’s surface are in a great need of care.

Ashley also said it was nice to hear River Falls would be taking action to fix one of the highest traffic areas in the city.

“My only concern is pertaining to the commuting student body,” Ashley said. “If the repairs take place during the fall or spring semesters, that could seriously affect the already-limited parking issues by eliminating parking, or worse, travel on Cascade.”

Ashley said he would like to see a revamped Cascade Avenue.

“Ultimately, this will be better for everyone,” Trende said. “This project will improve the street and improve the overall traffic flow.”

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