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Concept for Cascade becomes more refined

November 15, 2007

The technical committee for the Cascade Avenue reconstruction will hold its third meeting at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 26, with hopes for high attendance from UW-River Falls students. The meeting will take place in the St. Croix room of the University Center.

Throughout the years, the condition of Cascade Avenue has deteriorated. Additional problems on the avenue include street lighting issues, and a lack of quality in the storm and sanitation sewers. A number of safety concerns were also addressed at the previous meetings in April and September. Community members have voiced their worries about pedestrian safety and their frustration with consistently flowing traffic. There have been a number of close calls with cars hitting pedestrians and cars running into each other as they yield to pedestrians.

With these concerns in mind, the technical committee developed a number of plans to present to the public in September. After hearing input from River Falls citizens, the committee has now chosen and refined one specific plan. The plan, which will involve medians and fences, will be presented at the upcoming meeting on Nov. 26. The goals for the avenue’s concept are to aim for smoother traffic, an improved parking plan, pedestrian safety and an overall pleasantry for people visiting campus, UWRF campus planner Dale Braun said. The meeting will allow citizens to provide feedback on their feelings about the plan. If the overall consensus proves to be negative, the committee will go back to the drawing board.

With the meeting taking place on the UWRF campus, Braun and the additional members of the committee hope to see student participation increase. The September meeting witnessed minimal student attendance, with two UWRF students attending the meeting to fulfill a class requirement.

“I’m hoping students stop by and try to imagine what the concept would be like to experience as a student,” Braun said.

The committee is encouraging all students to attend to voice their experiences and concerns with Cascade.

“The perspective of younger people will help,” Braun said.

These future changes to Cascade Avenue will prove to affect UWRF students directly. The refined concept will prevent pedestrians from crossing the street in any chosen place. Instead, crossing will only be allowed at street corners.

“The plan will limit the places where you can cross,” Braun said.

The plan could potentially include fences which will discourage anyone from crossing anywhere but street corners. There will also be no parking on Cascade between sixth and second streets. Braun said he knows the plan will cause inconveniences, but achieving safety is a higher priority.

“The primary goal for me is to ensure pedestrian safety,” said Braun.

Because of the fact that Cascade Avenue runs directly through campus, it is without a doubt that students will experience the changes daily. The committee says it is hoping for students to attend the meeting and teach them about their experiences on Cascade. They also would like to answer any questions or address any questions that students may have. The committee is planning to take the plan to the City Council in December 2007. Additional information can be found on the River Falls Web site at http://www.rfcity.org.