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Cascade finally open to vehicles

November 8, 2012

Cascade Avenue is open again.
Cascade opens to the public for the first time since the construction project began last spring in March. (Megan Rodriguez/Student Voice)

After months of construction, Cascade Avenue is finally re-opened.

The redesigned street is now accessible to all once again.

Director of Public Works and River Falls City Engineer Reid Wronski said that the project has finished about a month ahead of schedule.

Wronski said that Cascade Avenue has received a complete makeover.

The water lines, the pavement, storm sewer lines and the sewer lines were all replaced.
The configuration of the road was changed entirely as well.

Wronski said that the main thing that needed to be fixed was the infrastructure. The old road was 77-years-old.

He said that a lot of people were involved who said that the road should not go back to how it was.

In order to get the best results, three separate meetings were held in order to formulate a concept plan.

These meetings were all held on the UW-River Falls campus to ensure that students could be involved in the planning process, too.

There were emails sent out, Facebook notices and notices on the River Falls City’s website to ensure that people would attend the meetings. There were also tables set up on the campus mall where students could share their thoughts.

“We thought it was important to have people in the process,” said Wronski.
Overall, Wronski also said that he believes that the finished project is a good compromise between students, faculty, pedestrians, etc.

Wronski said one problem came with the lights.

The streetlights that were ordered were not the ones that were put into place, so the streetlights up now are only temporary.

High quality ones will be installed in the future.

The road is now more functional, safer and smaller since it went from 56 to 38 feet.

“It’s hard to put a finger on a downside,” said Wronski.

One possible downside could be the loss of free parking, but Wronski added that there actually is more parking available.

He said that pedestrian safety and aesthetics should not come second to free parking.
The project has been evolving since about 2007 or 2008 and there is more planned. Next year, there is a follow up project in place to work with the Federal Highway

Administration and the state to add activated flashers to pedestrian crosswalks. These additions will continue to enhance safety.

Wronski said he greatly appreciates the cooperation and the patience of residents.
He understands that construction is an inconvenience and the University and everyone involved was great.

“Hopefully the vast majority of people think it’s a net benefit to the University.”
Humanities Professor Jennifer Brantley agreed. She believes the redesigned road will benefit River Falls and “anything that will slow people down and make students safer is positive.”