The Comprehensive Plan for the community includes a Subarea Plan for the Lake Center Business District, which is located along the Portage Road corridor from East Centre Avenue to East Osterhout Avenue. The Subarea Plan includes a number of strategies to encourage redevelopment of properties, placemaking efforts and traffic calming.
One traffic calming technique that is being used more and more throughout the country to slow traffic and improve safety for both motorists and pedestrians is the implementation of a “road diet.” A road diet involves reducing a four-lane road (two through lanes in each direction) or five-lane road (two through lanes in each direction and a center left-turn lane) to a three-lane road (one through lane in each direction and a center left-turn lane).
The first phase of a road diet project on Portage Road was completed in 2017 from Osterhout Avenue to Bacon Road where the road was reconfigured from five lanes to three lanes. During the summer of 2020, as the second phase of the road diet, the three-lane configuration will be extended from Bacon Avenue to Lakeview Avenue.
The engineering design for the third phase of the road diet project is underway and includes the section of Portage Road from Lakeview Drive to Forest Drive. The preliminary design involves reducing the current five-lane configuration to three lanes, with bike lanes on both sides of the street. The installation of a traffic signal at Forest Drive, a pedestrian refuge island and crossing at Lakeview Park, as well as improvements to the Lakeview Park entrance, are also planned.
The changes in the roadway configuration will improve pedestrian and motorist safety, reduce vehicular speeds, enhance the “complete streets” efforts ensuring mobility and access for all road users and promote a sense of place with more livable space. The project will not change the width of Portage Road as measured between the existing curbs.
During the September 30 Capital Improvement Open House, public comments were received regarding phase three of the road diet on Portage Road through the Lake Center Business District. Those who were unable to attend the Capital Improvement Open House can view the detailed preliminary plans for Lakeview Drive to Forest Drive at the Department of Transportation and Utilities (7719 South Westnedge Avenue). To solicit more public comment as the design phase of the project proceeds, at least one additional open house will be held on Monday, February 10, 2020. Watch our Facebook page, the city website and future Portager newsletters for details.
Any questions concerning the planned road diets for Portage Road can be directed to the Department of Transportation & Utilities at 329-4422.