Neighbors concerned about pedestrian safety after SUV crashes in - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Neighbors concerned about pedestrian safety after SUV crashes into building

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Pedestrians crossing the street on Willy Street. Pedestrians crossing the street on Willy Street.

MADISON (WKOW) -- People in one Madison neighborhood are concerned for pedestrian safety after an SUV crashed into a popular east side restaurant.

That's because it's the third time it has happened on that street in the past few years. An SUV crashed into the Ha Long Bay restaurant on Williamson Street Friday afternoon. In 2016, a car crashed into Mother Fool's Coffee Shop. And in 2012, a car crashed into Batch Bakehouse.

Speed may not have been a factor in the Ha Long Bay crash. Police suspect it was a medical emergency. Still, community members are concerned, particularly about the busy intersection of S. Dickerson and Williamson Streets.

“This intersection concerns us all the time,” said Susan Detering, co-owner of Batch Bakehouse, which sits on the corner of S. Dickerson Street and Williamson Street.

Detering said drivers use Williamson Street as an artery to get downtown, which can pose a potential hazard for people trying to cross the busy street.

“To be a pedestrian, to cross here, you have to step out into traffic and hope that the car slows down. So it's pretty dangerous,” Detering said.

“Willy Street has definitely gotten much more busy in the last eight years. People go a lot faster than they used to,” said Lynn Lee, president of the Marquette Neighborhood Association and part owner of Ground Zero Coffee.

Community leaders like Lee said solving the issue of speeding along Williamson Street is complicated. One solution being discussed is to add more traffic lights.

“It's a main thoroughfare, so installing more lights could definitely help. But then again it's already congested. Having it become more congested with lights could be difficult.”

“Since the last traffic study, we've have giant high-rises, The Millennial, The Constellation, open over on East Washington. And it's a lot more dense. And there's a lot more traffic going downtown. So I do think it needs to be re-evaluated,” Detering said.

Changing driver behavior is something Detering thinks is imperative.

“I don't want to see a concrete barrier on the sidewalk like a fence. That wouldn't make any sense,” she said.

Detering said she's asked the city to review the intersection and install a traffic light at S. Dickerson and Williamson Street. However, she says she was told they are too expensive.

City or police officials may be taking notice. There are now speed cables placed on Williamson Street outside of Ha Long Bay.

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