Letter Sent to Willy East Neighbors About Decision on Jenifer St. Driveway Use

Today a letter was sent out to Willy East neighbors; the letter said:

In 2008, we became increasingly concerned for the safety of those who would walk, bike or drive near the store at 1221 Williamson Street. We committed to taking a comprehensive look at the situation, identifying options and making responsible decisions to improve traffic flow and safety for all. As part of that effort we commissioned a traffic study from TranSmart Technologies, Inc. that gave us information on traffic flow and crash information in the neighborhood.

While we were gathering information from experts, we were also soliciting feedback and ideas from Co-op Owners and neighbors. The Co-op used surveys, scheduled meetings, our website, social media, personal conversations, in-store notices, and ongoing input throughto get input and share information. Engaging Owners and neighbors in this process was extremely helpful and we were able to make many meaningful changes on the property that increased safety.

The Jenifer Street driveway that was opened prior to the Williamson Street construction last summer was the most controversial of these changes. An Ad Hoc Driveway Committee made up of concerned individuals who represented interests of neighboring businesses, residents, the City of Madison and Owners was established. The Committee provided additional perspective. In listening to them and many others it became clear that it would not be possible to reach a long-term solution that would please everyone.

After Williamson Street reconstruction was completed, we hired Schreiber Anderson Associations (SAA) to focus on the Co-op property itself. John Lichtenheld of SAA reviewed options for the Jenifer Street driveway and recommended that it remain open. He said that unrestricted use of the driveway for inbound and outbound traffic would be the safest option. This recommendation echoed the recommendation of John Leach, the City Traffic Engineer. I am writing to let you know that the Co-op has chosen to follow these recommendations. This final decision to keep the driveway open for unrestricted use wasn’t one that was taken lightly. We certainly listened carefully throughout the process and weighed the options before coming to this point.

We want to thank everyone who participated in this process.

Anya Firszt, General Manager
Williamson Street Grocery Co-op