Watch Your Speed: Bayshore Drive is the latest county highway to get a speed study

Elizabeth “Beth” Gauger, supervisor for District 15 of the Door County Board of Supervisors, said she has received numerous letters from people who believe that the speeds on Bayshore Drive are endangering the lives of the pedestrians and cyclists who regularly use the road.

“They are concerned about excessive speeds, close encounters,” she said during the Aug. 9 Door County Highway and Facilities Committee meeting.

Thad Ash, Door County highway commissioner, said he had already been working on a request for a speed study on Bayshore Drive. The route within the committee’s packet showed Frank E. Murphy Park south to Spring Lane, a stretch of the road that’s located within the Town of Egg Harbor. 

However, the letters Gauger said she has received – one couple even purchased their own handheld speed tracker, she said – support lowering the speed limit to a uniform 35 mph from north of the city to Frank E. Murphy County Park.

“The whole stretch [of Bay Shore Drive/County B], one could argue that it be 35,” she said. “Logically, you should probably do the whole thing.”

Bayshore Drive hugs the peninsula’s west coast, traveling north from Sturgeon Bay through the towns of Sevastopol and Egg Harbor, where Gauger represents wards. The speed limit on the road alternates between 35 and 45 mph between the city and Frank E. Murphy County Park.

The committee unanimously approved a request for a speed study on Bayshore Drive. 

Reached a few days after the meeting, Ash said the speed study is done only on the section asked for or in question. The sheriff’s office conducts the studies by deploying speed signs that record speeds and times of vehicle traffic in either direction. The signs are usually in place for a two-week period.

Ash said there have been several inquiries for more sections of County B/Bayshore Drive to have a lowered speed limit. In order to study the  entire distance, he said it would require the speed signs to be repositioned several times because they record only a small distance from where they are located. 

“There will be further discussion at a next meeting when results are in,” he said.

Speeding complaints aren’t confined to motorists traveling on Bayshore Drive. The county has recently received completed speed studies for the following county roads, recommending changes on only one of those routes:

• County M north of Hainesville Road: The state allows counties to reduce speeds on county roads by 10 mph. That’s what the Door County Highway and Facilities Committee recommended Aug. 9 by resolution, which will head to the full county board for consideration Aug. 22. 

The recommendation comes after a speed study was done on County M at Hainesville Road in the Town of Nasewaupee. That stretch of road north of Hainesville Road changes from 55 mph to 25 mph without an in-between buffer. Thus, the committee approved a resolution lowering the speed to 45 mph starting at the intersection of Hainesville Road north for 0.3 miles to the 25-mph speed zone.

A county committee is recommending a speed change from Hainesville Road north on County M. Wisconsin Department of Transportation map.

• County A and County F: The studies in the Town of Gibraltar on County A south of County F, as well as County F east of County A, showed the average vehicle speed was below the 55-mph speed limit on both roads, according to the Door County Sheriff’s Office’s Traffic Survey Summary and minutes of the July 12 Door County Highway and Facilities Committee meeting. 

In addition, the lowest risk of being in a crash occurs when a motorist travels at or near the 85th-percentile speed, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and that percentile speed was 56 mph on County A and 53 mph on County F. The committee did not take any action to change the speed on those roads.

A speed study conducted on County A and County F led to no change. Wisconsin Department of Transportation map.

• County C west of County M: This intersection southwest of the city in the Town of Nasewaupee has had some accidents, and within the past several months, additional signs have been added or moved; brush has been cleared; and improvements have been made, according to the minutes of the July 12 Door County Highway and Facilities Committee meeting. 

The speed study that was conducted showed that the average vehicle speed was below the 55-mph speed limit, and the 85th-percentile speed was 58 mph. The committee did not recommend any changes to the speed limit, and the intersection will continue to be monitored. 

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