The City of Brookfield fails to keep roads safe

Yesterday I discovered one of the roads providing access to Capitol Hill Senior Apartments on the NW corner of Capitol and Calhoun has been left unplowed.


There’s a lot of confusion over who has the responsibility, but I’ll argue either way that burden lies with the city.

First, I found the road was dedicated to the City of Brookfield on December 16, 2008. From the Common Council Minutes:

22) Resolution approving the Dedication of Public Facilities for Fairview Centre (Commonwealth Partners, developer): roadways. Resolution No. 7999-08*

The woman I spoke with this morning thought the road was private. That dedication no longer makes it a private road. It was built by the developer, but given to the taxpayers. It’s easy to assume that means we have to maintain it. (A lot of subdivision roads are managed the same way.)

The one glitch would be if the developer’s agreement made with the original approval stipulated the road would be plowed by the developer. I think in this case no specific plan was ever made. Here’s the ordinance for the rezoning. (Hmmm. February 2006. Wouldn’t this be out of date now? They’d have to come back and do it again?)

Even if the developer were to do the plowing, it’s still the city’s responsibility under the Director of All Things cap of code enforcement to makes sure the job’s getting done. If not the city should be plowing and charging the developer for not doing his job.

City Fails. No way around it.

Two points that need to be made:

1) As I said in the comments from another post, the woman who died on Capitol Drive yesterday was a resident of Capitol Hill but usually used Beaufort instead of the side road. It probably didn’t make any difference.

2) I ALWAYS kept up with stuff like this as an alderman. The two we have in the 2nd district now do absolutely nothing but travel to city hall a couple of times a month and collect their paychecks. Reddin and Owen have a responsibility to do the job well if they want the job at all. Get off your backsides gentlemen and take care of this district.


  1. Cindy,

    I happened on the accident scene on my way to church, just before emergency vehicles arrived. Several 2nd District residents should be commended for their efforts in yesterday’s accident, including Shirley & Jeff McCarthy, Bob Zoephel, and Tracy & Brian Dati, all of whom with several other passersby lent assistance prior to the arrival of police and paramedics. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased.

    While the accident investigation has yet to be been finalized, I have no reason to believe the accident was a result of road conditions. Our Director of Public Works, Tom Grisa, reported that the department called in a main road crew on Saturday night at about 10:00 PM and a full crew to start at 1:30 AM. The crews sanded and salted all roads because of the freezing rain. This operation was completed by about 5 or 6 in the morning. The city does not maintain Capitol Drive; it’s a state highway so the County has that duty. At the time of the accident it appeared to me that the roads were in good condition due in large part to the City’s actions and actions taken by the County on Capitol. (Police had actually blocked roads in Elm Grove that same morning at about the same time due to icy conditions.)

    The unplowed road you refer to is Cresthill Drive. Cresthill is a private road traversing a yet to be developed site. The responsibility to plow this road lies with the developer per the developers agreement. If they do not plow, the City has the right to do so and charge the landowner, though it is always in the city’s best interest that the private party does the plowing. Tom Grisa also reported that as of Saturday night, the City had not received any calls for any snow complaints for Cresthill Drive, but had received complaints for City streets in other locations. The City had no reason to believe that there was any problem with this private road.

    Our Inspection Services Department is responsible for enforcement, but in this case (a road through undeveloped property) had no knowledge without a specific complaint. Inspection Services is now contacting the developer to ensure the road is plowed in the future.

    Alderman Rick Owen
    2nd District, City of Brookfield

  2. Rick, you missed the point completely. I stated the road not being plowed had nothing to do with the wreck. The fact remains a publicly dedicated road wasn’t plowed for several days. You shouldn’t have missed that. All your blabber now doesn’t change the fact you let it slip through. Congratulations, though, on your decision to follow up on the issue.

    Oh, and I suggest you wrest your arm away from your own back before you hurt yourself.

    (PS – Your sudden attentiveness makes me very effective, right?)

  3. I think it’s a bit premature to declare road conditions were not a problem, or contributing factor to the accident. If Beaufort was like all the other Brookfield subdivision roads that day, it had gotten a once over during the storm, but a several inch layer of snow, ice and ruts remained behind. Streets around here were just cleaned up in the last day or two. I could easily see someone sitting at that intersection and attempting to ‘beat’ the traffic on Capitol, only to spin the wheels for a fatal amount of time trying to get momentum off the side road.

  4. I see what you mean. I did exactly that trying to get out of the post office parking lot this morning. (Yes, I know, that’s private.) The point being – driving still isn’t dry weather conditions.