Learning from tragedy: Traffic study conducted to improve dangerous pedestrian crossing in Whitefish Bay

WHITEFISH BAY -- The drivers involved in the fatal car versus pedestrian accident in Whitefish Bay back on May 26th, will not be criminally charged.

A traffic study of the area near N. Santa Monica Boulevard and E. Silver Spring Drive was released Thursday morning, July 30th. It comes after this accident and many concerns raised by nearby businesses.

Whitefish Bay

It can be a busy and dangerous road.

"It was a horrible accident," said TEKLYNX General Manager, Doug Niemeyer.

Doug Niemeyer is the General Manager for TEKLYNX located at Silver Spring and Berkely. He stands by a bench co-workers recently dedicated to 26-year-old Kristen Caves, who was killed crossing the street in May.

Kristen Caves

"The first person stopped, the victim walked across and the car behind bumped into her. Unfortunately, the woman hit the gas and hit the poor woman," said Whitefish Bay Police Chief Michael Young.

Police call it a freak accident and neither driver will face criminal charges. Kristen died at the hospital two days later.

Now, two months after her passing, Kristen's friends are calling on the village to make the area safer.

"Speed bumps would be a great idea," said Niemeyer.

A traffic study of Silver Spring was commenced by the village earlier this year and expedited after Kristen's passing.

An engineering firm out of Cedarburg studied the area, factoring in the eight reported car versus bicycle or pedestrian accidents in the last five years. Experts also looked at the traffic patterns of the 13,000 daily vehicles passing through.

The firm's recommendation is to add yield lanes and better signage. Trees and bushes may be removed to increase visibility, and a pedestrian island may get painted yellow to help drivers see people waiting to cross the street.

Whitefish Bay

"We're working with them to try and come up with the best solution, engineering wise, for the village," said Young.

Niemeyer sees potential improvements, as yet another way to keep Kristen's memory alive.

"She was someone who was constantly striving to be better. That's really what we want to try to embody and remember," said Niemeyer.

Again, the two drivers in this case will not face criminal charges but will be cited. One for failure to yield and the other for following too closely.

The village board will vote on possible changes to Silver Spring on Monday, August 3rd.

If you would like to read the full traffic study, CLICK HERE.