By Bob Uphues
Getting in and out of the South Hollywood section of Brookfield is going to be a headache for one day next week when the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad shuts down the Hollywood Avenue grade crossing for 22 hours.
From 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27 until 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, no vehicles or pedestrians will be allowed to cross the tracks at Hollywood Avenue because the railroad will be performing repairs to a signal bungalow near the crossing.
"It's going to be a full closure," said Dan Kaup, director of public works for the village of Brookfield.
That's going to mean that for both rush hour commuters and students, the only way in and out of the neighborhood will be via Waubansee Road at First Avenue. And even then, it's going to be a challenge.
Brookfield Police Lt. Edward Petrak said police are encouraging parents to consider driving their children to school on Jan. 27.
"We're recommending parents find a way to get their kids to school," Petrak said. "It's not going to be easy, and it's going to take extra time that morning."
Motorists exiting Waubansee Road can only turn right (south) on First Avenue. Similarly, anyone driving north on First Avenue is prohibited from turning left (west) onto Waubansee Road.
That means any South Hollywood parent driving a child to school will have to go south on First Avenue to Ogden Avenue, then go west on Ogden to Prairie Avenue, and then north on Prairie to Washington Avenue before heading back east.
Students from Hollywood walking to Hollywood School, Riverside-Brookfield High School and Hauser Junior High will be able to walk north along the sidewalk on the west side of First Avenue all the way to Ridgewood Road.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said that in addition to the two crossing guards stationed at First Avenue and Forest/Ridgewood, a marked police car and officer will be stationed at First Avenue and Parkview Road to help cross students at that location.
"That officer will be there the same time as the crossing guards in the morning and afternoon," Weitzel said.