Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On Wisconsin…..to a better alternative to freeway widening!

Congrats to Bruce Speight, WISPIRG, and the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation for going nose to nose with Wisconsin DOT over the agency’s proposed widening of I-94 in Milwaukee.  It’s a bad project, out of touch with the times and the place, and deserves to be replaced by something better.
My role has been to offer a real alternative for the something better: “The Rehab/Transit Option: A Better Solution for Milwaukee’s East-West Corridor.”  The Coalition formally launched the option at a City Hall press conference today (links to the press release, the full report, and a map of the transit plan all available on WISPIRG’s website here).
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story, with video, slide show, and link to paper here.

The two pieces of the proposal are pretty straightforward.  The Rehab part would replace WisDOT’s unnecessary widening with a rehabilitation project.  The Draft Environmental Impact Statement actually concedes that most of the infrastructure, safety, and operational issues on the highway can be addressed through a rehab option.  The Transit piece proposes a new, high-quality, rapid transit system in the corridor that would provide long-term, sustainable mobility, much more in keeping with the needs of a 21st-century city.  At this stage of the game, the transit plan is very much conceptual, with detailed planning and engineering stages needed.  But hopefully the concept plan will show Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin citizens how major origins and destinations can be better linked by a modern transit system than by an 8-lane (in some places 10-lane) urban freeway!

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