Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


SEWRPC to consider freeway expansion funding

Story Hill has an update on the continuing debate surrounding freeway expansion in Milwaukee.

At issue continues to be whether or not to fund expansion of some of Milwaukee's freeways to eight lanes. Such a project would involve the destruction of many existing homes and businesses. One of the most controversial parts of expanding I-94 near Miller Park would be that it involves removing graves from the Wood National Cemetery where American veterans are buried.

The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) will meet March1 to consider whether or not to remove 19 miles of the expansion from the regional transportation plan.


At 2/11/2006 08:36:00 AM, Anonymous sheldn said...

I think the SEW part of SEWRPC is South East Wisconsin. The solution to me needs to recognize where the growth has been and will be for the near future... outside of Milwaukee County. It can be argued that Milwaukee does not want growth and has seen a decline in manufacturing and other business.

Some suggestions are a plan that recognizes that the counties outside of Milwaukee and in SEWRPC area is...
1.) Finish the I-894 N segment. Buildings were cleared along North Ave in the 70s to do this.
2.) Build a new (yes new) segment from Racine to the West of Waukesha (Hwy 20 to 83). Call it I-243.
3.) Plan for a I-243 north segment for the by-pass of Milwaukee in the greater SEW region. Base this on the desire of Washington and Ozaukee Counties to grow.

I am not a traffic planner (nor do I play one on TV), but this plan would cut the traffic through Milwaukee / Marquette interchange by 50% (your guess here) and eliminate the need to have 4 lanes (with future need for 5) in the I-94 segment between Waukesha and Milwaukee. It would foster growth and economic prosperity in the areas of the highway and in the Counties that want it.

At 2/11/2006 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

SEWRPC does stand for Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. See homepage.

As far as growth inside Milwaukee goes, it's done pretty well without freeway expansion to this point. Compare downtown, the east side, Bay View, Walker's Point to where they were 20 years ago. The future of the city lies in diversifying its economy, and continued residential growth to drive commercial investment. Tearing down existing businesses and homes to accomplish growth and save suburbanites 5 minutes on an average commute is akin to destroying the village to save it.

As far as planning new freeways goes, I don't see that happening. When the Interstate highway system was constructed, the federal government paid 90 cents on the dollar to states to have them built. As they get older and will need to be rebuilt, I don't see the feds paying that kind of money again and I don't see people rallying to raise the gas tax to pay for new freeways.

At 2/12/2006 08:05:00 AM, Anonymous Ben said...

It's true. Within 2 years after building 794, the Third Ward declined so badly the city considered rezoning it as a red-light district.

Freeways do not disperse traffic. They condense it. And by displacing often lower income families. All to reward suburbanites for not living in the city, the very engine of our economy, by cutting an already average commute time of 25 minutes.

You have the right to live where you want. But I never understood how the great conservative western suburbs could drape themselves in the flag one minute and then dig up veterans grave the next, zipping downtown in their SUVs.

Read Wealth of Cities. It's by one of the country's leading Urban Planners. And lo, a pro-business Democrat.


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