Will WisDOT Propose Expanding I-43?
WisDOT says I-43 has reached the end of its lifespan, and a hit-and-run tragedy on the East Side raises safety concerns.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has spent 50 years maintaining the I-43 North-South corridor, but says the highway has reached the end of its lifespan, and that now is the time to consider options for reconstructing this “critical Interstate link between southeast Wisconsin and the entire state.” The study area runs from W. Silver Spring Drive in Glendale north to State Highway 60 in Grafton. [Here is the “Public Involvement Page.”]
The DOT has maps and studies for the project, and assures us that no construction is contemplated at this time. It also lists deficiencies in the current highway, like the “three lane to two lane transition” at Bender Road.
One “deficiency” the DOT identified and would almost certainly like to eliminate is the mere two lanes running north of Bender. Highway engineers, road builders and suburban lawmakers love three or more lanes in any direction. The two lane restriction was put into place ages ago by then state Senator John O. Norquist. It made sense then, and it makes sense now.
Another deficiency not noted by the DOT is provision for some sort of rail transit on the highway right of way. It also seems to be blithely unconcerned with the deficiencies for pedestrians and bicyclists in using the adjacent service roads that parallel the highway. (Pedestrians and bicyclists are forbidden from the freeway itself, of course.]
The reason for this single northward route is the ravine terrain immediately to the east of Port Washington Road, and the tendency of suburbs to develop as little pods of unconnected culs de sac. There seems to be little interest in laying any bridges through these isolated, upscale neighborhoods, or in any other way to increase access to and through these hallowed confines.
If you would like to contribute some 21st century ideas about the freeway to the folks at DOT, join them Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 at St. Eugene’s Parish, 7600 N. Port Washington Road. from 5 – 8 p.m., or at Christ Church at 13460 N. Port Washington Road, Mequon, Thursday, August 22nd 2013 from 4 – 7 p.m.
DOT Cites Imaginary Bus Access to Meetings
According to the DOT, both of these locations are served by the “49U, 42U, 63 and 143” buses. This is a deception and a lie.
Neither the 49U, 42U or 143 buses run throughout the hours posted for the meeting. The 63 bus will get you to St. Eugene’s all right, but it never even remotely approaches Christ Church in Mequon. Not by a long shot. It doesn’t even come within 6 miles.
Show up at the meetings and tell the DOT that we don’t need wider freeways to whisk plutocrats to their destinations, but we do need usable intermodal streets. Public Meeting Notice I-43 North-South Corridor
The DOT’s response:
Just a quick clarification. We get our bus routes directly from MCTS. If you enter either of our meeting locations, the routes listed on the press release are what are recommended. Try it out on MCTS’s website here: http://www.ridemcts.com/ (you can even enter arrival times, which I did)
So they are certainly not “fictional” bus routes.
Also, the press release states that “Milwaukee County Transit routes 49U, 42U, 63 and 143 serve these locations. See RideMCTS.com for details.” NOT that every route listed serves BOTH meeting locations.
Thanks for covering the study. If you’d like to discuss it further, I would encourage you to give me a call:
A Two-way Farwell and Prospect?
Art Therapy student Andrea Barringer, 32, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver (since apprehended) Sunday, August 11th, 2013 on N. Farwell Ave. and E. Irving Place, crossing from the Comet Cafe to the east side of the street and failing to outrun a speeding vehicle .
City crews have since painted a long-needed crosswalk at the intersection, but it is not enough. With the increase in pedestrian, bicycle and other traffic, the time is now for southbound N. Farwell Ave. and its northbound neighbor, N. Prospect Ave. to start going both ways. Let’s slow things down.
The streets have been one-way for over a half century. Previously they managed to bear two-way traffic and a streetcar, but the decision was made that the best use of these streets is to whisk people into and out of the neighborhood as fast as possible. This is often quite fast, as anybody trying to cross Farwell at, say E. Albion Place, would know. That’s a 1/4 mile stretch of one-way traffic south of Brady with no intersections, and the vehicles get up quite a head of steam by the time they reach Albion. It’s almost two-thirds of a mile between stoplights in that stretch, which simply does not give the rest of us a chance.
But since it is not feasible to install new streets to cut through Farwell, perhaps the best and only traffic-calming measure would be to turn the streets back into two-way traffic, perhaps (gasp) by limiting some street parking there.