City Beat

Episode 009 – Light the Hoan

Is it worth it? Campaign members join the show to make their case.

By - Jan 24th, 2019 06:13 pm
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With so many pressing priorities in Milwaukee, why should the philanthropic community focus on installing lights on the Hoan Bridge over Milwaukee’s harbor?

Light the Hoan campaign members Ian Abston, Lori Richards and Greg Marshall join Urban Milwaukee’s weekly podcast City Beat to make their case.

Host Jeramey Jannene learns more about what the vision is for the campaign and why all of Milwaukee should care.

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The show is recorded live on Tuesday’s at Riverwest Radio. If you want to listen live, tune it to 104.1 FM or RiverwestRadio.com Tuesday’s at 3:30 p.m. Or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or a number of other podcast platforms.

Articles Referenced

Music – Light Corporate by Masteck Media – https://soundcloud.com/masteck_media. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Categories: City Beat

2 thoughts on “City Beat: Episode 009 – Light the Hoan”

  1. David says:

    I’m disappointed Jeremy, by how conspicuously you’ve avoided bringing up an article you yourself wrote in 2009.

    https://urbanmilwaukee.com/2009/08/17/hoan-bridge-tear-down-another-freeway-in-milwaukee/
    – best line in that article “the odds of a large amount of development occurring in all of Walker’s Point in the ten to twenty years are relatively slim”

    The Hoan Bridge was originally a bridge to nowhere. (See this fantastic history of the bridge from The Shepherd Express – https://shepherdexpress.com/news/what-made-milwaukee-famous/bridge-nowhere-brief-history-hoan-bridge-part-i./#/questions). When it was finished in 1974 it didn’t open to traffic because the Federal Government had decided it wasn’t useful enough to justify the extra money. It didn’t open to traffic until 1977 and wasn’t connected to I-794 until 1998! Flash forward to 2008 and the State was still considering whether or not the bridge was worth keeping.

    The Hoan Bridge is a relic of 1960s bad(anti) urbanism, funded by the Federal Government with the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956; one of the most devastating Federal programs in the history of cities. It was originally envisioned as part of a steel and concrete noose around downtown. The defeat of the northern stretch of that system is considered one of the great success stories of the city. Clybourn Street was once the heart of the Milwaukee’s LGBT community long before it was safe to admit it. When I-794 was built, largely to retroactively grant the Hoan Bridge a purpose, that historic stretch of the city was converted to a wasteland of parking lots.

    So why on Earth would we put lights on this monstrosity? Those lights are going to be dumping energy, mostly powered by coal and almost entirely by fossil fuels, straight into the air to champion possibly the worst thing to ever happen to downtown Milwaukee.

    If you tear the beast down instead you open up a stretch of the city sandwiched between the central business district and the most vibrant neighborhood in the city. Image how much more attractive that vacant parcel surrounded on three sides by highway would be if it was instead separated from Summerfest by a park. That would be a grand place for a signature tower. We can light that up instead.

  2. Jeramey Jannene says:

    @David – No deliberate attempt on my part to not mention that article.

    As I concluded in my article, the east-west stretch of Interstate 794 is what needs to go. The land between East Town and the Third Ward is where the value is. Part of that was realized already with the reconfiguring of the Lake Interchange, which created that multi-acre development site.

    Personally, I favor eliminating the north-south Hoan Bridge for long-term savings (or replacing it with a much smaller bridge), but I understand, given its recent rebuilding and dedicated constituency of south-side supporters, that is a losing battle. Putting lights on it at least makes it a highly-visible, skyline-defining symbol for the city (similar to the art museum expansion). The energy for the LED lights (and this I should have asked about) is likely minuscule compared to the vehicles driving over it.

    As for my Walker’s Point development take, ouch. That did not age well. Definitely didn’t connect the dots with the transformational reconfiguration of S. 2nd St. that we championed.

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