Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Share Your Opinion on Ravine Road

Sup. Wasserman will hold two community meetings on future of roadway through Lake Park.

By - Aug 30th, 2023 02:20 pm
Ravine Road. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Ravine Road. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

There will be two opportunities in September for Milwaukee residents to weigh in on the future of Ravine Road running through Lake Park well before any decision is made about its future.

The road is an original feature of the historic Lake Park, designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted back in the days of horse-drawn carriages, but has been used by autos for most of its history. The question of what the road’s future should be has become a source of disagreement.

The road was closed in 2014 out of an abundance of caution given the dilapidated historic bridge that spanned it. The bridge was repaired in 2022, but the road remains closed.

On one side, there are residents who want the road re-opened to vehicle traffic as it was before 2014. On the other side, are residents who want it to remain closed to vehicles and instead re-opened for pedestrians and bicyclists.

In the middle is Milwaukee County Parks, which has a handful of general options for rebuilding the road, which is in very poor condition. Parks has tentatively scheduled the road for reconstruction in 2027.

The department has a range of options, with varying cost estimates. These include full reconstruction of the roadway for vehicles, redesigning it as a mixed-use trail, or a mix of both with a one-way road and protected railway. Rebuilding the road for vehicles has a high upfront cost and is also the most expensive in the long run, as maintaining and rebuilding roads to automobile standards is more expensive than doing so for trails.

There is support for pedestrianizing the road in some way. Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman, who represents the area, conducted a constituent survey that found significant support for turning the narrow, winding road into a mixed-use bicycle and pedestrian path, or at least rebuilding it with an emphasis on pedestrian use.

Wasserman will hold two public meetings in September on the issue. “I’ve surveyed the public, spoken to constituents, received countless emails, and now I would like to hear from you directly,” the supervisor said.

Parks would like to conduct extensive public engagement before pursuing any project for the road. But funding for a design and engagement phase did not make it into a list of recommended projects sent to the county executive earlier this month. The department also has a long list of projects it’s attempting to work through and is unlikely to push the Ravine Road project forward during this budget cycle.

But this gives residents and policymakers time to deliberate over what the future of the road should be. Wasserman’s public meetings in September will kickstart this process. The meeting details can be found below:

Thursday, Sept. 7

  • Lake Park – Marcia Coles Community Room
  • 3133 E. Newbury Blvd.
  • 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 12

  • East Branch Library
  • 2320 N. Cramer St.
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Ravine Road

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Categories: MKE County, Parks, Politics

One thought on “MKE County: Share Your Opinion on Ravine Road”

  1. Marty Ellenbecker says:

    These photos are my 1st awareness of how much woods was clear-cut.
    In those areas, some of my past comments about on walkways and paths
    would take years to reach their atmosphere/drama.
    I think it would be worth the wait.

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