What do citizens say about the ZOO INTERCHANGE plan?

edited by Bill Sell

WisDOT Link to their plan
http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/sefreeways/zoopublic.htm


What do you think?

Your comments to WisDOT: (deadline for the WisDOT record: April 4, all day.)
Email to

If you write to WisDOT, I will add your comments here. Email also to: Zoo Comments

Citizen comments below these photos. ACLU, County Supervisor Jason Haas, Greg Bird, Chuck Baynton, Dianne Dagelen, Adam (Bay View), Lou Rugani, Jason Haas, Jackie Haessly, Virginia Cassel, Barbara Burbey, Joyce Tang Boyland, Barry Weber, Linda Nikcevich — Alderwoman 1st District Wauwatosa, Megan Carr, Bill Sell, and anonymous. Also, WisDOT map of the Bluemound and Mayfair Intersection. Did they never hear of a Walker?

What happened when cities replaced roads with human presence?
From Tearing Down A Highway Can Relieve Traffic Jams


Portland, before


Portland, After



Seoul, before


Seoul, after



For the links see
http://capcityliberty.blogspot.com/2011/04/get-on-bus-vs-hit-highway-why-walkers.html

Get on the Bus vs. Hit the Highway: Why Walker’s Transportation Policy Impacts Workers, Clean Air and Segregated Cities

On Monday April 4, three organizations supporting racial and environmental justice - the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, and Midwest Environmental Advocates - filed comments opposing the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s efforts to again expand highway access - to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars - at the same time the state is trying to cut transit spending.

Fact: cutting innercity transportation keeps people from jobs. Milwaukee and state leaders must make the connection that people depend on public transportation to get to work. Read more in today’s Huffington Post.

“WisDOT, and the state of Wisconsin, get federal money, so they must follow Title VI of the Civil Rights Act,” noted ACLU-WI Senior Staff Attorney Karyn Rotker. “And that federal law means they can’t run their transportation program in ways that have the effect of discriminating against people of color, regardless of whether they are intentionally discriminating. And the state’s transportation funding and policy decisions are clearly having a discriminatory effect.”

Fact: Milwaukee is the most racially segregated city in the nation. Recent census figures show the continued racial gap and this Salon.com article breaks down why this impacts public debate on transit equity.

“In our region, people of color - especially African-Americans and Latinos - are much more likely to depend on transit than non-minorities. Allowing highway projects to move forward while transit moves backwards reduces their opportunities and segregates them even more from jobs, medical care, and other needs,” added Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin President/CEO, Dr. Patricia McManus.

“WisDOT needs to go back to the drawing board,” said Dennis Grzezinski, Midwest Environmental Advocates’ senior counsel. “They need to come up with a multi-modal plan that integrates transit as well as highways, to ensure that all residents of our region receive a fair share of the benefits of state transportation system investments.”

Read the full comments from the environmental justice organizations on the ACLU of Wisconsin website (PDF).

Learn more about how transportation dollars are affecting the state budget in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. Other groups in Madison are talking about how budget policy will harm public transportation.

ACLU
also at:
http://capcityliberty.blogspot.com/2011/04/get-on-bus-vs-hit-highway-why-walkers.html


Dear Mr. Mohr,

I am writing to express my concerns about the proposed expansion of the Zoo Interchange. As a candidate for the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, it is natural that I should want access to our City and County. I also want robust and modern infrastructure for the community. However, I have significant reservations about the proposed expansion of the freeway, its impact upon the surrounding environment, and its fiscal impact on Milwaukee County.

At a minimum, the DOT’s proposal for an expanded freeway calls for the removal of nearly a dozen acres of existing wetland, and its replacement with a barren sea of asphalt. Is this the impression we want to give people as they enter Milwaukee County from the north or west? Moreover, what will happen to the water that was contained within the wetlands? What of the runoff that will come from the vast, totally impermeable surface?

Apparently we will “gain” runoff ponds in exchange for losing 12 acres of county land to the asphalt-sea gods. Will Milwaukee County taxpayers will be responsible for the maintenance of these ponds?

Please be aware that my freshman year on the County Board will likely be met with having to make steep cuts in, among other services, our existing transit services. I do not see any benefit to public transit in the vast expansion of the Zoo Interchange. (Which is logical, as this is about accommodating private travelers and their cars.) My objection is that at a time when we face deep cuts to our public transit infrastructure, this bold proposal for an irreversible expansion of this freeway, which is not a source of revenue for the state or county, is put before us.

While I do agree that the Zoo Interchange should be rebuilt, the proposed expansion will result in a loss of private property, property tax, and greater costs to the public taxpayers, without making any recourse available to the effected parties. With that in mind, I ask you to build in the existing right-of-way. I would feel much more comfortable supporting a plan to build within the perimeter of the original Interchange structure.

Sincerely,

Jason Haas
Supervisor-Elect, Milwaukee County Board
Milwaukee


William Mohr, P.E. – Mega Project Manager WI DOT SE Transportation Region – 141 NW Barstow, PO Box 798, Waukesha, WI 53187

April 3, 2011

Re: Comments regarding Zoo Interchange

It greatly troubles me that the stink and sterile starkness of an expanded interchange is likely to be built, especially as numerous rail rights-of-way are used far below their capacity, and rail is not, as elsewhere, included in the road’s right-of-way.

Frankly, my preference would be that the entire hardscape mess be moved west with an enormous gated parking lot constructed west of the sub-continental divide (around Brookfield Square and the golf courses to the east and south across I-94 and Moreland Road, where there is much more of a long-standing zeal for roads and little interest in space-saving transit) and fees charged to those coming into the Lake Michigan watershed on a fast train using pipe-rail technology capable of transporting standard-sized small-format automobiles specified for the carriages, much of the fees going to the most debilitated infrastructure in the City of Milwaukee.

However, given that will not happen and the Zoo Interchange will be “improved” (expanded), every effort should be made to build so that the effort will last as long as possible with as little externality impact on surrounding lands as may be not done, especially the established habitat on the County Grounds and adjacent parklands – in other words, build within the existing footprint.

To accomplish this, the roadway should be double-stacked, as is done in many other places, with through traffic on one level and exits on the other. Additionally, support columns for the upper level should provide mounts for arrays of wind energy devices, awning-mounted solar panels, and high-speed pipe-rail trusses above the roadway. The energy produced, when not sold to defer costs, would help power lighting, and ice and snow control on the upper exposed level eliminating corrosive chemicals that shorten the life of concrete and vehicles. Solar panels should be mounted as part of tensile awnings, keeping the sun and precipitation off the pavement so as to maintain a more constant temperature that will reduce expansion/contraction damage that shortens usability of roadway structures, with cleaner runoff more appropriately directed to bio-swales and waterways through the existing recently-constructed flood-control/Waukesha water return retention ponds (perhaps pumped west across the sub-continental divide to water-short areas?).

Also, recent announcements from MIT about using aluminum flux to eliminate voids in concrete, resulting in reported estimates of concrete durability around 10,000 years, should be employed on a rapid development basis, along with thicker decks to reduce vehicle weight damage, as is done in Germany.

Another technical improvement would be to incorporate piezo-electric surfaces, now being developed, that generate electricity as vehicles pass. And, as auto-driving systems are developed, mounting systems in the pavement should be incorporated for later fitting.

In this massive effort, the main goal should be to do the best, most advanced, job possible, and not have to tear down the structure for a rebuild, especially before its design life has expired, or create annoying delays for re-fits.

Thank you for your considerations.

Gregory Francis Bird
Milwaukee


Dear Mr. Mohr:

Regarding the Zoo Interchange, there are many things one might comment on—for example, impacts on pedestrian access across surface streets in Wauwatosa—which I will leave to others who are more directly impacted. I want to focus my remarks on one particular issue which I believe is mistakenly neglected because planners aren’t sure how to take it into account.

Traffic projections are always a key ingredient in highway planning. In doing this, you need to think long-term, since you are proposing to build something with a long service life. Today, there is a growing awareness that the past may be an increasingly poor guide to the future of automobile traffic, the chief component driving overall traffic volume.

The intermittent spikes in gasoline prices which we have seen in the last few years may well give way to sustained high prices. Increasing competition for a dwindling supply of petroleum, originating from billions of people in growing economies which formerly did not compete for what was then a more abundant supply, will not go away. We do not have experience to tell us exactly how that new factor will change highway-use habits of Americans.

However, we can be absolutely certain that the effect on petroleum prices will be upward, and therefore the effect on traffic volumes will be to drive them below levels which traditional models predict.

A prominent article on today’s (Sunday, April 3, 2011) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel business page cites speculation by Jeff Rubin, former chief economist at CIBC World Markets Corporation, that we may see crude oil prices as high as $200/barrel this year. It would be a good exercise to keep that speculation in mind, as you DOT planners ponder what oil prices might be before the redesigned Zoo Interchange is even completed.

Sincerely,

Chuck Baynton


April 4, 2011

Dear Mr. Mohr:

RE: Comments to DOT on Zoo Interchange Low Impact Alternative

I applaud the Department’s engineers on coming up with a plan that does not require either Texas U-turns or numerous properties removed in order to keep I-94 traffic safely moving forward or to the south on 894. I believe that similar ingenuity and inventiveness can be utilized to find low impact alternatives to the current plan’s large surface retention ponds and to the added or widened lanes on HW 100, Blue Mound Rd, 84th St and I-94.

Stormwater:

I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to the three possible surface retention ponds. A number of suitable alternatives are available. For example: small, graduated bio-swales running alongside shoulders or within circular ramps or within the interchange diamond; in-line storage running under medians or shoulders; or underground cisterns beneath adjacent parking lots that will be dug up as part of reconstruction. Also, permeable asphalt should be used whenever feasible. These alternatives will sustain parkland, be less expensive to maintain, healthier for citizens and more attractive to look at than three toxic holes in the ground.

The ponds described in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) include clear-cutting three acres on the South Berm of the Monarch Trail, five acres at Underwood Creek Parkway including the Oak Leaf bike trail, and four acres of historic Honey Creek Parkway. As citizens concerned about our health as well as our environment, we do not favor surface ponds which collect stormwater runoff contaminants and which attract waterfowl bacterial growth. I know of no Milwaukee County taxpayer who wants to bear the expense of pond maintenance and liability. County residents will best be served if all stormwater accommodations are kept within the existing Zoo Interchange right-of-way, using alternatives to surface retention ponds.

The South Berm is part of a fragile monarch way station. The Watertown Plank clover leaf should be moved off the South Berm and its wetlands as far to the west as possible. Both the South and North Berms should be protected from heavy machinery and from construction materials being placed on their surface during highway reconstruction. The berms should not be excavated for a three acre pond. The surrounding wetlands should not be filled in as indicated in the EIS. To level off the berms will destroy the topography of the land and may ill-affect migration.

The nectaring plants on the berms that sustain the monarchs during their migration will not survive destruction nor the loss of their surrounding wetlands. The native whorled milkweed that covers the South Berm is not easily replaced. So far, only 10% of seedlings transplanted to the monarch habitat area survive to the following year.

Praise for Wis. DOT for moving Swan Blvd away from the Monarch Trail and over 894 down to Watertown Plank Rd. I would strongly urge that the height of the bridge begin prior to where the oak savanna begins on the east. This way the oaks of both the State Park and the Monarch Trail can be joined for both people and critters.

The Monarch Trail is a treasure in itself as a migratory way station for the vanishing monarchs. It is a source of local pride and tourist dollars. Our County Grounds have been munched away like a monarch caterpillar on a milkweed plant. Please leave our Monarch Trail intact.

Both Underwood and Honey Creek Parkways are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. They were built by the CCC during the Depression of the 1930′s. The five acre pond planned at Underwood Creek Parkway would result in five acres being clear-cut and that section of the Oak Leaf bike trail being relocated to (according to a Public Hearing representative) underneath the transmission power lines/towers. Not an equal exchange as far as cyclists are concerned. Relocating the bike trail is not something that would attract people to relocate to Milwaukee County.

The four acre pond planned at ‘Honey Creek Parkway’ (two blocks from my house) will result in four acres being clear-cut in a residential neighborhood. According to the EIS, for public safety, it will require a chain link fence surrounding it. The previous EIS of 2009 projected that this pond would be only one acre within the four acre clearing. The current 2011 EIS projects that it will be almost triple in size: 2.7 acres.

The pond area will abut the property of St. Charles Boys Home and be across the street from residences which often have small children playing in their front yards. The fence will only challenge children to climb it. This is a safety and a liability concern. It is also a health concern due to air-born toxins and waterfowl bacterial growth. The greenery that once provided a buffer to the noise, pollution and concrete harshness of I-94 as one enters our Ravenswood neighborhood, will now be a barren, chain-linked eyesore. It will drive property values down and residents out.

The State Fair Park parking lot, which will be dug up as part of the interchange reconstruction, would provide the opportunity for underground cisterns as an alternative to a surface retention pond at Honey Creek Parkway. Ideally, should the Milwaukee Mile ever be renovated or removed, I’d like to see Honey Creek partially opened up to its natural state within State Fair Park.

Three large toxic holes in a monarch trail, bike trail or a residential setting are a quick and dirty, as well as an up-front less expensive way, of dealing with stormwater runoff. I ask that the Dept. of Transportation take our neighborhood, recreational area and migratory habitat spaces into serious account. Taking some concrete liners out of Honey Creek will not do it. We already have 90 acres of ponds from MMSD. We can do better than three more big holes, especially when they take up twelve acres of valuable parkland for the purpose of collecting contaminants. Parkland that we will never get back.

Furthermore, I would ask that our state, county and city government representatives call for a public meeting/hearing on whatever stormwater plan is finally proposed by Wis. DOT after their final footprint is decided. Wisconsin residents deserve to be heard on how their county parkland and city neighborhoods are going to be affected by stormwater accommodations. Hopefully the plan would reflect the concerns of the people and demonstrate how government works well together with people participating in the planning.

Road Widening:

I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to widening I-94 with twelve foot wide shoulders. This puts more pressure on stormwater collection. I know of no driver who wants I-94 widened. Milwaukee Common Council passed a resolution against widening I-94 between 68th St. and 894. Afternoon rush hour traffic already starts to thin out at Hawley Road. It is not necessary. It will only encourage traffic to go faster with more noise and pollution. I already hear the semi truck jigs at night two blocks away. A waste of tax dollars. And more runoff. Also, do not take down the vertical log noise buffer alongside I-94 between 76th and 84th Streets and replace it with an ugly, reverberating concrete wall. We like the wood.

I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to widening 84th St. with more lanes, and an extra lane between Blue Mound Rd. and Wisconsin Ave with trees clear-cut in a residential neighborhood. It will encourage more traffic to use 84th and Blue Mound Rd instead of taking the Watertown Plank Rd exit to get to the Medical Complex. It will encourage faster traffic where I often see children play in their front yards. It will lower property values and alter forever the historic neighborhood of Rockway Place.

I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to widening HW 100. Businesses are already complaining that widening HW 100 and the intersection at Blue Mound Rd will restrict customer parking and throw heavier, noisier traffic closer to restaurants and offices. This will drive businesses away as well as lower property values. What senior citizen would want to cross HW 100 in order to get to the other side, much less to catch a bus?

Don’t bring the expressway into the neighborhood just to accommodate the closing of I-94 ramps at Wisconsin Ave & Blue Mound. If alternate configurations replaced past Texas U-turn plans, I believe Wis DOT has engineering ingenuity to maintain those ramps for both 894 and I-94.

Adding lanes to HW 100 and intersections at Blue Mound and 84th will not reduce traffic jams, but rather invite more traffic into a residential area. If you build it, more traffic will come. The reconstructed Marquette Interchange of 2006 still comes to a stand-still at rush hour.

And finally, there should be more thought to transit, especially for workers without cars and for seniors who can no longer drive. At the very least, rail between Watertown and downtown Milwaukee should be used to ease traffic during reconstruction of the interchange—just as it was temporarily used during a prior re-surfacing of I-94, with much success.

Respectfully,

Dianne Dagelen
Conservation Chair, Great Waters Group, Sierra Club
Member, Wauwatosa Senior Commission


Why would I want to give people a reason to live in Waukesha or Brookfield? I disapprove of spending any money on this intersection, or transit to and from Waukesha/Brookfield. If they work here they should live here. The streets of the inner city are falling apart yet we can spend god knows how much on widening streets in the ‘burbs.


I’m Louis Rugani … Kenosha.

After the DOT hearings on the proposed Zoo Interchange project, transit is still not being considered by the DOT as a part of this process. DOT Secretary Gottlieb in a recent Journal Sentinel article said so. http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/118341699.html

This immense freeway project will have permanent negative impacts, and against those who depend on transit, part of the Gov. Scott Walker’s drive to remove public transportation from the State public transportation fund - a violation of his campaign promise not to raid funds.

It’s an unfriendly project.

On the other hand, it’s very friendly indeed to some, especially the real-estate and road-builder interests.

Where is the long-promised bicycle lane, and the Milwaukee streetcar system?

=Lou=


Dear Mr. Mohr,

I am writing to express my concerns about the proposed expansion of the Zoo Interchange. As a candidate for the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, it is natural that I should want access to our City and County. I also want robust and modern infrastructure for the community. However, I have significant reservations about the proposed expansion of the freeway, its impact upon the surrounding environment, and its fiscal impact on Milwaukee County.

At a minimum, the DOT’s proposal for an expanded freeway calls for the removal of nearly a dozen acres of existing wetland, and its replacement with a barren sea of asphalt. Is this the impression we want to give people as they enter Milwaukee County from the north or west? Moreover, what will happen to the water that was contained within the wetlands? What of the runoff that will come from the vast, totally impermeable surface?

Apparently we will “gain” runoff ponds in exchange for losing 12 acres of county land to the asphalt-sea gods. Will Milwaukee County taxpayers will be responsible for the maintenance of these ponds?

Please be aware that my freshman year on the County Board will likely be met with having to make steep cuts in, among other services, our existing transit services. I do not see any benefit to public transit in the vast expansion of the Zoo Interchange. (Which is logical, as this is about accommodating private travelers and their cars.) My objection is that at a time when we face deep cuts to our public transit infrastructure, this bold proposal for an irreversible expansion of this freeway, which is not a source of revenue for the state or county, is put before us.

While I do agree that the Zoo Interchange should be rebuilt, the proposed expansion will result in a loss of private property, property tax, and greater costs to the public taxpayers, without making any recourse available to the effected parties. With that in mind, I ask you to build in the existing right-of-way. I would feel much more comfortable supporting a plan to build within the perimeter of the original Interchange structure.

Sincerely,

Jason Haas
Candidate for Milwaukee County Supervisor, District 14
Milwaukee


I understand from many people in Wauwatosa, including city council members, that the current Zoo Interchange configuration is quite hazardous, so there is no question it needs to be re-done. Plus, as you know better than I, a good deal of it is crumbling.

Since it is a huge investment of taxpayer dollars, which will remain for fifty years or more, it should be done right, and not only for cars on the freeways. Most of us drive cars on the freeway, drive cars on surface streets, walk, ride bikes, and take the bus, at different times for different trips. Planning needs to account for ALL uses people make of the interchange and the surrounding areas, not merely for the times we are each driving on the freeway.

First, ALL surrounding surface areas need to have convenient pedestrian access, e.g. along all portions of 108th/Mayfair, and Bluemound. Nothing is worse for small business and neighborhoods than to find that the on ramps and off ramps and underpasses and overpasses have CUT OFF pedestrian access.

Second, while bicycles certainly don’t belong on the freeway, its on ramps, or its off ramps, in an urban area, there should be safe, direct bike routes, preferably designated bike lanes, on all adjacent surface streets.

Finally, please remember that once constructed, a freeway, and even more so a complex interchange, will become a barrier to future development. There should be underpasses to allow for future development of perpendicular lines of travel, whether these might be new surface routes, rail lines, streetcars, or special bus passages, connecting Milwaukee and Wauwatosa to Brookfield and Waukesha. Plan for the future, and leave open options that would be horrendously expensive to create ten or twenty years from now.

Sincerely,

Charlie Rosenberg

Milwaukee, WI 53233


Dear Mr. Mohr,

The proposed traffic plans on I-94 near the zoo interchange, and related traffic plans on connecting roads, especially at the intersection of Hwy 100 and Blue Mound Road astound me.

There are many flaws in the proposed plans.

  1. The plans continue to foster a dependency on auto travel rather than on public transportation of all sorts: street cars, light rail, bus, trains, even bike and foot traffic; our communities need alternative forms of transportation, and the Department of Transportation seems a place to begin or continue this conversation. Transportation does NOT just mean auto and truck transportation, neither of which are good for communities, their people, and their environments when used to excess.

  2. These plans put the lives of its community members, especially its children and its citizens who are elderly or who have physical or cognitive disabilities , at high risk, whether visiting a local establishment such as a medical clinic, a restaurant, or the zoo, or just walking to or from their homes.

  3. The increased air pollution that results from this congestion of autos and trucks will increase medical complications for vulnerable populations, especially those with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. This, in turn, will add to medical costs to state residents.

  4. These plans will add to the destruction of our fragile ecosystem in a number of ways: added pollution, damage to land due to polluted run-off, and threats to endangered species, such as the Monarch Butterfly refuge, among others.

  5. These plans require the taking of private property from private property owners who pay taxes, and uses it for publicly funded roads, at the very time that our State and our country claim that there are serious budget shortfalls. This seems short-sighted.

  6. Plans to reconfigure and rebuild the Bluemound-Mayfair intersection, with its pedestrian unfriendly intersections, is a spin off of our lack of public transit in Southeast Wisconsin and elsewhere in this State. Governor Scott Walker’s plan to remove public transportation from the State public transportation fund is a violation of his campaign promise not to raid funds. The public transportation fund is to be used for all forms of public transportation. It is both unjust and short-sighted to use these funds only for roads, which serve fewer people that would decent public transportation, cost more to build, and are in a constant need of repairs and replacement.

I urge you to rethink these plans; further, I urge you to drop them altogether, and then to begin to work with all stakeholders to devise a wholistic transportation plan that meets human needs in this community in the least destructive and most community and ecological friendly way possible, for today and into the future.

I join others in calling upon you to integrate transit improvements into all of your transportation plans - and to include bike lanes, bus, streetcar to downtown, and public transportation to out-lying places, such as to and from Waukesha, Washington, Racine, and Ozaukee counties.

Thank you for this opportunity to let you know my thoughts about this important decision that will affect all of our lives for now and well into the future.

Respectfully,

Peace and Family Life Education Specialist


Dear Mr. Mohr -

I am writing today to request that WISDOT include transit in the proposed Zoo Interchange project. In specific, that WISDOT:

  • be sure to plan adequately for pedestrian traffic near Bluemound and Mayfair road - this intersection is already not pedestrian friendly and the plan proposed by WISDOT would make it less so;

  • integrate transit improvements into the plan - making provisions for bike lanes, buses and adding streetcar or other similar service to provide access to downtown from Brookfield and Waukesa is necessary for smart growth of the region;

  • abandon plan to provide 12 acres of surface level stormwater catchment through clearcutting and other methods - runoff can be managed a number of different ways, including underground cisterns, bio-filtration fields, permeable pavement for shoulders, roadside swales with catchment tunnels, etc., without creating a toxic environment for Monarch butterflies that use these areas in their yearly migration.

These suggestions are a reasonable, and responsible, response to the plans put forth by WISDOT, and are intended to protect and preserve the rights and needs of all residents, not just those with cars. Implementation of these suggestions will put Milwaukee County in a good position going forward, providing infrastructure that is flexible to the needs of residents, without creating an environment that is damaging, not just to butterflies but, to us all.

I appreciate your consideration.

Sincerely,

Virginia Cassel

Milwaukee


As far as what I’ve seen of the Zoo Interchange plan, I find that the rebuilding in the cheapest manner possible comes at the expense of others who use facilities in the area and the area’s local residents. If swales can be used along the highways in the Zoo Interchange, that should be considered, The long-term maintenance costs would be less than the proposed retention pond. Plus the greenery saved would create oxygen from photosynthesis. As a bicyclist, myself, the stretch of the Oak Leaf Trail in the far west area of Milwaukee County is a vital link between the Hank Aaron State Trail and the New Berlin Recreational Trail. When bicyclists can use trails like these to cover longer distances, we can spend money on food and campsites. I find it fun to discover Wisconsin on a bicycle. Let’s choose an alternative that works for everybody.


CITY OF WAUWATOSA
7725 WEST NORTH AVENUE
WAUWATOSA, WISCONSIN 53213
WWW.WAUWATOSA.NET

LINDA NIKCEVICH
ALDERWOMAN 1ST DISTRICT
lnikcevich@wauwatosa.net
(414) 453–7873

Wauwatosa Needs Transit Options to Offset the Impact of the Zoo Interchange Overflow

Statement of Endorsement by Alderwoman Linda Z Nikcevich

Issue: Why should Wauwatosa Taxpayers bear the brunt of the Zoo Interchange Overflow traffic on our local streets? On the WisDOT website it says the “DOT supports all forms of transportation. The department is responsible for planning, building and maintaining Wisconsin’s network of state highways and Interstate highway system. The department shares the costs of building and operating county and local transportation systems - from highways to public transit and other modes. WisDOT plans, promotes and financially supports statewide air, rail and water transportation, as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities.” Why aren’t transit options being provided as options to help reduce traffic on Wauwatosa Streets and the Zoo Interchange?

Current Status: As an Alderperson for the City of Wauwatosa, I care for and am concerned with issues and opportunities that affect this city. I have been attending events and following the issue on the zoo interchange and transit. I have talked to many authorities and interested parties regarding the issue of the Zoo Interchange and its affect on the city of Wauwatosa.

When the WI DOT did its first presentation to the city of Wauwatosa two years ago, I asked, “ how does transit factor into this plan”? The gentleman said,”it doesn’t, we are about the cement”. I was upset then and now even more because the new plans are being drawn up that there is more traffic on the streets of Wauwatosa and I am hearing about cuts in transit services like the Freeway flyer and others. When your own reports states that the street traffic on key Wauwatosa streets in the Zoo corridor will see an increase of 41% to 50+% while the actual interchange during that same time period will only see 18+% change, there is something wrong.

Facts: Wauwatosa is a community of approximately 47,000 people. Yet we have over 70,000+ people work in this community of which 16,000+ work at the Regional Medical Center alone. This attributes to the fact that Wauwatosa has an extremely low unemployment rate. We are the second largest employer inside Milwaukee County behind the city of Milwaukee. The numbers that contribute to this entire mix are amazing, annually approximately 6 million visitors to the Medical Center and some 16 million+ visitors to Mayfair Mall and around 1.3 million visitors to the Zoo. That does not include numbers at the Research Park with corporate headquarters and large employers like GE or other businesses on our western corridor.

Potential Transit Options: In Wauwatosa’s comprehensive plan there is a section on Transportation. It clearly states, “Therefore, as WisDOT proceeds with plans for the interchange, it will be imperative that the City maintains a prominent seat at the table, helping to ensure that before construction begins there are plans in place to guarantee that an adequate level of highway service will be maintained, the City’s streets will not have to bear the full brunt of rerouted traffic, and the impact on City businesses and residences is minimized.”

http://www.wauwatosa.net/DocumentView.aspx?DID=391 Page 41
http://www.wauwatosa.net/DocumentView.aspx?DID=369

There are two locations that offer a variety of options to the DOT. Long range we have to be thinking intermodal station connecting Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail, Bus, Shuttle and more to ease the congestion.

  1. Station Option 1 – The Village Little Red Store. With 200+ parking spots already owned by the city next to the rail and just a half mile from the Medical Center, Research Park and the future Innovation Park it is centrally located in a dense business area with restaurants and shopping.

  2. Station Options 2 – Thurner Heat Treating Building. It is being inspected as a potential Brown Field and could be eligible for grant money to clean it up. Sits right behind the Post Office off of Hwy 100 between Watertown Plank and Walnut. Large location for an intermodal station. Bus Rapid Transit is eventually suppose to run down Wisconsin Ave. through the Medical Center and Research Park. It could easily continue on to Mayfair or the Intermodal Station we are proposing along Hwy 100.

Request for Transit Options: I have decided to take a proactive stance because I reviewed the facts, looked at the congestion on our local streets and gridlock on the busiest freeway interchange in the state and listen to the businesses and residents concerned with the issue. When an opportunity like the reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange comes to our community, at the same time the routes for Freeway Flyers, Bus Rapid Transit and all other forms of transportation need to be part of the mix. Plus the fact that in this tough budget cycle the City of Wauwatosa taxpayers bear the brunt of all that additional traffic on our roads. Wauwatosa maintains and provides police patrol to the local streets and provides emergency services to the different portions of the Zoo Interchange. Please understand that I support the economic growth of our city, but want efficient transportation options to not only include “the cement”, but include transit to augment our city streets to help all the employees, patients and visitors travel through our fair city.

How to Proceed: I would like to have the WIDOT not only present its freeway configurations, but its traffic mitigation plan that will serve our community. I believe that the WI DOT needs to take a serious look at this community to help it deal with the traffic, wear and tear, gridlock and pollution created by a thriving community that attracts many visitors and workers to Wauwatosa which is situated at the busiest interchange in Wisconsin.

Submitted by: Alderwoman Linda Z. Nikcevich
April 1, 2011


CITY OF WAUWATOSA
7725 WEST NORTH AVENUE
WAUWATOSA, WISCONSIN 53213
WWW.WAUWATOSA.NET

LINDA NIKCEVICH
ALDERWOMAN 1ST DISTRICT
lnikcevich@wauwatosa.net
(414) 453–7873

Wisconsin Needs Transit Options
Statement of Endorsement by Alderwoman Linda Z Nikcevich

Issue: On the WisDOT website it says the “DOT supports all forms of transportation. The department is responsible for planning, building and maintaining Wisconsin’s network of state highways and Interstate highway system. The department shares the costs of building and operating county and local transportation systems - from highways to public transit and other modes. WisDOT plans, promotes and financially supports statewide air, rail and water transportation, as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities.” Yet in the new budget bill the Governor, Rep. Vos and others want to change the funding and undercut service. The most despicable act is to try to destroy the RTA’s throughout the state.

Current Status: As an Alderperson for the City of Wauwatosa, I care for and am concerned with issues and opportunities that affect this city and the state. I have been attending events and following the issue on the zoo interchange and transit. I have talked to many authorities and interested parties regarding the issue of the Zoo Interchange and its affect on the city of Wauwatosa.

When the WI DOT did its first presentation to the city of Wauwatosa two years ago, I asked, “How does transit factor into this plan”? The gentleman said,”it doesn’t, we are about the cement”. I was upset then and now even more because the new plans are being drawn up that there is more traffic on the streets of Wauwatosa and I am hearing about cuts in transit services like the Freeway flyer and others. When your own reports states that the street traffic on key Wauwatosa streets in the Zoo corridor will see an increase of 41% to 50+% while the actual interchange during that same time period will only see 18+% change, there is something wrong.

Facts: Wauwatosa is a community of approximately 47,000 people. Yet we have over 70,000+ people work in this community of which 16,000+ work at the Regional Medical Center alone. This attributes to the fact that Wauwatosa has an extremely low unemployment rate. We are the second largest employer inside Milwaukee County behind the city of Milwaukee. The numbers that contribute to this entire mix are amazing, annually approximately 6 million visitors to the Medical Center and some 16 million+ visitors to Mayfair Mall and around 1.3 million visitors to the Zoo. That does not include numbers at the Research Park with corporate headquarters and large employers like GE or other businesses on our western corridor.

Potential Transit Options: In Wauwatosa’s comprehensive plan there is a section on Transportation. It clearly states, “Therefore, as WisDOT proceeds with plans for the interchange, it will be imperative that the City maintains a prominent seat at the table, helping to ensure that before construction begins there are plans in place to guarantee that an adequate level of highway service will be maintained, the City’s streets will not have to bear the full brunt of rerouted traffic, and the impact on City businesses and residences is minimized.”

http://www.wauwatosa.net/DocumentView.aspx?DID=391 Page 41
http://www.wauwatosa.net/DocumentView.aspx?DID=369

At an even broader perspective an RTA is needed to interconnect multiple cities and counties together. Bring the KRM up to the Milwaukee Intermodal Station and connect that station to the Milwaukee County Medical Center, Research Park, Zoo and Mayfair.

Request for Transit Options: I have decided to take a proactive stance because I reviewed the facts, looked at the congestion on our local streets and gridlock on the busiest freeway interchange in the state and listen to the businesses and residents concerned with the issue. When an opportunity like the reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange comes to our community, at the same time the routes for Freeway Flyers, Bus Rapid Transit and all other forms of transportation need to be part of the mix. Plus the fact that in this tough budget cycle the City of Wauwatosa taxpayers bear the brunt of all that additional traffic on our roads. Wauwatosa maintains and provides police patrol to the local streets and provides emergency services to the different portions of the Zoo Interchange. Please understand that I support the economic growth of our city, but want efficient transportation options to not only include “the cement”, but include transit to augment our city streets to help all the employees, patients and visitors travel through our fair city.

How to Proceed: I would like to have the WIDOT maintain its control over all transit options for the state, enhance RTA’s and create dedicated funding to sustain the transportation and transit systems throughout southeastern Wisconsin and the rest of the state.

Submitted by: Alderwoman Linda Z. Nikcevich
April 1, 2011


To Whom it May Concern,

Re: Revised Interstate expansion plans
March 29, 2011

I write to add my voice to those opposing expansion of the Interstate through my community. It is difficult for me to fathom the insistence upon spending any money to expand, and therefore encourage continued use of personal automobiles, over a sound and accessible public transportation infrastructure. Continued fossil fuel use is not sustainable, and oil, in particular, has a huge detrimental impact on our environment that takes many forms: air, water, and soil pollution, ocean oil spills, and the continuous oil wars our country, along with other nations, engages in on an ongoing basis in the effort to gain and retain access to the remaining oil reserves around the world. The accompanying environmental devastation wrought by these multiple wars is the result of the insistence upon placing the automobile and the roads they travel upon above the health, safety, and welfare of all people living on the planet.

Why throw more good money after bad? When gasoline is $20 or $30 dollars per gallon, no one will be on these concrete monsters you are forever expanding. In fact, if you factored in the real cost of gasoline (the billions & trillions spent on wars to secure more oil, the deaths, the injuries, the destruction of communities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya) it may well exceed that amount already. It is time to factor in the REAL costs…all of them…involved in promoting more and bigger highways, roads & interstate systems. It is time to start building communities for people instead of designing them for automobiles.

 ‘’‘

The idea of huge open retention ponds storing salt, diesel fuel, gasoline, brake lining, oil, and garbage runoff from the so-called “freeway” in the middle of urban residential areas, is both horrifying and ridiculous. I realize that currently the excrement ejected from the Interstate monster is dumped into the storm sewers and eventually into lake Michigan (and so out of sight, out of mind) but the notion to feed the beast, by expanding the concrete slab, thus encouraging more automobile use, more fuel consumption, thus more excrement so that it can then be stored next to our homes, schools, businesses, work places and parks is over the top. Add to this the inevitable “need” to spray these open cesspools with pesticides to control the mosquito populations’‘’ in the summer and that is just another level of liquid toxic dump to consider. Never mind the wildlife that will suffer when they start nesting on and around these fenced sewers.

It isn’t enough that the slab belches tons of carbon into the atmosphere every day, now we should live with open cesspools of its garbage and excrement. That we should lose 12 acres of county park green space, to what is a short-sighted and willfully ignorant insistence upon encouraging and accommodating private automobile use despite all we know about their harmful environmental impact, is to add insult to injury. The ignorance and shortsightedness is hard for me to grasp. My cynic suggests, “Perhaps people need a few of these 5 acre interstate liquid toxic dumps in their backyards before they wake up to the devastation and damage that is the result of a fossil fuel/private auto addiction along with a stubborn refusal to fund and support public transportation and eliminate the need for continued automobile use.”

As I watch the rubble heaps growing one block from my house as workers resurface the stretch leading to the zoo interchange, my wish is for them to continue reducing it to a pile of rubble but for one lane in each direction. Add a rail system alongside these two lanes and an improved county bus service connecting to the rail. We need, as people, communities, and governments, to reduce our collective and individual carbon footprint on this planet or there will be no one left to ride on it in 50 years.

It is time to close the customary gap between our actions and decisions and what we know is wrong about how we have proceeded thus far. If we don’t, then what happens to people’s children and grandchildren will be an irrelevant consideration.

Repair and maintain the existing beast, if you must, but do not improve it in ways that make it a more desirable alternative to walking, biking, buses and trains. Use Permaculture design principals to deal with storm water runoff thereby increasing green space rather than destroying 12 acres of it for open toxic dumps in our community. Now is the time to make these changes because there may not be a next time. This is real forward thinking and genuine concern for everyone’s future. Stop planning for endless growth and opt for repair and maintain. Endless growth and expansion is not sustainable and will only lead to collapse. [emphasis added by publisher of this web page]

Sincerely,

Barbara Burbey
Milwaukee, WI 53213


Dear Mr. Mohr,

Please revise the Zoo Interchange plans to build in planning for alternative transportation like transit and bicycles (as is commonplace in Scandinavia), and to retain the wetlands instead of replacing bike paths and wetlands with stormwater retention ponds.

If we are going to create additional stormwater run-off by paving more land, at least don’t let plans for that new run-off destroy transportation alternatives like bike trails, and more environmentally responsible stormwater treatment options like bio-filtration or permeable pavement.

I would be an eager rider of any kind of fast and frequent transit between Milwaukee and points west, and I know there are many more in this position.

Now is the time to build in accommodation for future trends.

The Business Journal’s 40 under 40 agree overwhelmingly (at the rate of about 80%): “Do you support an improved transit system in SE WI as a means of encouraging economic development? Yes.”

Young business leaders understand the importance of transit.

Thriving cities incorporate transit.

Planning it now is highly economical, vastly less expensive than trying to retrofit when later generations see the need.

We need forward-looking transportation planning, not 1950′s auto-only transportation planning.

Please incorporate these improvements while there is still time.

Otherwise, we and our children will all be sorry if we have to retrofit for transit and remediate for toxicity later.

Sincerely,

Joyce Tang Boyland
Milwaukee


Dear Mr. Mohr:

My name is Barry Weber and I am a teacher in Milwaukee County. Due to my vast amounts of student loan debt, I sold my automobile in favor of using a bicycle for all my transportation needs, and I am very happy with my decision. My bicycle (and occasionally mass transit) is my means of getting to work and elsewhere, and I am thankful that, as the DOT works on the Zoo Interchange project, that there are plans to temporarily connect the Hank Aaron trail to the Oak Leaf trail. However, I am saddened to hear of the DOT’s planning to use a large portion of the existing Oak Leaf Trail for toxic ponds. As you know, there are other well-documented ways to deal with the added problems from the interchange project, and I for one value the Oak Leaf Trail and our county parks very much. Each year, my school’s students and their families participate in an annual end-of-the-year family bike ride that includes riding through where the toxic ponds are planned; losing a portion of the trail to such ponds would be a huge disappointment.

I also would like to mention that, according to plans for the interchange that I have read on Journal-Sentinel, there seems to be very little consideration for mass transit or pedestrian options as it relates to the intersection of Mayfair Road and Blue Mound Road. I often cross this intersection on my bicycle and I ask you to please keep the safety of pedestrians/cyclists like myself in mind when planning this intersection.

Thank you for your time. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Barry R. Weber


Dear Mr. Mohr -

I am writing to express my opposition to the current Zoo Interchange proposal and request that it be revised in a way that addresses today’s realities requiring mobility options in the transportation plan.

Please consider the following:

  1. In a time of fiscal austerity we need to demand the highest yield from our tax dollars. We need to be sure to integrate transit improvements and mobility options into the plan. According to Smart Growth America, the best transportation investments are ones that improve mobility by providing multiple transportation options and facilitate the density that can lead to strong economic growth. Economic returns from these investments eclipse highway investments by a multiple of more than 100. - Smart Growth America, The best stimulus for the Money: Maximizing the return on our transportation dollar; Briefing Paper #7

  2. Adding lanes to roads and highways is wasteful spending of valuable tax dollars. It doesn’t solve congestion and furthermore leads to unintended environmental and public health consequences. See Texas Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Report http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/

  3. Cities across the country and around the world have paid the price from widening roads and are now revising plans in a way that builds community through transportation – not transportation through communities. We can no longer afford to continue the mistakes of the past. Bluemound and Mayfair Rd. are already excessively wide and prohibitive for bike and pedestrian which impacts transit users as well. We need to be sure to plan adequately to integrate pedestrian and bike traffic into the plan.

See examples:

  • The newly adopted Nashville Regional Transportation Plan that sets aside 15% of Federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and education. Of the 500 projects submitted for the plan competing for an estimated $6 Billion in Federal funding were scored on project criteria where 60% of the criteria related to active transportation, health, air quality and injury prevention. The results are an increase from 2% to 70% of funded transportation projects now include active transportation infrastructure (bikeways, greenways, sidewalks, etc).

  • Los Angeles plan that shifts focus away from automobiles and builds a network of 1,680 miles of interconnected bikeways, including more than 200 miles of new bicycle routes every five years.

  • A June 2008 poll by Coldwell Banker residential real estate agents in urban markets revealed a vast majority of the Realtors - 78% - said their clients are interested in living in areas that help reduce their gasoline bill. Furthermore, the majority of the surveyed agents agree that walkability and access to public transportation were appealing to clients. With increased transportation costs and time spent in gridlock, Americans are starting to realize that living in places where they don’t always have to get behind the wheel adds up.

  • We need to rethink the plan that would create 12 acres of surface level stormwater catchment through clearcutting and other methods. Runoff can be managed a number of ways, including underground cisterns, bio-filtration fields, permeable pavement for shoulders, roadside swales with catchment tunnels, etc., without creating a toxic environment.

Please put the brakes on the current proposal that we can assemble a plan that responds to today’s 21st century realities.

Thank you.

Megan Carr
Livable Communities Consultant
Civitáe, llc
Milwaukee
twitter: @civitae


Dear Mr. Mohr

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Zoo Interchange Plan. I look at the plan and raise my hand to get your attention.

The fly in the ointment in the WisDOT plan for the Zoo Interchange is the big step backward that WisDOT takes in its haste to fix the interchange. And that step may well be known as the “local doctrine” - that funding for transit is the responsibility of the local municipalities. The irony is at the other end of the Capitol (did you know this?); there are moves afoot in Madison to dismantle “local authorities” by eliminating the regional transit authorities.

Looking at the map WisDOT has drawn to describe its plan, one has to wonder what “cars only” planning school Wisconsin’s transportation planners attended. The numbers are no longer rocket science and outside the grasp of the ordinary citizen; they are facts that WisDOT would nudge off its meticulously clean maps, facts that crowd the Zoo Plan with unsustainable solutions.

Facts abound, and direct us away from the WisDOT plan:

  • Road building is not a solution to congestion.

  • Public Transportation is the low-cost option for moving thousands of people a day.

  • Water always flows down.

  • Money spent on infrastructure and construction, as well as local development, largely stays in state and fosters the State economy. Money spent on oil leaves the country and serves nervous foreign governments. Private money that leaves the state cannot create jobs in our state.

If WisDOT would take charge of public transportation, it could reduce the horrific impacts of the Zoo Plan. But, no, we are now locked (without explanation) into a road building orgy that actually takes transit money away, divides the neighborhoods, and tells local officials to fund their own buses. A bus replaces 30 automobiles. But if we plan roads based both on common sense, and studied research, and we will be able to move all of Wisconsin wherever each of us wishes to go. Higher gasoline prices will soon drive the cry: What has the State done to prepare for this day?

The Texas Transportation Institute reports on the massive waste of fuel due to congestion. <http://alttransport.com/2011/01/drivers-wasted-3-9-billion-gallons-of-fuel-because-of-traffic-congestion-in-2009/> and Solving the Transportation Puzzle, page 4 “The Big Squeeze” of <http://tti.tamu.edu/publications/researcher/v46n3/46_3.pdf> It does matter than the State Zoo Plan is going to cost individual residents more - both in the building of the roads and their inevitable congestion. Building roads to relieve congestion is our gift to our children, to visit the problem again in 20 years or so.

We could move thousands daily without widening a single highway. The Center for Neighborhood Technology <cnt.org> reports that a train can handle the passenger load of ten lanes of traffic. Find the report at: <http://www.bikethehoan.com/BuildingWealththroughtransit013009_000.ppt> as well as a warehouse of research into the value-added development benefits of public transportation. Including, may I say, a lower cost of living for those who live near public transportation.

And, the water. Flowing down as it does, water lends its own weight to saving our environment if we allow it the courtesy of gravity, its natural tendency to find the aquifer. But, no, the Zoo Plan includes (more) concrete ponds filled with toxins, near bike and walking trails, near a Monarch roost, ponds that must be maintained at local taxpayer expense. The “Local Doctrine” will cost localities more, into several generations and higher taxes.

In Moving Minds, conservatives Paul Weyrich and William Lind, using research and fact, establish that the public transportation option, particularly rail, is the economical investment. Oh, yes, rail may take an upfront layout, but rails are not rebuilt every generation; they are maintained at less cost than roads. And - did I mention? - they carry more people than a superabundance of freeway lanes.

Sixteen percent (16%) of the population does not drive, cannot drive, or should not drive. That high percentage alone should give the body politic pause for thought. But it does not stand alone. There are other payments that the non-driving public makes to build new and manage old roads.

Forty two percent (42%) of Wisconsin road funds come from our property, sales and income taxes. My own graphic analysis <http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/BillSell/RoadCostsWhoPays>, based on research by David Riemer, <http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/89803737.html>, and his spreadsheet.

And nondrivers pay for roads indirectly: everything we purchase that is hauled to our stores by truck includes all costs to the trucking company - gasoline and diesel fuel taxes, license fees - to name what the Trucker sends back to the State. The fuel tax does not deliver roads without substantial subsidy from all residents of Wisconsin. Yet, WisDOT would tell us that public transportation is a local responsibility. And our betters tell us to stop raiding the Transportation Fund!!

At least sixteen percent (16%) of our population would retort: “Stop raiding the property tax funds for roads when our schools have gone begging.”

Where in the Zoo Plan is any kind of gesture toward this population? The proposed State Budget makes the answer clear: there is no money for people who rely on public transportation. There is not even an acknowledgment that the citizens of Milwaukee County voted for a tax swap (sales replacing property) two years ago, a swap that would have saved our buses (and parkland) and given a net tax benefit to Milwaukee County homeowners. “Local Doctrine” used to be a Republican principle; today it is all reversed with a growing State central government with a Governor absorbing more power than ever before.

The Bluemound and Mayfair intersection is over-reach. I have a medical appointment at Watertown Plank Road and Mayfair Road, a couple of times a year. I need to walk that intersection to get back to the Route 31 bus stop. The Bluemound and Mayfair “plan(?)” is wider mega-highways, a sorry story of our lack of vision.

The Zoo Plan cries for sanity.

I submit links to cities that back-peddled on “car first” design and tore out the roads in favor of human presence. <http://www.infrastructurist.com/2009/07/06/huh-4-cases-of-how-tearing-down-a-highway-can-relieve-traffic-jams-and-help-save-a-city/> “Huh?! 4 Cases Of How Tearing Down A Highway Can Relieve Traffic Jams (And Save Your City)” This site has telling photos, before and after.

Mr. Mohr, I leave the evidence for you to view, there are cities for you to visit, where you will find residents for you to interview. But we cannot stay on the WisDOT “Free”way without paying the huge costs that will eventually drive businesses to thrive in more intelligently planned communities. The cost to the local resident, without a thriving business community, is another Detroit. We must run from that solution as best as we can.

Sincerely,

Bill Sell
Milwaukee



Let’s put our kids on the right path


And make space for our true friends.



Map of city-dividing intersection
Last edited by Bill Sell.   Page last modified on April 07, 2011

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