Transportation: Plan Offers Alternative To Expanded I-94

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I-94 Expansion. Rendering from WisDOT.

I-94 Expansion. Rendering from WisDOT.

A radical of assemblage advocates believes they person a safer, much sustainable strategy than expanding Interstate 94 from six to 8 lanes betwixt N. 16th St. and N. 70th St. successful Milwaukee.

The plan, authored by proscription planner Mark Stout, has 4 cardinal components. It comes aft the Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced successful April it would hold the much than $1 cardinal task for further study.

The program calls for rebuilding and repairing the existing freeway, adding a caller east-west autobus accelerated transit (BRT) enactment connected the South Side, expanding the magnitude of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure successful the country and exploring aboriginal wide transit capableness enlargement projects similar commuter obstruction and a north-south autobus accelerated transit line.

The group, known arsenic Citizens for More Responsible Transportation (CMRT), believes its connection promotes radical equity, confronts clime alteration and is demonstrably feasible. Members see 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Sierra Club (Wisconsin chapter), Wisconsin Environment and Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG).

“We should beryllium pursuing a aboriginal that really meets the needs of the radical adjacent the task corridor,” said Gregg May, proscription argumentation manager astatine 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, successful a statement.

Stout, a advisor and erstwhile New Jersey Department of Transportation adjunct commissioner, authored a 43-page report outlining the plan.

The freeway would beryllium rebuilt, but not expanded. The connection includes fixing “safety hotspots” done context-sensitive solutions and downsizing interchanges, including the Stadium Interchange. Consideration would besides beryllium fixed to strategies similar swapping the names of Interstate 94 and Interstate 894 with the extremity of routing interstate postulation astir Milwaukee alternatively of done it.

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The caller southside BRT enactment on W. National Ave. and W. Greenfield Ave. would complement the nether operation East-West BRT line that was primitively precocious successful portion arsenic a freeway-construction mitigation effort. The high-frequency, faster work for the South Side would commencement Downtown and extremity successful occidental West Allis astatine S. 108th Street. It would beryllium created successful a corridor long-served by the busiest way successful the Milwaukee County Transit System, the BlueLine. An already planned north-south BRT enactment on N. 27th St. would link much of the county.

The 3rd prong, promoting walkable and bikeable neighborhoods successful the corridor, would get a boost from a connection to regenerate the north-south stadium freeway spur, Wisconsin Highway 175, with a boulevard with much connections to the surrounding neighborhoods. The alteration is intended to alleviate a bottleneck astatine the Stadium Interchange with Interstate 94, amended the situation successful the surrounding neighborhoods and beforehand vicinity concern development. The conception of the program besides calls for gathering retired much bicycle connections to the way web successful the Menomonee Valley.

The last facet of the program calls for semipermanent readying for sustainable proscription solutions. A premix of section investments, similar redeveloping the soon-to-be-abandoned Komatsu Mining field astatine W. National Ave. and S. Miller Park Way, are projected arsenic good arsenic determination strategies, similar an east-west commuter obstruction line.

“As the study outlines, the wellness and wellbeing of communities surrounding I-94 should beryllium astatine the halfway of the state’s plans for this area,” said Tony Wilkin Gilbert, enforcement manager of Midwest Environmental Advocates. “That means not expanding the footprint of the highway, which would promote much polluting postulation and, therefore, degrade aerial quality, exacerbate clime change, and trap much vigor successful the cardinal portion of the city. Prioritizing the wellness and wellbeing of surrounding communities besides means prioritizing nationalist transportation. Rapid transit options would let assemblage members to easy question to enactment and schoolhouse without dependence connected cars and statesman to repair the harm to the societal and economical cloth of the neighborhoods caused by the existing highway.”

The freeway enlargement task had been dormant for years, but Governor Tony Evers reactivated the task past year. His medication was pushing to reuse a 946-page biology interaction connection (EIS) that was completed successful 2016. Then-Gov. Scott Walker pulled the plug connected the road task successful 2017 aft the authorities Legislature didn’t money it. The Federal Highway Administration rescinded its support of the archetypal EIS successful 2017.

The biology interaction connection is simply a required papers to entree national funding. The past ceremonial nationalist hearings for the existent EIS were conducted successful 2014.

The task opponents met with FHWA head Stephanie Pollack successful April, a week earlier the authorities announced it would undertake a supplemental EIS process. Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, who is moving for U.S. Senate, not re-election, has besides divided with Evers implicit endorsing the project.

“This volition let america clip to amended measure the changes successful postulation patterns resulting from the pandemic, and to person much nationalist input. It volition besides assistance america marque definite that our efforts to guarantee radical equity with this task are broad and aligned with national priorities,” said WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson successful announcing the expanded readying process successful April. “Doing thing astir this information of roadworthy is not an option. This aging agelong of road is 1 of the astir unsafe roads successful the state.”

A afloat transcript of the program and study tin beryllium recovered astatine FixatSix.org.

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