With the not-so-surprising 'news' that buildings at the Milwaukee Grounds on the National Historic Registry may be razed as part of the UW-M research park plan there, remember also that Wauwatosa officials told the Waukesha Patch a few months ago they were dismayed at the effects of the Zoo Interchange freeway plan on the development and site, too.
...a sort of glum realization seemed to settle over aldermen as they saw what impact the project will really have on the County Grounds.
"The road looks really – big," Ald. Tim Hanson said after seeing the plans for the north-to-south route planned to serve the research and development center between Watertown Plank Road and Swan Boulevard.
Other aldermen echoed Hanson's feeling. The broad roadway sweeping through the Grounds suddenly looked immense on just 51 acres open to development.
Zoo Interchange complicates mattersStarting out the presentation, City Administrator Jim Archambo had referred to the "complicating factors" of the imminent Zoo Interchange Project, which will rebuild Swan Boulevard west of the Technology Parkway intersection and all of the Watertown Plank Road intersection starting in 2013...
The Zoo Interchange "complication" that hit most council members hardest, though, was an alteration in the Department of Transportation's design plan that forced the Watertown Plank entrance to Technology Parkway to be moved from the west side of the development to the east side.
In the middle sits the historic Parks Headquarters Building, so the entrance could only be on either side of it...
Access road or thoroughfare?Finally, Ald. Brian Ewerdt asked the most pragmatic question about the road through Innovation Park.
"What is being done to keep this from becoming a shortcut?" he wanted to know – while confessing that he drives that way every day and would be strongly tempted to use it himself, even though he might have no business to conduct in Innovation Park.
He was told that a roundabout in the middle of the proposed road, its overall winding and swooping nature, and a speed limit of 25 mph ought to discourage most through-traffic drivers. But at the same time, designers said, "The complexion of traffic will change before, during and after" the DOT works through its concurrent project.
I wrote this in August, 2009:
I am not sure if people really understand the breadth of landscape and habitat destruction that is in this financially-absurd proposal...
Among the plan's chief backers: Scott Walker, Milwaukee County Executive, which means he is the chief steward of the very Milwaukee County Grounds open space, habitat, woodlands and landscape the Zoo Interchange will demolish, pave, flood and otherwise trash.
If he is elected Governor, you can expect the mentality that wants to ruin much of the County Grounds, with its attendant air and water pollution, grafted onto an already out-of-control state highway budget.In December, 2009:
The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, having already agreed to sell 89 acres on the County Grounds to UWM, could decide next week on a development plan designed to allow both UWM's construction on the grounds to go forward and preserve the Monarch habitat.In March, 2010:
But there are doubts that both can be achieved, given the size of the UWM project - - a new engineering school and innovation center - - along with roads and ancillary development in support of the school and center by businesses to follow.
You've gotta feel for Wauwatosa these days.In May, 2010:
Traffic will be messed up there for years when the full Zoo Interchange reconstruction and widening gets underway. That's an eight-year deal.UWM wants to build on 89 County Grounds acres, with harsh impacts to open space and a world-class natural phenomenon - - the Monarch Butterfly habitat.
So the City of Wauwatosa approved on Tuesday UWM's chaotic and unfunded plan to build on more than 80 acres at the soon-to-shrink Milwaukee County Grounds - - with the blessing of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors which had already taken the land deal money and run.In March, 2011:
The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning, predictably, sat on its developer-happy, highway-enabling hands, too, saying nothing about the loss of the County Grounds acreage - - just as they said nothing as the Pabst Farms project was developed in Western Waukesha County on land SEWRPC had suggested be kept designated agricultural.No doubt SEWRPC would say that no one asked its opinion about the County Grounds, and, yes - - why would anyone ask? - - as SEWRPC has already recommended the expansion of all the highways right next door to the County Grounds - - I-94, I-894, and US 45 - - in a $6.4 billion freeway reconstruction plan the agency wrote for the state that does not contain a recommended nickel for transit.So it is left to UWM and the failing Milwaukee County Transit System to somehow, someway provide transit links to the County Grounds from UWM's main campus miles away crosstown on Milwaukee's East side.Look for surface parking instead - - the lowest usage of prime real estate known - - to anchor what will be called the new campus' transportation plan.Speaking of transportation, the regional East-West Corridor Study had endorsed light rail with service to the County Grounds, but anti-urban, anti-transit forces in Waukesha County blew up the study more than a decade ago, and the Tommy Thompson administration gave up on the concept - - which it had endorsed until panicked by right-wing talk radio and local politicians in Waukesha County, which is the core of the GOP's conservative base
Tom Held and the graphics people at Journal Sentinel do a masterful job showing how the Zoo Interchange plan favored by Scott Walker's DOT grabs a lot of land for an LA-Freeway worthy expansion for the intersection of Blue Mound Rd. and Mayfair Rd. that is just north of the core of the I-94.894/Highway 45 interchange in Wauwatosa.In April, 2011 - - and believe me, I could go on and on and on and on...
Some of that land is on or near the Milwaukee County Grounds - - or should I say the fast-disappearing County Grounds - - where a scheme cooked up by UWM, area business leaders, the Milwaukee County Board and then-County Executive Walker will also pave over 80-some acres on the County Grounds for an engineering school and research center that will bring more pavement and traffic and 'development' to the area.
The deadline for comment submission is the end of the work day Monday, April 4th. The more comments received that oppose the expansion in this no-transit/ $1.7 billion highway-only project- - particularly mentioning the loss of wetlands, Monarch Butterfly habitat and other open space on or near the County Grounds - - the more likely it is that the project can be redesigned and its damage at least mitigated.In February, 2012:
Given the Legislature's contempt for wetlands preservation statewide, and the Milwaukee County Board's documented preference for one-time dollars over open space at the County Grounds, it wouldn't surprise me if more green space there gives way to building and parking. Eddee Daniels has the story.Enough? Spare me the surprise.