Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tail Wags The Dog At Pabst Farms Interchange

Could there be a worse example of poor land-use and transportation planning coordination than the scramble to find millions in state funds to hurriedly build an I-94 interchange for the proposed, upscale shopping mall at Pabst Farms?

Suppose the 1,600-acre 'planned community' had two malls? Or some other big attraction. Would the state revise its transportation budgets for a second interchange?

Maybe while the state is busy searching for available millions, it could throw in a helipad for the helicopter commuters now whirring through the Waukesha County skies, too.

After all, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says it's for mixed, multi-modal transportation schemes, so why not put in a full-blown airfield, since Crites Field is, what, a distant ten miles away?

It seems we have highway expansion now "on demand" for certain transportation needs, and the priorities are getting clear..

Downtown Milwaukee can't get a rail loop begun after more than a decade of planning - - with the full process - - meetings, designs, charettes, hearings and various iterations of inter-governmental discussions.

But state planners say they should be able to find by next year the $20-30 million needed to help shoppers get to a Crate and Barrel in Western Waukesha County. It took them just a few months to get cracking and find the dough.

That's regional planning for you.


Anonymous said...

This is problem with governement. Those with money and power have their voices heard first. While you are right to point out the speed with which this "joke of an interchange" took place. We must also blame ourselves. Had we voted the likes of Walker out already we would have had a more unified voice to go to Madison with. We will never compete with the big money of investors and developers. However, we have one thing that they do not...tens of thousands of people. We must unite!

Anonymous said...

This is only the first of multiple road "improvements". The county roads both east, north and south of the project (P,B and DR) all are proposed or planned to go to at least four lanes and State HWY 67 to the west will undoubtedly go to six lanes. The County ,City and the Town have all said they are ponying up at this point; if Doyle and the Dems want to bail out all of the above especially Dan( NO NEW TAXES) Varakas, its time to put them out of their misery.

My real concern is that the proposed interchange will only service the big box retail on the eastern part of P Farm. The area for the big box was almost doubled recently at the developers (Peter Bell) request and approved by the enlightened City Board. My concern is that Bell only has commitments for this part of the project and the much larger mall will remain a dream and all the while paying farmland exemption taxes in this wonderful TIF district.

Anonymous said...

(correction to last comment) "are ponying up", correction NOT ponying up Sorry for not paying closer attention.

Steve Branca said...

Just another real world, real-time example of why there isn't enough money for highway maintenance. No ribbon cuttings for properly maintaining a bridge, no moneyed special interest looking out for structural integrity.

Furthermore, since this interchange will largely benefit only one property owner, that owner should pay for it.

Read my lips: No New Highways!