Monday, March 24, 2008

Boston, Seattle Learning A Few Tricks From Milwaukee; Lessons Lost At SEWRPC

As Wisconsin blunders ahead on the next phase of its $6.5 billion freeway binge in Southeastern Wisconsin - - the brainchild of the regional planning commission's one-dimensional transportation (read: " highways") focus - - cities like Boston and Seattle are looking at simpler, less-expensive and city-friendly models.

Interestingly, those models are informed by Milwaukee's successful tear-down of the underutilized Park East Freeway ramp that led to millions in new development and that has opened up the Milwaukee River and linked the downtown to the North side.

Poor Boston: After suffering through gaudy cost overruns and at least one motorist fatality during the mess known as The Big Dig, it now turns out that $15-$19 billion in maintenance is going to have to come from the public to keep the rest of the state's highways from crumbling.

Talk about bleeding the public to support an essentially unsustainable system.

By the time that the freeway reconstruction plan in southeastern Wisconsin is finished, the Marquette Interchange will no doubt be ready for another fix and expansion and the highway Merry-go-Round in our rail-free city will deliver another trove of public dollars to the road-builders.

More information about to better integrate comprehensive transportation planning with city development is found at the Congress for the New Urbanism website, here.

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