Sunday, December 28, 2008

'Comprehensive' Suburban Water Plan Leaves Out Housing, Transit, Development

A comprehensive water plan?


A water supply plan, yes - - but with no regard for all the impacts of water diversions and piping in a region where resources are already inequitably distributed.

This, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.

It sees an issue here, and an issue there - - like water, or transportation - - and deals with them as if they were not connected.

Sorta like fielding a baseball team missing the shortstop one day, the centerfielder the next, or maybe playing an entire year without a catcher.

The result: major policy moves are recommended, and in some cases (major highways) approved, that are based on a publicly-fianced Land Use Plan decades old, and that set the stage for urban decline and suburban sprawl, with contemporary realities, and shifts in the economy and modern concepts like climate change and sustainability routinely ignored.

The water supply plan has got to be analyzed as a political document - - not in the partisan sense - - but as a proposal that will cause changes in housing patterns, development opportunities, transportation and other matters of public and private investment.

Where is that awareness and analysis?

The water plan - - with its nuts-and-bolts and water infrastructure cost/benefit approaches - - misses the bigger picture.

In it there is no recognition that we are approaching the end of the first decade of the 21st century - - so an ineffective and discriminatory status quo is maintained, and our region continues to lag behind, because political leadership and regional planning managers wear blinders and avoid bold, new, innovative and genuinely comprehensive work.

Additional commentary here.


Anonymous said...

Their process and resulting plan, of course, reflects the makeup of their board - skewed in favor of the ring of counties around Milwaukee.

Nice going in continuing to push the flaws of SEWRPC. I hope the leadership of this state pays attention and forces them to change and bring Wisconsin in line with the needs of this century.

James Rowen said...

Right on, Leonard;

Let your state legislators know that you support the Common Council's unanimous resolution for a restructured commission - - a document that will be formally lobbied at the Capitol, along with a companion County Board resolution , in January.