Friday, December 26, 2008

I-94 Corridor West To Waukesha Needs Rail

Having been trapped in rush hour Tuesday on I-94 from Milwaukee to the west - - and yes, it was my choice to drive - - I again observe how insane the traffic is, and how greatly is better transit, and a reil link needed in that corridor.

Do you folks out Waukesha way have an idea of what is coming at you when the Zoo Interchange goes under reconstruction for four years somewhere around 2012?

You will be begging for a fast train downtown and back - - but your County killed light rail a few years ago and because Waukesha County is boycotting the regional transit authority, you will not be hooked up to commuter rail (the KRM) or better buses, either.

Speak up now, Waukesha, or be consigned to gridlock for the next decade, at a minimum.


Unknown said...

The Waukesha/Milwaukee conundrum on housing, transit, and regional politics is slowly but surely killing SE WI. Who will lead us to a better way? Barret? Vrakas? Doyle? Walker?

See none of the above.

Michael J. Cheaney said...

Trapped in rush hour traffic in Waukesha?

You don't suppose that the REAL reason you were trapped in traffic was because it was snowing now do ya?

Anonymous said...

Speak up?? We have been for years! The answer is NO.

James Rowen said...

To Michael; rush hours could be minimized and mitigated with and by transit, especially during a snow event. Since Waukesha actively obstructs transit initiatives, the rush hours are worse than need be for commuters.

James Rowen said...

To Jim and E_Man - - I appreciate your perpectives. We'll end up with better transit because economic pressures will force it, though at higher costs and with years of missed opportunities in its wake.

Anonymous said...

@Jim I love the enthusiasm but I think that if the KRM moves forward and shows signs of success then Waukesha will get on board.

Anonymous said...


How exactly is traffic going to be mitigated during snow storms with mass transit?

Believe me People will not just all of a sudden look out the window, see its snowing and then decide to stand at a bus stop (in the snow) that may or may not be near their homes, in which case they have to walk (In the snow) to the bus stop (in the snow) wait for the bus, (in the snow) get to their destination, walk again (in the snow) do whatever it is they need to do and repeat the process all over again.

That is the craziest "reasoning" for mass transit I have ever heard.

And besides I bet if you look at MCTS numbers DURING a snowstorm I'll bet the the numbers will be down from a comperable time period during a NON snow day.

James Rowen said...

To Michael: A coordinated transit system that is in place, accepted, and used routinely would offer drivers an alternative to driving in a heavy snowstorm, or in other circumstances, including regular rush hours. Fewer cars on the roads during inclement weather would reduce congestion. Not eliminate it, but moderate it.

Anonymous said...

Metafilter is one of my favorite sites for random information.

Here is an interesting observation.

The conclusion that I get is that the anarchy of choices makes systems with more choice in a specific transportion type less effiecient. Adding capacity adds more choices and reduces the overall efficiency of the system.

James Rowen said...

To Vic; I'm not sure that Braess' paradox applies to adding transit to a road-domonatd system.

James Rowen said...

Typo patrol: road-dominated.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to the Zoo Interchange rebuild, as long as they don't rebuild it exactly as it stands today. It needs a redesign, which will go a long, long way to easing traffic issues.

The biggest problem is the ramp from I94E to I894/45S, mostly because there is the on ramp from Hwy 100 which merges right at the ramp, and causes all sorts of issues as people try to cross over.

I would think that the success of the Marquette Interchange project (on time and budget) would help your concerns, especially since that redesign has also helped alleviate traffic issues there somewhat. Though to be honest, I don't drive it in rush hour all that much any more since I no longer have a downtown client.

James Rowen said...

To Nick;

Expanding the Zoo Interchange w/out transit is a mistake. The County Grounds should have light and commuter rail connections, for example.

WisDOT is also not integrating smart and sustainable land use into the redesign, and will probably end up creating more congestion to the west by inducing usage, plus it will be dumping more traffic to the east, where expansion near the stadium, the VA, the cemetaries and Story Hill will degrade these areas.

As for the Marquette: I-94 E to I-43 N is a mess, and not an improvement. And the descent off the High Rise heading west past Marquette is the New Death Valley, so I cannot use the Marquette as an object lesson except to say that major highway expansion in and over the heart of a city eats up tax base and puts through traffic where it doesn't belong.

Anonymous said...

I guess that is what I was saying. In a road dominated system adding more choices to the road system makes it less efficient. Capacity only breeds a higher inefficiency.

The rail line is a second and independent choice that leaves the efficiency of the road system the same while reducing its overall use.