Friday, September 11, 2009

Talk Radio Discovers Freeways Aren't Free

You gotta wonder where these people have been all these years?

Jeff Wagner, the AM 620 WTMJ early afternoon conservative talker, was grousing Tuesday about apparent delays in widening and rebuilding the Zoo Interchange.

Wagner must think the $2.3 billion projected cost for the project can be cobbled together out of thin air.

He made a good point - - also made by what he dismissed in the same segment as the anti-freeway crowd - - that the $1.9 billion I-94 widening and rebuilding south of Milwaukee to the Illinois state line shouldn't have begun before the Zoo Interchange piece was reconstructed.

Of course, the anti-freeway crowd has pointed out that the I-94 North/South leg is more than expensive: it's widening was not supported by data - - but regardless, there is no way that the state could take on both the Zoo and North/South projects at the same time.

So the Zoo is going to have to wait. Interim repairs will be needed, and commuters going to and from Waukesha County, and north-south on State Highway 45 and I-894 are going to have to slow down or find alternative routes.

Yes, it's an inconvenience, but you know what: Not everyone gets to drive at so-called freeway speeds whenever he or she wants, just as freeways are not free.

Waukesha commuters can spend some of their time framing this question for their County Board supervisors and conservative talk show hosts:

Was killing further study of light rail connections linking Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties back in the 1990's really in commuters' long-term interests?

That option would have been in place right now as a comfortable, mitigating alternative to freeway congestion.


Anonymous said...

Could you post the data that shows the I-94 expansion is unnecessary?

Anonymous said...

Does every major city have the same uncooperative and racist suburban constituency? Is this just how America works? This type of crap makes me want to move from this bitter and brain dead region.

Anon Jim said...

Yes - everyone knows that the Zoo Interchange and the associated E-W I-94 corridor should have been done before N-W corridor to the border was.

This has been discussed by all of the local talkers for a few years now.

The irony is & what you fail to mention James is that the reason the N-W is being done first is only for political reasons - because egghead urbanists like you are fighting tooth and nail the necessary rebuild including widening that needs to be done.

There was much less opposition to the N-W corridor, so that is the one being done now.

We all know that wrecking the road system is the cornerstone to your choo choo trains plans.

Waukesha commuters didn't and still don't want trains - so they will be asking you, why you are blocking progress.

Anonymous said...

Who said that freeways are free, Mr. Rowen? What is the cite? The Milwaukee County Expressway Commission did not-and that is the last group to actually do something about building transportation in the county. Unlike the former Milwaukee mayor you worked for-who was only good at whipping up opposition but not having the skills to build the positive coalition-the Expressway Commission built the system that Milwaukee uses today to work, play, and travel. You should be grateful to them-and grateful that Norquist's idea largely died after he left office.

James Rowen said...

Freeways have their misleading to convey a false impression of theor many real costs.

As to Norquist;: Your anger is odd and ill-imformed.

Anonymous said...

Anger towards Norquist? Actually, this is more about facts. Under his leadership the city street network was allowed to descend to third world status. Barrett has to clean up the mess. The mayor advocates the tearing down of one freeway corridor (Park East) while another one remains vacant in spots 35 years later (Park West). The city's track record in redeveloping needed freeway corridors is abysmal. I go back to my major point-the former mayor does not have the track record that the Milwaukee County Expressway and Transportation had in providing first class transportation facilities. Those are the facts. Give me Frank Zeidler or John Doyne-both urbanists who supported a completed freeway network. John Norquist was and is a pale imitation of those men.

James Rowen said...

That freeway system did wonders for Milwaukee.

Split the north side, dislocated families and neighborhoods.

Did the same to downtown and the near south side. And would have wrecked the lakefront had it not been stopped.

How much state funding went into and still subsidizes the freeway system at the expense of state aids to local street grids?

Do you not see that relationship?

Interstate freeways do not belong in and though cities. Near them, and connecting them: fine.

Bisecting them? Forget it.