Earlier this year there was much debate on whether or not the Wisconsin Department of Transportation should consider redeveloping the Hoan Bridge to include a bicycle and pedestrian path while redecking the surface. After an extended feasibility study, which took into account cost, traffic impact, and engineering possibilities, WisDOT released its conclusions in a press release today announcing the project will not happen.
"Given the need to prioritize the top economic development projects, after careful study, WisDOT is not moving forward with a bike path on the Hoan Bridge. The Hoan Bridge is a vital part of the Milwaukee-area freeway system. However, the alternatives presented in the feasibility study would impair our ability to provide safe, efficient travel and deliver less value than other possible department investments in economic development in Milwaukee," said Secretary Mark Gottlieb.
"We’re making great progress on the area’s priorities," said Secretary Gottlieb. Our focus is always on promoting economic development and public safety," he concluded.
While this may be disappointing to those lacking four wheels and an engine, the fight for easy access between the Downtown and southern sections of Milwaukee is not completely lost. By the end of 2012 the City of Milwaukee will be completing a new connector between the Lake Park portion of the Oak Leaf Trail and the new raised bike lane on South Bay Street, which takes advantage of the long-unused Canadian-Pacific rail line just east of first street in Walker's Point.
And since the emphasis of the denial was placed on safety, rather than the high cost, perhaps some of the money that would have been put into the bridge bikeway could be reinvested into a different strategy. It's less impressive, but maybe we could re-hire a new Bicycle and Pedestrian coordinator, which would benefit the entire city, not just that two mile stretch.
But man, that view from the Hoan would have been great...Read more...