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...
Sorry, Jimmy, but some fencing and a stripe doesn't sound like it'd do much to prevent a vehicle from crashing through it. Just look at the auto paint streaks on the concrete median the next time you cross the Hoan and you'll see what I mean. You might have to give up a little of that consulting fee to put towards materials.
In other words, this was nothing but a sham by the DOT meant to fullfill requirements to recieve federal highway dollars.
Considering this same agency proposed eliminating the Hoan Bridge enitirely by highlighting it's "lack" of usage just a year ago, it's pretty laughable for them to assert they were concerned about traffic congestion on the northbound side if one traffic lane was eliminated. Since one traffic lane has been closed for the better part of the last year, it should be pretty obvious that traffic was only minimally affected during the morning commute. As for their stated safety concerns - B.S. Period. If anyone's ridden the possible routes from the near south side to downtown, they'd know there is no possible way a path over the Hoan could even remotely be more dangerous than that (even with the new conenctor route). This a shame and is further evidence that our motto should officially be changed to "Backwards".
Even the $9 million estimate was overkill... close 1 lane of northbound traffic & put a fence on both sides of the path. Done.
That'll be $250,000 in fencing & $1,000 for a painted stripe down the middle... for some of the best public views of Milwaukee & the harbor... plus a great connection to Bay View/Downtown. How about they can pay me a $5 million consultant fee just so the cost doesn't look too low.
You know, it would probably save money, because they wouldn't have to maintain the bike lane as though semi's are passing over it.
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