All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Monday, November 28, 2011

Last chance! Your 2-cents against Hoan bike path & Trolley could save millions

Most of you have heard about these 2 transportation projects, the addition of pedestrian / bike lanes to the I-794 Hoan Bridge reconstruction project and the Milwaukee Streetcar project, sometimes called the Milwaukee Trolley. (I often refer to it as Tom Barrett's Folly Trolley.)

The 2 projects have little in common except that they are both located in Milwaukee, both serve a very tiny percentage of the population, both add to traffic congestion, and both carry a whopping price-tag!

The public hearings on both projects have passed, but you may still submit your comments via email until Wednesday, November 30th for the I-794 Hoan Bridge Bike Path and until Friday, December 2nd, 5pm for the Milwaukee Streetcar project.

Since both of these projects are primarily Federally funded, you DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE IN MILWAUKEE to submit your comments!

The Hoan Bridge Bike Lane Project: Comments due by 5pm Wednesday, November 30th - Email

Bicycles on the Interstate? Though I have seen bicycle's permitted signs on interstates in other parts of our nation, these usually were in very remote areas where there were NO other roads. Here in Milwaukee, that isn't the problem; there are other routes that would allow for bicycle traffic. (Click link and scroll half way down the page to see street level bike routes.)

Another problem with the Hoan bike path is the elevation rise and drop.
Very few bikers are in the kind of shape necessary to make this route practical.

And then there is the wind and weather component. Having recently driven
on the high bridges on I-43 in a SUV through Green Bay, we experienced the gusty winds off the lake. I cannot imagine what the Hoan would be like on a bicycle! And what about biking or walking in the rain or in winter?

How many riders would utilize this route? Costs for just adding the bike path range from an estimated $9.5 million to $95.5 million for a totally separate structure.

Wisconsin DOT I-794 Project reports
Sheriff Clarke and Senator Larson clash over proposed Hoan Bridge bike path

The Milwaukee Streetcar Project - Comments due by 5pm Friday, December 2nd - Email

Does the price-tag of about $30 million per mile ($65 M total) seem a worthy expenditure to you for a streetcar in Milwaukee you will probably never use? How about an additional $32 million per mile to move the existing utility lines? So the initial route cost estimates add up to $135 million for that 2.1 mile route: $65 million for the trolleys and track, $70 million to move utilities. Plus, don't forget an additional $2.7 million a year to operate the thing.

And oh, if that were the only cost! For that cost only reflects the first 2.1 mile leg of the route, the anchor baby of the project, so to speak. Because if you look at the proposed route map, you see this $65 million original leg is only a tiny portion of the spider shaped route map (Scroll down the page to see 2nd map.)
Keep in mind each mile of tracks laid carry the exorbitant expense of moving utilities, take up a traffic lane, and/or eliminate street parking along the route.

Why do we need this when a bus route would accomplish the same?
I rode the Milwaukee Transit buses for years to work. It is beyond me why this expensive street-car is being proposed. A bus line would offer more flexibility in routing. Buses can be rerouted or eliminated to reflect demand. Plus, unlike Portland and Phoenix, Wisconsin has winter. Buses can run in slushy, icy, snowy conditions. Can streetcars on embedded light-rail tracks?

Giving back the high-speed rail "free pony" anchor baby
Milwaukee Streetcar Route and future routes
Streetcar Comparison: Milwaukee vs. Portland

So this is one of the few times your input, your 2-cents, could save millions of dollars--billions when you include the additional routes and other areas bike lanes would be added to Interstates.

Say NO now to this kind of spending--we can't afford it.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, RandyMelchert, Betterbrookfield, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, WisPolitics Quorum Call, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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