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Highway 175 overhaul for the good of the neighborhood, speeding cars in the heart of Milwaukee | WUWM 89.7 FM

Highway 175 overhaul for the good of the neighborhood, speeding cars in the heart of Milwaukee |  WUWM 89.7 FM

A short spur of the highway that has jutted out into the heart of Milwaukee for decades can be transformed over time.

City and county officials and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation are: re-evaluating Wisconsin Highway 175between western Wisconsin and the avenues of Lisbon, to become friendlier to people than heavy traffic.

Now stand in Washington Park north of American Family Field and look west to WIS-175; all you see is concrete pavement and vehicles shooting over it.

It was Wednesday afternoon in Washington Park that DOT Secretary Craig Thompson announced that his agency is allocating $2-$3 million to evaluate how best to calm and transform the mile-long stretch.

†[To] make sure we take in all the community input, that we listen, that we can do it in a way that hopefully reconnects communities that were divided in the past, allowing people of all different modes to cross over to people on the way they choose to do that,” Thompson said.

Built in the 1960s, the highway spur removed the western edge of the park, demolishing city blocks and tearing neighborhoods apart.

Milwaukee County executive director David Crowley said it’s time to right some of those mistakes and make sure the improvements benefit residents. “Together with the mayor, this is a partnership, we want to ensure that everyone who lives in the area can continue to live in this neighbourhood. … It is extremely important that we do everything we can to not make people too expensive,” he said.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson says WIS 175 track reconstruction provides an opportunity to unlock the corridor.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson called the project an opportunity to unlock the corridor. “If we have reconstruction in this area, it will unlock economic value and commercial value and it will reconnect neighborhoods, providing opportunities for multimodal transportation, not just cars,” he said.

Johnson’s message drew applause from people gathered at the park’s windy peak, including Anna Bailliekova.

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Proponents of calming both the WIS-175 spur and curbing planned expansion of the nearby I-94 East-West Corridor during Wednesday’s press event in Washington Park.

She cycled three miles from the Cooper Park neighborhood where she lives.

Bailleikova was pleased that each speaker said that public opinion will play a key role in the future of the corridor. “They’ve definitely stated it, but in a way it’s up to us to make our voices heard. We all need to be in the ears of our provincial regulators, of our aldermen, of the Ministry of Transport; they need to hear from us. It’s up to all of us to advocate for this,” she said.

Officials hope that a special pot of money within the bipartisan infrastructure law will be allocated to: reconnecting communities divided by transport infrastructure will fuel construction of any design to the top.

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