By my count, more than 200 people attended Wednesday’s public meeting about the proposed Lake Parkway extension at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center.
It was a good meeting — and answered some of the most commonly asked questions about the project. Of course, more details will come if and when this project advances beyond the planning stages and into engineering and ultimately construction.
It’s a process that will “optimistically” take at least 10 years, according to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission — and more than likely 15 or more. So don’t expect to see Highway 794 go beyond Edgerton Avenue anytime soon.
That said, it’s a worthy project and worthy of continued debate. So I credit Milwaukee County Supervisor Pat Jursik and other local leaders for driving this, even if it will soon get much harder as this project advances beyond the drawing board and on to the formal regional transportation plan.
You can learn more about the $207 millions extension plan here. Among the local impacts mentioned at Wednesday’s meeting:
- The project would generally follow the Union Pacific Railroad tracks south of Edgerton to Highway 100, with three interchanges most directly serving South Milwaukee. Two, at Rawson and Drexel, are being planned as grade-separated (either above or below grade). The third, at College, would be a “jug handle” interchange similar to that found currently at 794 and Oklahoma Avenue.
- The extension would reduce traffic on Highway 32 and Pennsylvania/Nicholson through South Milwaukee, eliminating the need for widening of the latter south of Rawson to Milwaukee Avenue.
- Widening between College and Rawson is still planned for this summer and fall — work that I strongly argue is still necessary given the long-range nature of the extension project.
- The Lake Parkway extension would be a safer road. Crash rates on the extension would be about half that of Pennsylvania, the primary arterial that would (and does) carry traffic without the project.
Of course, I’d like to know what you think of this project. Post your comments below!
(I also wanted to share a letter of opposition from Michael Timm, a Cudahy resident and former editor of the Bay View Compass, that found its way to my email. While I support this project, Mr. Timm raises some good points against it. Food for thought …)