The Milwaukee Common Council on Thursday approved a resolution supporting a six-lane reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange with the inclusion of a right-of-way for transit.
Milwaukee’s Steering and Rules Committee approved the resolution on a 3-2 vote, with one member abstaining and another leaving the meeting before the vote was called. The resolution opposes rebuilding the Zoo Interchange with eight lanes and supports a design for the 84th Street intersection that requires fewer houses to be demolished. It also would require the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to reserve a 30-foot right-of-way heading north-south through the center of the interchange.
Aldermen took turns criticizing WisDOT’s planning process during the meeting. Aldermen Robert Bauman and Michael Murphy, who sponsored the resolution, said WisDOT will prevent any transit from heading north through the interchange by not considering adding a right-of-way.
Alderman Jim Witkowiak said WisDOT is not trying hard enough to collect public comments on the project, and Alderman Jim Bohl argued the department will not change its designs based on public opinion anyway.
Donna Brown, WisDOT Zoo Interchange project director, said it is nonsense to say the department does not consider public opinion in its project designs. Although only 245 people attended WisDOT’s public hearings on June 23 and 24, 880 people attended public meetings in 2008, and WisDOT receives letters from people every day, she said.
The department will collect public comments until Aug. 10.