Responding to vehement complaints from Tosans, state officials have created two new plans that would allow Glenview Avenue to absorb additional traffic during Zoo Interchange reconstruction without requiring the road to be widened.
Numerous residents had expressed concern that Glenview - also known as 84th Street - would become a shortcut to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and that neighborhood children would be endangered.
"We heard many comments that this was too much for the Glenview roadway," said Bill Mohr, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Major Projects Manager, adding that homeowners don't want to lose 5 to 8 feet of property to make room for more lanes.
Options laid out
The first option, which Project Director Bob Gutierrez called as good a solution as the four-lane design, is to create a lane running from Bluemound Road to Wisconsin Avenue that traffic in both directions could use to make turns. The road would stay in its existing footprint, but the Bluemound/Glenview intersection would require reconstruction and pedestrian-friendly enhancements such as crosswalks and countdown timers.
The second option is to reconstruct the intersection, but only restripe the roadway to indicate turn lanes and crosswalks.
"We would do the minimal we could do to make it work," Mohr said.
The state needs to make changes to local streets before the Zoo Interchange reconstruction begins, so a design option for Glenview Avenue is needed within two to three weeks, Gutierrez said.
Other plan changes eyed
The proposed expansion of Glenview was one of three impacts of the Zoo Interchange plans that generated significant complaints.
Medical center users want access from Interstate-94 east and west. DOT officials are now looking into the possibility of extending 95th Street, which is adjacent to the freeway, into the medical campus.
Business owners on Bluemound Road near Highway 100 said they feared the proposed loss of a municipal parking lot and some parking in front of their establishments.
Previously, the DOT called for three through-lanes in each direction, three left-turn lanes and one right-turn lane at the intersection of Bluemound and Highway 100. By eliminating the right-turn lane, parking would be saved along Bluemound west of Edwardo's restaurant.
Alderwoman Jacqueline Jay said she is glad to see businesses will retain parking, but she still has one major concern: Plans still call for widening Highway 100, also known as Mayfair Road, to eight lanes. With homes on the east side of the street, she worries about the safety of residents who would try to cross such a wide roadway.
"It seems like we're trying to send traffic down Highway 100 rather than sending them through the interchange," Jay said.
More or less traffic?
Alderwoman Linda Nikcevich also worried that Zoo Interchange plans were pushing vehicles - most of which are not from Wauwatosa - into the city, and that the city and its taxpayers will be responsible for increased policing and road maintenance. Not to mention its residents will face the dangers that come with busier and more congested streets.
"Wauwatosa is bearing the brunt of it," she said.
Gutierrez said that even though there has been a lot of focus on local road, he anticipates most traffic traveling through the region will use the Zoo Interchange.
"We have not been doing a good job of getting the message across that reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange will reduce traffic on the local streets of Wauwatosa," he said.
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