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It's time to embrace

bus rapid transit

Dear Editor:

As former Wauwatosa aldermen, it has been exciting to see and participate in the important ways Wauwatosa is changing. Managing the need to move a growing number of people — and not just cars — through our community is vital to managing this change. Our children and grandchildren will look upon how we choose to move these people as a decision that impacted their quality of life. One proven and effective way to accomplish this is through the use of bus rapid transit.

In recent weeks there has been considerable discussion about a feasibility study to create an east-west BRT route that will connect two major employment centers: downtown Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.

We encourage Wauwatosans to embrace BRT. Here's why:

· It can be a solution to mitigating the growing traffic congestion problems being created by the growth of the MRMC and retail destinations such as Mayfair mall.

· Our children want BRT, especially millennials. Many people do not have a car or can't afford a car and will choose to live in areas that favor efficient public transportation.

· If Wauwatosa is to thrive, it needs robust public transportation to reduce the expensive street expansion we have witnessed recently on Mayfair Road, Bluemound Road and Watertown Plank Road.

· The proposed BRT line is part of a much broader vision of regional transit that connects area residents to high-density areas like the airport and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

It's important to clear up some misconceptions about the proposed BRT:

· The word 'rapid' does not connote higher speed, but rather, faster travel times. BRT is faster because there are fewer stops, dedicated lanes, and the ability to control traffic signals.

· The BRT Wisconsin Avenue option has been ruled out due to the opposition of Wauwatosa, and the State Street option has also recently been eliminated. This leaves Bluemound Road as the likely recommended alternative, with the location of stops yet to be determined.

· BRT is not a threat to neighborhoods, with its minimal infrastructure and absence of street widening. Indeed, BRT transportation infrastructure investment is likely to spur millions of dollars in economic development and re-development in the Bluemound business district, as it has in the over 100 U.S. cities which have implemented BRT.

It would be a good reflection on the vision of this community if we seize this opportunity to expand our transportation options beyond the 20th-century models of freeways and local public transit. We urge you to stay informed about the East West BRT Feasibility Study at www.eastwestbrt.com and contact your local elected officials to express your support.

Greg Walz-Chojnacki

Jeff Roznowski

Former aldermen

Wauwatosa

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