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UPDATE: 10/28/19 3pm
Here at the Wisconsin Bike Fed, we want to emphasize that we believe in full budgetary transparency in all municipalities across the state for friendlier more bikeable and walkable communities. With the recent serious crashes occurring, one on October 26th when a 16 year old girl walking was hit when a person driving reportedly tried to beat a yellow light, and then October 24th the death of a six-year-old walking with her friends and family, the Milwaukee Common Council and the Mayor are grasping for solutions. During a press conference held near 22nd and Center St. the morning of Saturday, October 26th, the council was outraged and spoke in-depth about the consequences for the murderer of the child, and the consequences of other people driving recklessly. State Senator Lena Taylor, who is currently running for Milwaukee Mayor in 2020, was present. After the conference the council took questions, Taylor restated a question posed by a resident, “are we having more conversations about restorative justice? What have we done other than feed into the mass incarceration mindset that the present leadership always seems to be willing to do?” Taylor was referring to solutions to the problem of reckless driving. Alderman and Council President Ashanti Hamilton said he understood the question and thanked them, he stated that he is aware that Complete Streets needs to be funded city-wide, but enforcement optically is quick and desirable by some. We believe Taylor’s questions were critical and important, especially because the topic of restorative justice gets to the root cause of these issues, and investing in these creative solutions beyond punitive action has been sorely neglected in the past.
ORIGINAL POST ON 10/24/19
As the 2020 budget hearings in the City of Milwaukee come to an end we must continue to fight for more transparency on how our dollars and grant aid support safer and healthier streets.
On Monday, October 21st the City of Milwaukee Capital Improvements Committee had a discussion related to the 2020 proposed budget. In that discussion, Alderman Bauman raised many questions [at 50min mark] including how the traffic control budget is being laid out for improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
The Alderman asks City Engineer, Samir Amin, and DPW Operations Manager Rollin Bertran about pedestrian beacons, protected bicycle lanes, as well as considerations for micro-mobility devices (e-scooters, etc) and what part of the traffic control budget covers these facilities. “Didn’t we just pass with a lot of fanfare, the Pedestrian Safety Plan?” At the moment, there are 10-15 public pedestrian beacon requests that Bertran says are deemed ‘warranted,’ quickly the Alderman noted that this is an estimated backlog of at least 5 years to install pedestrian beacons.
Originally, in the Traffic Control budget [keyword “traffic control”] there was a $625,000 request to support Multimodal projects. Now, it has been blended into the traffic control overall budget of $3.6M. Although the traffic control budget description section indicates that $700,000 will go towards the ‘development and enhancement of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the city,’ we are still unsure as to how they will be applied to the decade-old Milwaukee by Bike Master Plan as well as the Milwaukee Pedestrian Plan. The description further indicates that “$100,000 would go towards protected bicycle lanes.” Around the country, construction of modern, protected bike lanes costs between $133,170 per mile and $536,680 per mile.
UPDATE 10/25/2019 2:39pm CST
This is why we need your help! Just THIS afternoon Alderman Bauman made a public statement regarding the grave safety issues that reckless driving poses to persons in the public right of way. Bauman has offered an amendment of “at least $500,000 to the traffic control budget [for multimodal] to the existing $700,000 for bike and ped safety improvements!
ACT NOW! Tell the City of Milwaukee Common Council that you support Bauman’s amendment, tell them that a separate line item for Multimodal spending must be established in perpetuity and continue to grow for safe and healthy streets in Milwaukee. We can no longer afford to take a Laissez-faire approach to changes in the public right of way, and an incident as extreme as loss of life, especially that of a child, can no longer determine our tenets of government.
We’ve provided some basic copy, however, we encourage you to personalize as you see fit; share a story from your own experience, or a particular safety issue that you believe has taken too long to improve.
UPDATE 10/28/2019 2020 final Budget hearings will occur THURSDAY OCTOBER 31ST (ALL DAY) get your message in ASAP!