Sunday, December 30, 2007

Where's Terry?

The South Side is wondering why Ald. Terry Witkowski is so quiet over airport expansion plans that will destroy an entire neighborhood in his district. He's invisible on the issue.

Witkowski has shown himself perfectly willing to swallow whole, without pause to chew or think, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's argument that it must sacrifice 27th Street businesses in order to save south side homes and accommodate the proposed, unfunded $1.9 billion-plus-hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars in interest costs freeway expansion plan. (We mustn't think there are more than two choices, must we?)

On the airport issue, though, not a word.

The airport says it needs a new runway by 2016 to 2020. The folks at General Mitchell International Airport have produced newsletters that are remarkably uninformative about the devastating impact the plan would have on the alderman's district. The airport included this map in its fall newsletter, which reveals not much.The yellow area is the property the airport wants to acquire. The dashed line trapezoidy things are planned airport protection zones where development generally is restricted. All that looks fine and dandy until you lay the airport-produced map over a satellite shot of the same area.

Here's the neighborhood, as seen from space:

Here is the airport plan married to the Google shot. The match isn't perfect, but is close enough for demonstration purposes. I outlined the key areas -- protection zones and the land the airport wants.

And here are a couple shots of the neighborhood the airport wants -- one to show a larger view and another, closer, of the main residential area that would be affected. The plan actually calls for rerouting streets to make room for airport growth.

Terry, where are you?


geoff said...

The runway is not new. It was approved in the mid 90s as part of the previous airport master plan.

De Los Santos said...

aye, tis not "new news". I have mixed feelings about this. Having another long parallel runway is probably a good thing for the MKE area as a whole. It's not the same thing as expanding a freeway - it's actually useful.

I wonder if there are more creative ways to do it, however. Rather than just smashing the whole area. Still, if I lived in that neighborhood, I'd be inclined to prefer an airport buy-out. I wouldn't want to live that close to the airport anyway.

Gretchen Schuldt said...

It's not "new news," but it is "renewed news." The plan has been updated, and with the newly-available 440th property, one might think there might be a less destructive runway location alternative, but nope -- the C-1 knock-the-houses down alternative still is a go. It also looks like the plan will go to the County Board for approval in summer (at least according to Cudahy NOW). And there is the environmental impact process to come. Lots going on. Lots of news.

And since the runway doesn't exist yet, it is not new or old.

Christopher Kuester said...

The last thing Milwaukee needs is to Raze homes! Our taxes are climbing at an alarming rate, thanks to fiscal irresponsibility on the part of our elected officials! ($1400 Dollar Trash Cans to name an example.)
I would like to see a plan that would cover all options on future expansion. Mitchell Airport is a crucial hub of transportation, but like the freeways let's make certain it is done in the most responsible manner. This is something we will have to live with for generations!

Christopher Kuester
Milwaukee 13th District
Candidate for Alderman

de los santos said...

Well, I dunno. Has anyone asked the home owners in that neighborhood?

EIther way, take a look at Google earth. Where would you put a new parallel runway?

de los santos said...

so I was checking out the Google earth and it does look like there's room for a runway a little bit south that would avoid that neighborhood but it would wreck a forest and the Oak Creek Campus of MATC.

That makes me wonder. Why does MATC bother with such a thing? It's obviously a bad location with the potential airport expansions and irresponsible to spread the campus into the sprawl zone... a well.

Joe Klein said...

Perhaps some creative linkages are possible here. If we expand Mitchell, can we ditch Timmermann?

Making Timmermann into a state-or-the-art sustainable urban community could do all of the following:

o Improve Milwaukee's tax base
o provide funds for Mitchell expansion
o provide a place for dislocated residents from the Mitchell expansion, or at least funds to mitigate the consequences of expansion.
o Build a bright patch of new urbanism as a counterpoint to Pabst Farm.