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?