Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Alverno College president looks for alternatives

Updated 1/3 because, Alverno communications vp Michael Harryman said, Alverno Meehan does not oppose the plan. "Alverno College is interested in helping our neighbors on 27th Street find a solution that provides a safe driving environment for motorists as well as access to businesses," he said.

Alverno College President Mary J. Meehan is asking the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to look again at its plan to limit access to the 27th Street area for drivers coming northbound through the Mitchell Interchange. It could have negative impacts on the neighborhood.

It would be a lot easier to come up with an acceptable alternative with a six-lane freeway rather than with the eight-lane monstrosity WisDOT is pushing. (The department's draft environmental impact statement says that freeway expansion will benefit the suburbs over the city and save minimal driving time; foregoing expansion will likely encourage more development closer to downtown.)

Excerpts from Meehan's letter to WisDOT Secretary Frank Busalacchi:

While we at Alverno certainly understand the need to address the safety concerns that this current ramp configuration presents, we are also very concerned with the impact a move like this could hold for the 27th Street business district; a corridor that is just beginning to grow and one that is vitally important to our community and our constituents....

Please understand that while we feel safety is paramount, and entire neighborhood and community could be severely and negatively impacted by shifting traffic patterns in this manner. Alverno College itself represents more than 2600 students and 500 employees, most of whom patronize businesses on and around 27th. However, our college campus cannot sustain these businesses; they depend on traffic from the 27th Street exits to funnel patrons into this corridor.

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