Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Many of you want to know what you can do to influence the outcome for 51st St.(specifically north of Rawson). I believe the issue begins with the City's outdated wide-road design standards. More than eight years ago the concept of "street calming" was introduced. This and several other concepts used elsewhere provide alternatives that allow for safer and better road design. If we want to maintain and improve the aesthetic appeal of our community, we need options beyond basic road plumbing. Below the meeting notice are some ideas to support re-thinking our present point A to point B, with nothing in-between, travel concept.
SPECIAL COMMON COUNCIL MEETING
TUESDAY MARCH 31st, 6:30 p.m. LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER
AGENDA in brief- (full agenda at www.kwilhelm.us, see information page for calendar and city contacts)
A. Presentation of the Mayor’s Veto regarding previous action to apply for Stimulus funds for 51st St. between Rawson and College (Possible -Veto stands or a Veto override).
B. Staff's road recommendations for the Stimulus application
Please travel 31st Street behind Northwestern Mutual to see the design purposed for 51st St. between Puetz and Drexel. This 48 ft. wide road with dual sidewalks (total 80 ft) is the theme being recommended by staff. While there is a strong desire to improve pedestrian access and traffic near the school, I am disappointed that this design is as creative as it gets. The design as purposed will increase traffic and speed and may result in the northerly continuation of this design beyond Drexel. (The Mayor's letter mentions the fast-track design as one reason for his veto).
There is a growing emphasis for safe pedestrian movement along 51st and throughout Franklin proving the perfect opportunity to be creative and apply innovative planning efforts used elsewhere.
What we need is an interest in designing something different. A well-planned design could provide livable character; a design that could serve more than the basic need to get from point A to point B. FACT - Safety is less about how wide and more about slowing traffic. Multi-use lanes or a paved walkway versus dual sidewalks as well as many other measures add a more friendly and distinguished street (usually at less cost).
While it may be very difficult at this stage to influence the southern portion of 51st Street, there is time for an alternative design to the north. Before we take irreversible steps forward we MUST adequately define the problem, purpose, need, community desire, and finally the City’s marketability that will result from what gets built. There is much more to consider than projected traffic count and certainly much too lose.
Here are some ideas if you want to make a difference. Please attend Tuesday and ask that the Council take action to:
• Provide public interaction - not just posting meeting notices.
• Suggest using an outside consultant for a different design perspective
• Research the value of narrower roads - safety and appeal, build and long-term maintenance costs
• Develop a range of alternatives for the northern section of 51st St.
With your voice we can build a sense of community.
3rd District Alderman
City of Franklin
9229 West Loomis Road
Franklin, WI 53132
Home phone 414.423.1606
MY TAKE: I don't want to suggest that my posting of my alderman's latest e-mail update means that I concur with everything she has written. I oppose expanding 51st Street. I oppose the use of stimulus money for such a project. Moreover, I totally oppose the stimulus concept. I especially oppose the notion that we should oppose widening 51st Street so that we can make the area more pedestrian friendly. That is the LAST reason to oppose widening. This is 2009, not 1959. South 51st Street, while used by pedestrians today, is not and can no longer be intended to be more pedestrian-friendly. If a bagel and coffee is that important to you, do what everyone else does. Get in your car, drive to Panera, park real close to the entrance, get out, go in, and buy whatever you want and join the 21st century like the rest of us.