WEAL

Representing the Waukesha County community for the protection of Waukesha County's natural resources through dedicated grass-roots participation and action.

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Comments and opinions by WEAL members

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Good Harvest Earth Day Celebration

Posted by webmaster on April 15, 2014 at 9:30 PM

5&5 Celebration at Good Harvest - Waukesha
(SW Corner Hwy T & Silvernail...
map)
April 26th   8:30am - 7pm
Sustainable Fun for the Whole Family
Information HERE


Earth Day Volunteers Needed

Posted by webmaster on April 2, 2014 at 9:45 PM
EARTH DAY 2014
April 26, 2014
Volunteers Needed
Information HERE

Earth Week Action Ideas

Posted by webmaster on March 18, 2014 at 12:10 AM


Plans for a gasification incinerator surface in Adams, WI

Posted by webmaster on February 22, 2014 at 7:50 AM
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article entitled “Green energy plan raises red flags in City of Adams”
describes a multifaceted agreement between the City of Adams (population 2,000) and a company called
Global Environmental Infrastructure Technology Solutions..  read more

Public Hearing To STOP the WisDOT

Posted by webmaster on January 21, 2014 at 10:20 PM
Will you please help? We are working hard to support the Hwy J Citizen's Group in their fight against the expansion of Hwy 164.  They are assisting WEAL in our fight against the West Waukesha Bypass.  All these projects are related.  They are all expensive unneeded highway expansion projects being justified as "improvements"!  We must draw the line now! Writing letters and attending hearings are the best way to make a difference.  We need a more balanced approach to spending on transportation. We need to maintain what we have, not build new highways!

Please attend if it is at all possible!

Thank You

WEAL

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Dear Friends, Neighbors and Concerned Taxpayers:
 
    I sending everyone a final reminder to please attend the Thursday, January 23, 2014 Public Hearing (from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM) at the Friess Lake School (1750 Highway 164 -- corner of Highways 164 &167 in the Village of Richfield) and strongly speak out against the WisDOT's current attempts to turn Highway 164 into "The New Milwaukee Bypass" with its current $16 million expansion project.  (Please refer to my attached January 16th e-mail and our HJCG leaflet (which is being circulated throughout the area) for more details on this important public hearing which includes a long list of "talking points" you can use as part of your presented comments.)
 
    Second, to highlight the importance of stopping this highway expansion project, I also have attached the January 16, 2014 West Bend Daily News and January 19, 2014 Hartford Times-Press articles reporting on the armed robberies that occurred last week at the Lake Five Service Station at the Highway 164/Q intersection (Village of Richfield) and the Westbury Bank at the Highway 164/60 intersection (Village of Slinger).  With a wider, busier Highway 164 (which is what the WisDOT has planned here), we can expect to see these types of violent crimes increase dramatically -- just like what has occurred over the past 10 or 20 years in other nearby communities where highways were widened which then fueled unwanted urban-style development which then led to this increased crime rate. 
 
    As concerned citizens and property owners, do we want the Highway 164 area to become a "corridor of crime"?  If your answer to this question is "no", then please join me at the January 23rd public hearing to stop this unwanted highway expansion project which, if built, would have severe negative impacts to our homes, families, natural resources and quality of life in our rural communities here.
 
    Third, I have attached an excellent article from the January 18, 2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel entitled, "The More, Bigger Roads Approach No Longer Sensible in Wisconsin" where the author calls upon state leaders to "revisit proposed highway expansion projects and scale back or cancel projects that are wasteful and no longer justified," and then redistribute those many millions in saved tax dollars to our local communities for basic road repair and maintenance.  This makes logical sense because, as a homeowner, you wouldn't spend your limited funds to make your home larger when the existing structure needed repairs and maintenance work done to it.  You would "fix what you have first" before thinking about making it bigger.  Right?
 
    The WisDOT can't even maintain the highways they have as evidenced by recent cuts in state funding for pavement repair, snow plowing, weed cutting, roadway signage and dead animal pickup.  As responsible taxpaying citizens, are we going to let these irresponsible WisDOT bureaucrats build more, wider highways (like what they want to do with Highway 164 here) when they can't even properly maintain the ones they currently have?
 
    At the public hearing on Thursday, January 23rd, let's all tell the WisDOT and our elected state leaders to immediately:
 
1) CANCEL their currently proposed Highway 164 expansion project in its entirety which will SAVE $16 million in precious tax dollars,
 
2) IMPLEMENT a 45 mph speed limit on Highway 164 which will SAVE many lives and REDUCE traffic accidents by nearly 80% (as proven by past experience when our roadway's speed limit was reduced to 45 mph for five months back in 2000) at a small cost of only $8,000 (which is based upon current WisDOT cost estimates), AND
 
3) REDISTRIBUTE these saved tax dollars to our counties, cities, villages and towns for local road repair which will provide HUGE PROPERTY TAX RELIEF to all of us who live here.
 
    Finally, I am attaching a January 16, 2014 West Bend Daily News published letter to the editor entitled, "Highway 164 Hearing Will Show Legislators' True Colors, Courage" written by Grace Hansen, a long-time resident and family farm owner in Richfield.  In that letter, Mrs. Hansen calls upon our four area state legislators (State Senators Glenn Grothman and Alberta Darling and State Representatives Pat Strachota and Don Pridemore) to "have the courage to speak out against this wasteful and unnecessary expansion of Highway 164" at the January 23rd public hearing.  Please e-mail all four of these state legislators and Governor Scott Walker as soon as possible (contact information is part of my previous e-mail update which is attached here) and tell them to strongly speak out against this highway expansion project and then support our more cost-effective and community-friendly alternatives specified above.
 
    With your much-appreciated past support, we already have WON THREE TIMES (first in 2009 with our precedent-setting federal court decision stopping this project, then again in 2010 when the court upheld its previous decision, and finally in 2013 when, after we went to court again, the Federal Highway Administration rescinded its approval and refused to federally-fund this project). 
 
    Your vocal opposition to this unnecessary, fiscally-irresponsible and highly-destructive project at the January 23rd public hearing will help us win a FOURTH TIME and continue to PROTECT our homes, families, natural resources and high quality of life we now enjoy in this beautiful Kettle Moraine area.  Thank you again for your interest.  See you on Thursday!
 
Sincerely,
 
Jeff Gonyo,
Steering Committee Member for the
HIGHWAY J CITIZENS GROUP, U.A.
P.O. Box 152, Hubertus, WI  53033
Phone: (262)-644-8334

Winter Campaign Take Action Message 2

Posted by webmaster on January 21, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Winter Campaign Take Action Message #2.  We Can Stop the Bypass!  But we need your letter!  It's so important!  Please pass this e-mail on to others!

Dear West Waukesha Bypass Opponent,

Have you been reading the newspapers recently?  The State DOT is running out of money.  Politicians and DOT officials have now admitted that there isn't enough money to maintain Wisconsin's deteriorating transportation infrastructure and to build new highways.  Governor Walker has tasked his Transportation Secretary to make recommendations on where the needed money might come from.  Initially all the press was about raising more taxes, now we are reading articles recommending that the DOT evaluate all planned NEW highway expansion projects and cancel or delay projects that are not critical.  We must convince Secretary Gottlieb that the West Waukesha Bypass project should be one of the projects that is canceled!  

So Action Message #2 is to encourage Secretary Gottlieb to do two things;

  1. include as part of his transportation funding recommendations that non-urgent highway expansion projects be canceled
  2. recommend that the West Waukesha Bypass project be one of the projects considered for cancellation 


E-Mail Secretary Mark Gottlieb and the cc the Transportation Investment Management at the e-mails listed below.  Please take this action by February 7, 2013.

E-mail to all three e-mail addresses;    sec.exec@dot.wi.gov and cc bop.dtim@dot.wi.gov 

Write your own letter or use the sample letter below.  Copy and paste this entire letter into your e-mail.  Make sure to sign it with your full name and address.  Put it in your own words and add any key points you might like to make.  

------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Secretary Gottlieb,

I'm writing to comment on the transportation funding problems we are facing in Wisconsin.  As I understand it, there is just not be enough tax money coming in to pay for highway expansion, safety, and maintenance projects.  As you develop recommendations on how to deal with these funding problems, I encourage you to look at a multifaceted plan.  Specifically, I do not believe the answer is to tax our way out of this problem, we need to look for ways to save money as well.  Before new taxes are recommended, I ask that currently proposed highway expansion projects be evaluated, scaled back and/or canceled.  This is the only solution that makes sense.  And it is the only solution that the people of Wisconsin will accept.

An example of an unnecessary highway expansion project is the West Waukesha Bypass.  This project as an example of wasteful highway dollars.  Canceling this one project would save state and local governments over $65+ million dollars. 
There are many problems with this Bypass project.  One of the biggest problems is that the expansion project is no longer a Bypass, as even planners admit.  It is a huge highway expansion project through neighborhoods, past schools, through farmland and an important Waukesha environmental corridor.  It is being built because it's been on the maps for over 50 years.  The project is based on obsolete traffic count projections and erroneous accident statistics.  It brings noise, water and air pollution to resident's front doors.  Even the community it will run through, the Town of Waukesha, is on record as supporting a "no build"  option.  As another example of the flawed planning process, simpler, cheaper, and even safer viable alternatives were not considered during the planning process because the project is being built to Bypass specifications (4-lane), even though as mentioned earlier, planners admit it is no longer a Bypass. 

I support a sustainable transportation funding plan that includes not only new sources of revenue but a stronger focus on improvement and maintenance with less of a focus on large new highway expansion projects.  There will never be enough money to do both!


Sincerely

(Your Full Name)
(Your Address)

First winter campaign TAKE ACTION message.

Posted by webmaster on January 8, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Have Your Written Your Bypass Opposition Letter Yet?  If Not, This Is Your Last Chance!  Will you please join us and write a quick message to the USACE this week?

It's working!  The pressure is building!  Our message is getting out to more and more decision makers.  But there is strength in numbers.  We can't do it without  you!  You can make the difference, so please don't just delete this message.  Take 4 or 5 minutes and write your letter.  Be part of the movement to stop this terribly wasteful and damaging highway project!

Here's our
first winter campaign "Take Action" e-mail message from the Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass.  It is important that you pass this message on to all e-mail lists, neighbors and family members that you can think of!  Letters do not need to come from just people who live in the local community.  All letters are important!  It's important that all of us speak up!

This winter may be our last chance to stop or delay the Final Environmental Impact Statement!  

This time we are asking that you contact the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE).  The ACE is most concerned with the environmental aspects of the Bypass project.

E-Mail Rebecca Graser and Marie Kopka, United States Army Corp of Engineers at the e-mails listed below

E-mail to all three e-mail addresses;    Rebecca.M.Graser@usace.army.mil  and Marie.Kopka@usace.army.mil and hq-publicaffairs@usace.army.mil

Write your own letter or use the Sample Letter below.  Copy and paste this entire letter into your e-mail.  Put it in your own words and add any key points you might like to make.  

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ms Graser and Ms Kopka,

I'm writing you in regards to the proposed building of the West Waukesha Bypass in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  Specifically I'm concerned about the terrible environmental consequences this project will have on the Pebble Creek Environmental Corridor.  This controversial project was originally mapped as a Bypass around the west side of Waukesha 60 years ago.  During this time we have learned much about the important role that ecosystems like the Pebble Creek Environmental Corridor have on our overall environment.  This important Waukesha County resource must be protected not damaged or destroyed.  Building a 4-Line highway through the middle of this important Environmental Corridor will do permanent damage.  The Pebble Creek Watershed Protection plan states it best on page 65, "New road construction and road widening can have significant environmental...impacts on the watershed".  The report further states that "...the Advisory Committee expressed significant concerns regarding the possible loss in rural character for the watershed area impacted by the project in terms of added traffic congestion and noise, as well as increased impervious surfaces and possible disturbance to wetlands due to filling". 

Another negative impact is the fragmentation of the primary and secondary environmental corridors with all the negative impact that this will cause, including loss of wildlife habitat, increased car/wildlife collisions, stormwater discharge, including road salt  into the corridor, introduction of invasive species, light pollution, air pollution, and noise pollution.  All these things might be minimized but that cannot be eliminated.  When discussing the natural communities in the environmental corridor the Watershed Protection Plan states, "the destruction or deterioration of any one element of the total environment may lead to a chain reaction of deterioration and destruction of the others".  The impact of this large highway on surface waters in the area is a huge cause for alarm!  Related to this the Watershed Protection Plan states
that, "The resulting deterioration of surface water quality may, in turn, lead to a deterioration of the quality of the groundwater".  As I'm sure you are aware, Waukesha is currently applying for a Lake Michigan water diversion specifically because of its groundwater problems.  The proposed Bypass will only add to the problem.  The report says it well when it states that because of potential threats to the Watershed, "The need to protect and preserve the remaining environmental corridors within the Pebble Creek watershed thus becomes apparent". 

So how do we find ourselves doing just the opposite? 

I believe the traffic needs of the area are not great enough to sacrifice one of Waukesha's most important environmental resources.   There are so many environmental problems with this project it is hard to list them all.  One of the most glaring is simply the building of a new 4-lane highway through an environmental corridor.  For instance, a 2010 Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) publication "Managing the Water's Edge, Making Natural Connections", identifies habitat fragmentation as an important problem and recommends that wider riparian buffers are necessary for many Wisconsin species.  For example the optimal core habitat for frogs is 1043 ft.  The Bypass will negatively impact the habitat for the wildlife living and moving through the Pebble Creek Environmental Corridor and Watershed, and there are few if any ways to prevent this. 

This Bypass is not needed, there is a "No Build, Improve" alternative that has not been adequately evaluated.  Our Waukesha County natural resources are too valuable to risk for a 1.5 minute* improvement in commute time!

For these reasons and many others I respectively request that you reject the justification given by Bypass Planners in the EIS for building the West Waukesha Bypass through the Pebble Creek Environmental Corridor!

Sincerely

(Your Full Name)
(Your Address)


References:

  1. "Managing the Waters Edge, Making Natural Connections", Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, May 7, 2010,  http://www.sewrpc.org/SEWRPC/Environment.htm
  2. "Pebble Creek Watershed Protection Plan", Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use and Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Planning Report No. 284, June 2008
  3. * Commute time improvement from "West Waukesha Bypass Study Preferred Alternative Technical Memo", April 24, 2013

Important West Waukesha Bypass TAKE ACTION Message 1

Posted by webmaster on December 18, 2013 at 9:25 PM
Dear West Waukesha Bypass Opponent,


Here's the
first winter campaign
"Take Action" e-mail message from the Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass.  It is important that you pass this message on to all e-mail lists, neighbors and family members that you can think of!  Letters do not need to come from just people who live in the local community.  All letters are important!  It's important that all of us speak up!

This winter may be our last chance to stop or delay the Final Environmental Impact Statement!  

This time we are asking that you contact the Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE).  The ACOE is most concerned with the environmental aspects of the Bypass project.

E-Mail Rebecca Graser and Marie Kopka, United States Army Corp of Engineers at the e-mails listed below.  Please take this action by December 31, 2013.

E-mail to all three e-mail addresses;   Rebecca.M.Graser@usace.army.mil  and Marie.Kopka@usace.army.mil and hq-publicaffairs@usace.army.mil


Write your own letter or use the Sample Letter below.  Copy and paste this entire letter into your e-mail.  Put it in your own words and add any key points you might like to make.  



Dear Ms Graser and Ms Kopka,

I'm writing you in regards to the proposed building of the West Waukesha Bypass in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  Specifically I'm concerned about the terrible environmental consequences this project will have on the Pebble Creek Environmental Corridor.  This controversial project was originally mapped as a Bypass around the west side of Waukesha 60 years ago.  During this time we have learned much about the important role that ecosystems like the Pebble Creek Environmental Corridor have on our overall environment.  This important Waukesha County resource must be protected not damaged or destroyed.  Building a 4-Line highway through the middle of this important Environmental Corridor will do permanent damage.  The Pebble Creek Watershed Protection plan states it best on page 65, "New road construction and road widening can have significant environmental...impacts on the watershed".  The report further states that "...the Advisory Committee expressed significant concerns regarding the possible loss in rural character for the watershed area impacted by the project in terms of added traffic congestion and noise, as well as increased impervious surfaces and possible disturbance to wetlands due to filling". 

Another negative impact is the fragmentation of the primary and secondary environmental corridors with all the negative impact that this will cause, including loss of wildlife habitat, increased car/wildlife collisions, stormwater discharge, including road salt  into the corridor, introduction of invasive species, light pollution, air pollution, and noise pollution.  All these things might be minimized but that cannot be eliminated.  When discussing the natural communities in the environmental corridor the Watershed Protection Plan states, "the destruction or deterioration of any one element of the total environment may lead to a chain reaction of deterioration and destruction of the others".  The impact of this large highway on surface waters in the area is a huge cause for alarm!  Related to this the Watershed Protection Plan states
that, "The resulting deterioration of surface water quality may, in turn, lead to a deterioration of the quality of the groundwater".  As I'm sure you are aware, Waukesha is currently applying for a Lake Michigan water diversion specifically because of its groundwater problems.  The proposed Bypass will only add to the problem.  The report says it well when it states that because of potential threats to the Watershed, "The need to protect and preserve the remaining environmental corridors within the Pebble Creek watershed thus becomes apparent". 

So how do we find ourselves doing just the opposite? 

I believe the traffic needs of the area are not great enough to sacrifice one of Waukesha's most important environmental resources.   There are so many environmental problems with this project it is hard to list them all.  One of the most glaring is simply the building of a new 4-lane highway through an environmental corridor.  For instance, a 2010 Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) publication "Managing the Water's Edge, Making Natural Connections", identifies habitat fragmentation as an important problem and recommends that wider riparian buffers are necessary for many Wisconsin species.  For example the optimal core habitat for frogs is 1043 ft.  The Bypass will negatively impact the habitat for the wildlife living and moving through the Pebble Creek Environmental Corridor and Watershed, and there are few if any ways to prevent this. 

This Bypass is not needed, there is a "No Build, Improve" alternative that has not been adequately evaluated.  Our Waukesha County natural resources are too valuable to risk for a 1.5 minute* improvement in commute time!

For these reasons and many others I respectively request that you reject the justification given by Bypass Planners in the EIS for building the West Waukesha Bypass through the Pebble Creek Environmental Corridor!

Sincerely


(Your Full Name)

(Your Address)



References:

 

 

 

 

  1. "Managing the Waters Edge, Making Natural Connections", Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, May 7, 2010,  http://www.sewrpc.org/SEWRPC/Environment.htm
  2. "Pebble Creek Watershed Protection Plan", Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use and Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Planning Report No. 284, June 2008
  3. * Commute time improvement from "West Waukesha Bypass Study Preferred Alternative Technical Memo", April 24, 2013

Coalition Update

Posted by webmaster on December 11, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Watch your e-mails for ways you can fight the West Waukesha Bypass.  Our winter campaign begins this week!   Our first ask is an easy one!

If you have a Bypass Yard Sign that is not permanently affixed to a sign or posts, please take it down and put it away until Spring.  Winter in Wisconsin can be brutal, and our yard signs will probably not survive.  So please put your sign away so it will be ready early next spring when we restart our yard sign awareness campaign.  By the way, we've just received another shipment of signs that we'll distribute over the winter if you need a new one. 

Please share this information with your neighbors about this in case they don't get this e-mail.

We are also ordering a supply of "No Bypass" T-Shirts that we'll be making available over the winter.  We'll post information soon.  Visit weal.org to learn more. 

Don't forget to visit our facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/StopWaukeshaBypass

We can win this fight with your help!

Allen Stasiewski
Coalition Steering Team

Waukesha County e-Newsletter November 2013

Posted by sue reimund on November 17, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Waukesha County e-Newsletter LINK


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