WAUKESHA COUNTY
E
NVIRONMENTAL
ACTION LEAGUE
Protecting Waukesha County's Natural Resourses since 1978

WEAL

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

Were State Rules Broken With County Bypass Vote?

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on December 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM

The County Board officially voted last week to support building the West Waukesha Bypass using the Pebble Creek West Alternative.  Interesting!  Here's our concern about this official vote!  The County is the coordinating agency charged with evaluating construction of the West Waukesha Bypass.  The State gave the County this job.  Most of the $60+ million dollars needed for this project will come from State taxpayers. In this role, one of the most important jobs the county has, is evaluating and choosing the preferred alternative.  Important legislation dictates how this must be done. For instance, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be developed, and public input must be considered. 

So, here it is, two weeks before the public comment period ends and the County votes for the preferred alternative!  As the Coordinating agency, wouldn't you think that the County Board would need to review public input first, before choosing the Bypass Route.  They basically told the public, through their vote, that they have already made up their minds!  At the very least, the Board members who voted for this resolution are telling their constituents that they don't care about their comments nor do they care about the EIS!   And, perhaps they have broken the law!  We'll have to wait and see.


City Will Lose Bid For Lake Michigan Water Now

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on November 4, 2012 at 7:25 AM

When the city of Waukesha's bid for Lake Michigan water is denied in a year or two, we will be able to look back to September 18, 2012 as the date the city placed the final nail in the bid's coffin.  That's the date that the city purchased the Lather Well Field just south of the city.  By officially purchasing the Lather Well Field the city officially announced that it indeed does have an alternative to Lake Michigan water!  The city cannot say that it has no other sustainable source of water in one breath and then pay half a million dollars for 12.5 acreas of land for wells in the next.  City residents should be outraged that the city is even wasting it's time and money on this!  It's a game of high stakes poker and the city just played a losing hand! 

Keep The Vernon Marsh Wet

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on June 5, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Starting this week watch for our latest issue awareness ad..."Keep the Vernon Marsh Wet".  It'll run 5 times over the next few weeks on the back page of the Waukesha Freeman under the weather.  For years WEAL has been working to stop the City of Waukesha from drilling shallow aquifer wells on the old Lather's property just north of the Vernon Marsh.  In order to quench it's unsatiable thirst for water the City has proposed drilling shallow aquifer wells on 42 acres there.


To review, the City proposes building these wells as a back-up for Lake Michigan water should they successfully receive approval to divert water from Lake Michigan.  We're concerned that if the City goes ahead and builds these wells they are simultaneously showing the Great Lakes Commission that they do have a alternative water source, all the while telling the commission that they don't have an alternative source as justification to get a diversion.  Oh boy!  And what happens if the City doesn't get Lake Michigan water?  They go right back to their old standby - steal water from the shallow aquifer while damaging the Vernon Marsh ecology and impacting private wells in a wide perimter around the well field!


One study has shown that if the City goes ahead with the Lather's well field, "The pumping will cause water level drawdowns and will alter the exchange of water between the shallow aquifer and nearby surface water bodies, most notably the Fox River and Vernon Marsh."  The report goes on to say that, "After 15 years drawdowns could range from 20 to 25 feet at nearest private wells, and from 33 to 38 feet at the river and the marsh.  Of course no one knows what will actually happen, and it is dependent on exactly how much water would be pulled from the Lather's well field each day.  Regardless, we can't take the risk! 


Why would anyone think that locating up to 5 high capacity shallow aquifer wells immediately next to one of Waukesha County's most important ecological WATER RELATED treasures was a good idea?  Why?  Because its the City water utilities job to provide water to residents of the City of Waukesha...that's their mission, and to do it the cheapest way possible.  And, there's very few who care enough about Waukesha's natural environment to fight back.  Join us and fight back!  KEEP THE VERNON MARSH WET, NO HIGH CAPACITY SHALLOW AQUIFER WELLS 

Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on February 9, 2012 at 11:05 PM

The Waukesha West Bypass Extension fight continues.  WEAL and Coalition Opposed to West Waukesha Bypass recently submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Waukesha Police Department and the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department for all accident reports generated on the route of the proposed Bypass Extension since January 2008.  These reports are being analyzed right now.  A preliminary review indicates that "inattention" is the cause for an overwhelming number of accidents along this stretch...something that a bigger, faster mega-highway is unlikely to improve.  You will hear more on this soon.

A Waukesha bypass news story we'd like to read...

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on September 12, 2011 at 9:45 PM

 

County officials announced today that all work on the Hwy 59 Bypass will be permanently stopped.  John Adams, project coordinator, made the announcement during the release today, of a report on the embattled highway expansion project.  Mr. Adams went on to say “We decided that it just isn’t really necessary.  We’ll take some of the 54 million dollars and use it to improve existing roads in the county, something residents have been requesting for years.” 

The decision was applauded by many.  County Supervisor, Ben Franklin stated, “We have enough highways in Waukesha, we need to do a better job maintaining the ones we have!” 

The report states that the county will make some improvements to Hwy TT.  Mr Adams, clarified, “We’ll just put in left hand turn lanes at Madison St.  That ought to do it!  The highway is really only busy a few hours a day during rush hour.  The turn lanes will pretty much take care of that.  We’ll also be extending the bike path to join the Lake Country Trail to the Glacial Drumlin Trail.  It’s not all about highways, we need to pay attention to recreation too.”

Waukesha city mayor Tom Jefferson, who was also at the joint announcement explained. “Waukesha is a beautiful  place, a unique place, and we want to keep it that way.  Hwy TT is a part of that!  It has pretty vistas, oak trees hundreds of years old, adjoining farm fields, why would we want to destroy all that for a road.  The residents of this city deserve more that that.  When I was elected I promised that we would make decisions that add value to the quality of life in this city.  Leaving the road as it is does that.  Another 4 lane highway would only bring more noise, more trucks, air and water pollution, and the resultant sprawl would destroy the neighborhoods along the route. 

Not all agree with the decision to discontinue work on the bypass.  “I’ve been waiting for the bypass.  After all its been on the map for 50 years.  Isn’t that reason enough to build it?  If I can get to work 3 or 4 minutes quicker I can sleep later.  What about my quality of life?” said Rich Nixon, a resident of Mukwonago who regularly travels the route.

A Waukesha alderman, who refused to be named, stated after the announcement, “Its about time we do the right thing for residents of the city.  It’s time we walk the talk.  I can’t claim to be fiscally conservative and stand by while we waste 50 million dollars on an unnecessary, environmentally destructive highway project.  Lets face it, there are a lot more important things we can do with the money!”

 

Hwy 59 Bypass Extension

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on July 23, 2011 at 1:43 PM

It's time to cancel this huge $51+ million project. Its a road expansion looking for a reason! All this money for a new 4 lane highway when a few left hand turn lanes would speed traffic along! Sure, improve safety of the existing roads but lets not pretend that we need this new super road. If we truly need a Waukesha bypass lets plan on using Hwy 83 to the west. Its already being expanded to 4 lanes and will be expanded all the way to Hwy 94 someday. Stop this unnecessary waste of $51 million. This money would go a long way toward improving all the potholed and cracked roadways that we currently can't afford to fix all over Waukesha County!  Lets use some common sense and not build this road just because it's been on a map for 40 years.

 

Hearings on Lake Michigan Water Scheduled

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on July 12, 2011 at 9:48 PM

One item some of us will be asking to be studied in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is the entire concept of Waukesha having no alternative for water. If there is truly no viable alternative then the city should be allowed to use Lake Michigan water, provided all adequate protections are put in place. However, Waukesha continues its plans to drill new shallow water aquifer wells in the Lather property adjacent to the Vernon Marsh Wildlife Area. Why? So that if, when they do get Lake Michigan water, they will have a backup source of water. What? If there is a backup source of water then there can be no justification to get Lake Michigan water because there is an alternative! The city cannot have it both ways! The application could be denied for this reason alone.

 


A Drive Down Hwy TT

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on July 11, 2011 at 9:27 PM

I just drove down Hwy TT from Hwy 94 to Sunset Drive.  It was a beautiful drive.  Large towering oak trees lining the road.  Slow sweeping curves.  The sun was setting in the west over open fields and farmland.  I drove past well kept homes, schools, and businesses.  There was hardly any traffic.  As I mentioned it was a wonderful drive!  And it will soon be gone, all gone, if the County, City and DOT get their way.   In its place, a 4 lane sprawl lined mega-highway just like the east Waukesha Bypass.  And some say that's progress?

Rep. Kramer and Sen. Zipperer say no to $50 million in savings

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on May 15, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Representative Kramer and Senator Zipperer refused to support defunding the unneeded Waukesha West Bypass extension on Saturday May 14th at Representative Sensenbrenner's listening session in Waukesha.  Cutting this road building project could save the State, County, and City 50 million dollars!  When it comes to cost cutting, it seems like everything is on the table except road building!  Here are my comments, made at the meeting.

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Public comment made at Representative Sensenbrenner’s listening session at the Waukesha Public Library on May 14, 2011

 

My name is Allen Stasiewski. I live in the Town of Waukesha Wisconsin.   I’m here today representing a growing coalition of individuals and groups opposed to the Waukesha West Bypass expansion.  As residents learn more about the negative impact of this unneeded highway expansion project, opposition to it increases.

 

When proponents try to justify this project they often state that “it’s been on the map for 40 years”.  Well, Waukesha has changed in 40 years.  When this bypass was proposed it was a bypass, today it cuts right through neighborhoods and back yards, next to a school, through wetlands, and over streams.  There’s a reason it’s been on the map for 40 years.  It’s our version of the bypass to nowhere!  It was bad idea 20 years when this bypass was defeated, and it’s a bad idea now.  This road expansion project as proposed will  damage our environment, cause increased noise and light pollution, put our children in danger, decrease property values and more.

 

We challenge all of the assumptions on which this expansion project is built.

 

We especially object to the wasteful spending 50 million dollars.  We can’t take care of the roads we have, and now we’re going to expand another highway that we won’t be able to take care of?  There isn’t a road in the Waukesha County that doesn’t need repairs right now!

 

This is an easy win.  We’re asking you to stop the wasting of 50 million dollars to build a road that isn’t needed, that residents don’t want.  We propose that existing roads be improved at a fraction of the cost.

 

In the upcoming weeks we will be requesting that the Town of Waukesha, City of Waukesha, Waukesha County, and the State withdraw support and funding of the Waukesha West Bypass expansion.   With all the budget problems we have in this State, with growing deficits, with cuts in important services, we shouldn’t allow unneeded highway projects like this to be built, even with dedicated highway funds.  This 50 million dollars should be re-diverted to improving safety, repairing potholes, fixing our deteriorating bridges and improve transit.    

 

Will you support defunding the Waukesha Bypass to save 50 million dollars?

 

Bypass, Bypass, everywhere you look....a Bypass

Posted by Allen Stasiewski / WEAL VP on April 18, 2011 at 8:48 PM
During the Waukesha Common Council Meeting of October 2010, it seems that the Board of Public Works asked the City Common Council for approval to improve and resurface the section from  E. St. Paul Ave./E. North St. from Madison St. to W. Moreland Blvd. Road.  

If this is actually happening, then the City is continuing its efforts to improve the another Waukesha “bypass”.... a I-94 to HWY 164 to HWY 59. This route is essentially a straight shot from I-94 to HWY 59, and it's already in place!  Remember, the city has already widened St. Paul on the South end.  

http://bit.ly/e6pSBB  (to see the route)

So why then, go through all the costs and trouble of building yet another bypass on HWY TT to Sunset to HWY 59 if an existing and more efficient route is already in place and being improved?

(Don’t forget the massive HWY 83 improvements happening right now)