It’s a fight that no one wants and in which no will win but Ald Bob Bauman of the 4th district in the City of Milwaukee and chair of the Public Works Committee wants to fight about river access anyway.
Ald. Bauman wants to expand current restrictions on all bridge openings which currently prohibit openings during the hours of 8:30a-9:30a and 4:30p-5:30p Monday through Saturday to include a three hour window in the evening hours of 3:30pm-6:30pm Monday through Saturday! Ald. Bauman went on record with the following statements regarding recreational boating traffic in the Milwaukee River System: “I don’t want to shut down the commercial boat operators. I mean, they’re creating jobs, they’re generating business, they’re paying taxes. But all these pleasure boats, most of whom are owned by suburbanites, the pedal tavern. The fact that we open a bridge for 3 people pedaling a little bitty mini barge I find absurd actually. That they get that amount of accommodation.
So I think since this 3 hour window, not opening window, only applies to vessels smaller than 50 passengers. It wouldn’t affect the people who do it for a living but it would affect the pleasure seekers that just want to go up and down the river ‘cause it’s fun. In the meantime, traffic is backed up for four blocks in each direction and the busses are delayed and everything else. The bells are ringing people are annoyed for somebody sitting on the bow of their cabin cruiser drinking beer. Yea that’s fun, I get fun and I encourage fun but not at the expense of thousands of people inconvenience in the process.
I think we should convene that discussion sooner rather than later, and if you (Public works staff) need some legislative action we can certainly pass a resolution which directs you to ask (the Coast guard to expand the restrictions).” (src: http://milwaukee.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1613&meta_id=2363930 Exact quote from 1:17:27 of the meeting)
While a few words rarely means much, Ald. Bauman Chairs the City of Milwaukee Public Works Committee and has the authority to direct decisions and recommendations such as these. In fact he has already directed the Department of Public Works to contact the US Coast Guard to explore and begin the process of expanding these restrictions and your right to access of the river system. And they have invited the USCG to their next committee meeting meeting. Whats even worse is Ald. Bauman is try to sneak this legislative change onto a seperate item related to a resident's complaint regarding the warning bell noise caused by a draw bridge near her residence.
You may be wondering what you can do to help. It is rather simple Contact Ald. Bauman and the other members of the Public Works Committee (Contact information to follow), show up at the meeting if you are able and make your voice heard! Tell the City of Milwaukee that Bridge Operation restrictions are bad for Boating and Bad for Milwaukee! Meeting Details: WHEN: Wed. April 25, 2018 at 9:00am
WHERE: Milwaukee City Hall 200 E. Wells St. Milwaukee, WI 53202 Room 301-B
Let the Members of the Public Works Committee know that additional Bridge Restrictions are NOT boater friendly and NOT good for Milwaukee!
Public Works Committee Contact Information
4th District Ald. Robert Bauman (Chair) Ph: 414-286-2221
11th District Ald. Mark Borkowski (Vice-Chair)
3rd Distric Ald. Nik Kovac
8th District Ald. Robert Donovan
10th District Ald. Michael Murphy