On April 25, 2018 a tense meeting of the City of Milwaukee Public Works committee took place. Why was it tense? Well it probably had something to do with the 40+ people who showed up to hear the Committee's thoughts on expanding existing No transit periods through the Milwaukee River System and adding additional restrictions in what the committee is calling an effort to reduce noise pollution and resolve noise complaints with regard to residents who live on the river and near moveable bridges.
Sixteen people signed up to speak at the meeting, including myself, and not including the original resident who filed the original complaint with the city. Of those who spoke I would have to say that ten were completely against expanding the bridge operation blackout period, and the other four admitting that living on the river comes at a price and that the community should work together to find a solution. Not a single person who spoke at the meeting had favorable points to make about restricting transit times through the river apart from one speaker who called for balance between the needs of the river and those of the bridges who cross it.
It was apparent that Ald. Bauman has very little regard for the boating community or the transiting of the river as he often interrupted speakers and attempting to box them into corners to make them give answers he wants to help lend to his case. Other Alderman were noticeably silent (Aldermen Borkowski, Donovan), while Alderman Murphy echoed statements that community members need to come together to help solve this issue. It seems there was one Alderman on the committee who was committed to seeing this issue for what it is (a noise complaint issue) and trying to seek answers and learn more about the situation and that was Ald. Kovac.
We had so many speakers that the Public Works Committee was unable to have any discussion on the issue and was forced to hold all of their other business until their next meeting with exception to some very quick license renewal applications.
So to conclude, the meeting was a success!! To all who attended thank you and for those who could not but have still expressed your support thank you as well! We put the Public Works Committee on notice that people are watching and that this issue is important to us.
But now comes the hard work, we must be vigilant. We learned at the meeting that the Commissioner of Public Works can seek out these changes without any approval from the committee or common council. And while the US Coast Guard generally frowns on this practice, legally there is nothing preventing it. We also learned of the committee Chair's dedication to this issue, he will not be backing down anytime soon it seems and neither should we.
Moving forward You can expect to see me at a lot more City of Milwaukee Public Works Committee meetings. There is also a meeting on the horizon being hosted by a downtown neighborhood association which will be dedicated to this specific issue, details are still forthcoming on that and we will get them to everyone as soon as we can.
Until more details arrive please once again accept the organization's thanks, and my personal thanks to every person who was able to attend the meeting and for all of the support we have gotten from people both within and outside of our organization it means the world. For anyone who has not gotten involved yet please do! Watch the meeting schedule, Contact the Public works Committee, attend a meeting, the more people we have involved the stronger our voice gets. Thank you all for the support so far, we continue to move forward in unity with out fellow boaters to fight unreasonable bridge access restrictions!
Next Public Works Committee Meeting: Tentatively scheduled at 5-16-18 at 9:00am Location and Agenda TBD