On 5/23/18 I had the pleasure of being invited to be a panelist in a discussion hosted by the Milwaukee Downtown Neighborhood Association (http://www.dnamke.org/) at the Pfister Hotel. I had the pleasure of sharing the dais with numerous other people who are passionate about the bridge issue including Ald. Bauman, Kelly Condon, Russ Davis, Tim Larson, and many others of whose names escape me because as many of you know I am horrible with names but we had numerous representatives from other buildings along the river and Rock Bottom Brewery.
The purpose of this panelist discussion was to try to find some common ground between the boating community, both commercial and recreational, and the residents who live along the river near lift and bascule bridges. This issue has become more intense as members of the Public Works Committee have also taken this opportunity to examine the cost of operations of the bridges and hypothesize that reducing openings will translate into a reduction in expenditures for the city. McBOAT wants to work with these residents to help find a solution to their noise issues and concerns, but not at the expense of the recreational boating community.
While this meeting did not decide on anything it moat certainly helped to educate people about the complexities of the situation as well as lend perspective for the City of Milwaukee to use in the actions they will take moving forward.
While nothing was truly decided at this meeting the residents did and panelists did agree that for numerous reasons attempted to put in place a set opening schedule such as the example of "Bridges will only open at set times each day" would not be the right choice for the city. And in fact could become dangerous in some situations for people both on land and on water while waiting for bridges to open.
One other topic of note that I want to thank Russ Davis for bringing up. "How much is enough?" So far, they city has reduced the bells from 4 to 2 per bridge, made the bridges open and close faster, restricted the bells to right only when the pedestrian and automobile control gates are being lower/raised, and instituted policies that bridges must wait 3 light cycles after an opening before they will open again for boat traffic. How much compromising is enough? Condo owners must realize they will never get silence living in an urban environment. And while I think everyone an sympathize with noise related issues when the city has already done so much we all have to ask ourselves how much is enough? Additionally with so many of these changes being implemented for the 2018 boating season how do we even know they are working? Why are we talking about additional rtestrictions when what has been done may be completely enough?
The reason of course is that the city is trying to turn a noise complaint into a budget issue. and we can't let them do that. So I will continue to be at every Public Works Committee meeting and I will continue to strive to keep you as informed as I can. Thank you everyone for your great support, Happy and Safe Boating!