Parents worried about increasing traffic in Tosa

Posted at 12:49 PM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 13:49:38-04

WAUWATOSA -- A group of students and parents in Wauwatosa on Wednesday walked to school to raise awareness about increasing traffic on the city’s streets.

John Groth said the group was walking from 86th and Ravenswood Cir. to St. Jude the Apostle School. The route required the parents and students to cross both Blue Mound Road and Wisconsin Avenue.

Groth, who has three children enrolled at St. Jude, said both streets have gotten busier and more difficult to cross in the wake of construction that added lanes to already congested intersections.

St. Jude parent Erin Groth said that construction was completed just before the start of the current school year.

“We care about our streets and about the walking neighborhood we live in,” John Groth said.

Parent Laura Steele said the increased traffic on Bluemound Road and Wisconsin Avenue makes for a dangerous walk to school for students.

“If they can’t have an environment where they feel safe and can easily get around to other neighborhoods and other kids, they’re not going to want to stay here,” Steele said.

Groth said he and other parents are fearful the county will seek to add a Bus Rapid Transit system to Bluemound Road or Wisconsin Avenue.

A Bus Rapid Transit system operates in its own lane of traffic and provides bus service faster than the typical, metro bus system – making it more comparable to traveling by automobile.

Steele said she thinks a bus lane would make crossing two of Wauwatosa’s busiest streets even more dangerous.

“If we could justify that this new bus route will eliminate 500 cars driving down Blue Mound Road, I’d be all for that,” she said. “But I don’t think the numbers are there to support that.”

In a statement, Milwaukee County Transit Spokesperson Brendan Conway said the Bus Rapid Transit proposal is still in its very early stages. The county is currently studying its feasibility. 

“In the coming weeks and months there will be numerous public meetings to take input and answer questions,” Conway said.

“Across the Country, BRT systems have been extremely successful in reducing congestion, increasing ridership and driving economic development. As this process moves forward, the community will be able to learn more about the benefits and help guide if this is something that makes sense for Milwaukee County," Conway said.

He said two public hearings are scheduled on the BRT feasibility study in the coming weeks. Conway said one will be April 12 at O’Donnell Park’s Miller Room, and the other is scheduled for April 14 at the Zoofari Center at the Zoo.