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Residents call for solutions during reckless driving town hall: 'I've heard the talk. I'm ready to hear some actions'

"Are we really going to see a change in the city, or is it going to get worse and worse?"
Posted at 10:22 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 23:22:55-04

MILWAUKEE — Several dozen people turned out to a town hall to voice their concerns about reckless driving Thursday night.

It was held at Mt. Lebanon Lutheran Church near 60th and Hampton, which is near the site of a fatal high-speed crash earlier this summer.

Maggie Morse lives around the corner from the intersection and says she's afraid.

"I've witnessed two fatal accidents (and) I've seen three near-fatal accidents. I live on the corner. I listen to racing all night, every night," Morse said. "So you ask my why I am here, I've heard the talk. I'm ready to hear some actions that they're going to take."

Reckless driving town hall
Residents voice concerns about reckless driving at town hall.

"I have boulders around my house, because I can’t keep a fence up because of reckless driving," one speaker said. "I've had my house hit five times."

Among those in the crowd was Julie Wellinger, who lost her son, Jerrold, in August. Milwaukee Police say the car he was riding in was hit by a driver who was racing.

"You’re out there speeding, that could be you, that could a be a family member of yours, it could be a friend," Wellinger said.

Milwaukee leaders to gather at Reckless Driving Town Hall

Data from Milwaukee Police's Traffic Safety Unit shows 57 people have died in crashes so far in 2021. The TSU has issued more than 16,000 citations since its inception in February.

A spokesperson for the Department of Public Works told TMJ4 News crews reduced Van Buren Street to one lane of traffic each way in the stretch from the Holton Street bridge to Kilbourn Avenue. It is in response to concerns about speeding and pedestrian safety. The stretch also includes a two-way left turn lane in the center.

Leaders at the town hall discussed plenty of potential solutions, such as red light cameras and speed bumps. Leaders acknowledged there are also systemic issues that also need to be addressed, such as providing resources and opportunities to young people.

Residents voice concerns about reckless driving at town hall
Milwaukee has seen an increase in high-speed crashes due to reckless driving.

TMJ4 News asked MPD Acting Chief Jeffrey Norman what he says to the people who expressed they are afraid to drive on Milwaukee streets.

"I say that I hear you," Chief Norman said. "And that we are working with other partners to have that impact. We know this is not something that will happen overnight, we’re not going to get to where we need to be, but are you seeing those efforts being put forth?"

"We can talk and talk and talk, but is it really going to happen?" Wellinger said. "Are we really going to see a change in the city, or is it going to get worse and worse?"

You can report your traffic concerns to the TSU here. You can also download the MKE Mobile Action app for your smartphone.

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