Rail, I-94 interchange dominate transportation future
2035 plan seeks city to push for measures
High-speed trains and interstate highway interchanges likely will be the focus of transportation discussions in Brookfield in the coming years.
In preparing the city's 2035 Comprehensive Plan - a document that outlines Brookfield's approach to community growth, change and development over the next two or more decades - aldermen and city officials last week discussed long-term plans affecting transportation in Brookfield.
The comprehensive plan, which needs to be adopted by Jan. 1, includes several recommendations about traffic planning during the next 25 years, including studying possibilities for an additional Interstate 94 interchange and supporting a high-speed rail system as long as it includes a station in Brookfield.
High-speed rail in Brookfield?
The high-speed rail system, which would make use of existing tracks between Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago, has support regionally and in the state and federal governments, Director of Community Development Dan Ertl said.
While plans remain preliminary, Ertl said, the earliest that work would start on the rail system would be 2013 or 2014.
Mark Roffers, a consultant with Vandewalle and Associates, the firm working on the city's 2035 plan, said local cost estimates will not be available until the state and federal governments say how much they will contribute. But, Roffers said, if those bodies want a high-speed train to go through Brookfield, it most likely will.
"We're probably not going to have a great impact on whether the train (station) is built here or not," he said.
Fifth District Alderman Scott Berg said bringing a high-speed rail stop to Brookfield would create "a lot of practical difficulties" for the city.
"This isn't a trivial community debate," he said.
I-94 ramp study to continue
The city for years has been looking at the possibility of an additional interchange from I-94 between Moorland and Barker roads.
While a neighborhood plan approved in 2001 identified Calhoun Road as the preferred site for a new interchange, the 2035 plan says the city should work with the state Department of Transportation to study the feasibility and impacts of a future interchange, without mentioning a specific location.
While some aldermen expressed concerns about studying the possibility of an interchange, Public Works Director Tom Grisa said the Environmental Impact Statement would require a "complete vetting" of other options for I-94, and Roffers said there would be a "no-build" option explored as well.
Some of the plan's other recommendations, which are based on city plans, include the extension of Wisconsin Avenue to Pilgrim Parkway, intersection improvements along North Avenue and the potential expansion of sections of Pilgrim and Calhoun roads and North Avenue.
WHAT: public comment opportunity on Brookfield's 2035 Comprehensive Plan
WHEN: Brookfield's National Night Out, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 5
WHERE: Brookfield Public Safety Building, 2100 N. Calhoun Road
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