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As I See It

DOT backs off on plans for wider South Ave



The city of La Crosse has certainly had its battles with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. And usually, the city has come out on the losing end. The city insists it doesn’t want a road through the marsh, but most of the DOT’s road options include such a route. La Crosse wanted more input on the redesign of Exit 3 on the city’s northside, but backed down after the DOT threatened to make the city pay for it. A similar battle has been brewing over plans for South Avenue. But this time it appears the DOT is actually listening to the city’s concerns. The DOT has said the best plan for redoing South Avenue is to make it wider to accommodate more traffic. But those living in the area say the road is wide enough already, and wider roads mean faster traffic. Now the DOT is proposing narrower lanes for South Avenue, that could even include more room for bicyclists. All that noise the city has made about the DOT’s plans actually seem to be making a difference. So is the cost of a wider road. It is estimated widening South Avenue would cost some $3 million just in real estate acquisition costs, requiring the removal of 24 existing buildings to make way for the new road. Fewer buildings means the city would collect less money in taxes. It is good that the DOT is actually listening to the concerns of those living where they want to put new roads. That could be a sign that the state agency will listen a little better to concerns over a road through the marsh.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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