Press Release: Rethink 794 Campaign Hosts Webinar, Releases Renderings

Statement: Rethink 794 Campaign Hosts Webinar, Revealing
New Renderings

Webinar on October 19 shows new boulevard concept for I-794
in Milwaukee and makes the argument for reimagining the corridor

Grassroots activists have been
pushing for an at-grade boulevard study for the I-794 corridor. After many
meetings and conversations with Milwaukee residents and elected officials, the
Rethink 794 is hosting a   webinar on October 19th at Noon to reveal
renderings made by local designers who have volunteered to work on this
project. Rethink 794 is advocating for reconnecting Downtown to the Third Ward,
opening $1.5B in land for potential development, creating better walking and
biking connections, and strengthening the City’s tax-base. The event is open to
the public, but free registration is required. Learn more at the project website: Renderings can be found here:

Organizers and participants
in the webinar issued the following statements: 

“There is so much opportunity
around reimaging I-794 in Milwaukee,” said Gregg May, Transportation Policy
Director at 1000 Friends of Wisconsin.
“This underutilized highway sits on
32.5 acres of Wisconsin’s most valuable real estate. With the Mayor recently
setting a goal to reach one million Milwaukeeans, we are urging elected
officials and city staff to study I-794 as an at-grade boulevard. This project
would reconnect two key neighborhoods, open new areas for development, and
strengthen the city’s tax-base. Reimagining 794 has so much potential which
would help the Mayor reach his goal.”  

“Sixty years ago, the elevated highway through
downtown Milwaukee erased the historic character of the city in the name of
progress because it was, at that time, the best intended use of that urban
space,” said Xu Zhang, Landscape Architect
& Urban Designer at Dover, Kohl & Partners
.  “Now, in
this new millennium, is an elevated urban highway the best we can imagine for
this prime area? Across the country, efforts to transform interstate highways
that have outlived their intended use into walkable neighborhoods have gained
momentum and support. Rebuilding I-794 as an at-grade boulevard could reconnect
downtown neighborhoods, restore a sense of place, and offer new development
opportunities.  Infrastructure projects, such as interstate freeways, may
outlast one’s lifetime; we must consider what legacy we want to leave for the
next generations.”

“The East-West stretch of I-794 has divided the
urban fabric of Milwaukee’s downtown and Third Ward district for decades, said Taylor
Korslin, Milwaukee Architect
. “Now we
have the opportunity to decide that this key space within the city should be
put to better use for the next 50 years. We set out to provide a bold vision
for what these 32.5 acres could become if the raised interstate was replaced
with a boulevard along Clybourn Street. For nearly one third the cost to
reconstruct this stretch of freeway, it could be removed and replaced with a
boulevard, opening up nearly 30 acres of value.” These are places people want
to be, to live and work. We know what the future holds if we simply reconstruct
this portion of freeway, the unknown however, is the potential for what it
could become if replaced with a boulevard.” 


Rethink 794 is composed of local
advocates, volunteer professionals, and environmental and transportation
advocacy groups. Rethink 794 is calling for a more responsible, cost-effective
approach to the I-794 corridor, which is about
to receive $300M in repairs from WisDOT. The campaign is focused on having the
City of Milwaukee commit to a boulevard study in their Downtown Plan Update.
The project team is reimagining
I-794 in downtown Milwaukee as an at-grade boulevard that reconnects Downtown
and The Third Ward.