I've lived in New Berlin over 30 years. My subdivision is near Moorland Road. Years ago, when Moorland Road was widened, some residents were upset. But expanding the road was the right thing to do. It was in our city's best interests. Fortunately, those City leaders thought ahead instead of being short-sighted. I wish members of our current City Council would have done likewise regarding Calhoun Road.
Designs for the reconstruction of Calhoun Road were developed by a consultant hired by the City of New Berlin some years ago. City staff, including city engineers who obviously possessed more expertise in this field than our aldermen, studied and reviewed the design options with respect to safety, traffic, storm water improvements, and what would be best long term. They recommended that Calhoun Road be expanded to four lanes.
In 2007, Aldermen Dave Ament, Ken Harenda, Ron Seidl, and Tom Augustine chose to disregard their recommendation. The Common Council (in a 4-3 vote) approved keeping Calhoun Road two lanes and doing a basic rehabilitation of the road.
Mayor Jack Chiovatero vetoed that Council action.
Mayor Chiovatero recently won re-election. Calhoun Road was a major campaign issue in that election. It was even debated by candidates. See NOW article. Both aldermen (Ken Harenda and Ted Wysocki) who ran against Chiovatero in the recent mayoral election had advocated keeping Calhoun Road two lanes. In February's Primary Election, Chiovatero received more votes than Wysocki and Harenda combined. Moreover, Harenda, who had been Council President for 5 years and had voted for the basic 2-lane Calhoun Road plan in 2007, came in third in the Primary and was eliminated from the race. Chiovatero went on to beat Wysocki in the April general election by a bigger margin that he had in 2005.
On May 11, 2009 the New Berlin Board of Public Works by a 3-2 vote, decided to recommend a design plan for Calhoun Road that was a compromise, be forwarded to the Council. This compromise plan was for a 2- lane Calhoun Road which included off-road side paths--considered a safer alternative for pedestrians and bicyclists to use than a road shoulder. Who were the 2 dissenters? Ald. Ament and Seidl (Two of the aldermen who had voted for the more bare-bones 2 lane option in 2007). Mayor Chiovatero indicated he preferred the four lane plan but could accept the compromise plan for safety reasons and because it allowed for future widening of the road. See news article.
At the City Meeting the next day (May 12, 2009) Council President Ken Harenda announced his committee and board appointments. Harenda took Ald. Bill Moore off the Board of Public Works and replaced him with Ted Wysocki. This bit of political manuevering ensured that the Board of Public Works now had a majority that agreed with Harenda regarding Calhoun Rd. Ald. Moore, who had been chairman of the Board of Public Works, had supported the compromise plan.
A Special Meeting of the Board of Public Works was held on May 18. The action to forward the compromise plan to Council was rescinded.
At the May 26, 2009 Common Council Meeting, Ald. Harenda, Ament, Seidl, Wysocki and John Hopkins voted for a minimalist 2-lane Calhoun Road reconstruction plan that was similar to what the Council had approved in 2007. The vote was 5-0. Ald. Moore and Poshepny were absent.
If you support widening Calhoun Road to 4 lanes, or have concerns about the Council disregarding the recommendation of the city engineers or about the unwillingness of aldermen to approve the safer 2-lane Calhoun Road compromise that includes off-road side paths and allows for expansion later instead of the 2-lane Calhoun road option they chose, please contact your alderman and the mayor.