Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront is a civic gem. Yet it was nearly divorced from the city in the ‘70s by a proposed highway system that would have laid a six-lane freeway alongside its beaches and through its East Side neighborhood, connecting to I-794 and I-94.
It is in large part thanks to the research of UWM faculty members —including Edward Beimborn, now Professor Emeritus, Civil & Environmental Engineering—that the beaches, parks, cultural centers and waters of Lake Michigan are today an integral part of our city, a haven for residents, a draw for businesses, and a point of civic pride.
A November 7 Shepherd Express article traces the legendary battle that pitted the proponents of a regional transportation plan against the voices and visions of community leaders and city residents.
As pavement was being laid and homes demolished, those opposing the freeway project found their champion in a group of UWM professors and state legislators. Through facts and analysis, Beimborn and others challenged the plan’s economic logic and engineering, and provided solutions that would, among other things, improve traffic flow while preserving the land.
The study proved to be the turning point and the regional transportation plan was scrapped.
UWM’s College of Engineering and Applied Science is incredibly proud of Beimborn, an Ernest Spaights Plaza Honoree whose groundbreaking work has contributed to the college’s national reputation for solving metropolitan and regional transportation issues and has brought enduring benefits to Milwaukee-area residents.