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Pedestrian hazard at Wells and 20th needs to be fixed

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The oldest way to commute is walking, and people from a good part of Milwaukee can walk downtown by way of Wells Street, one block north of Wisconsin Avenue. The main public library is down that way, if you need to register to vote, City Hall is down that way, if you have to go to court, the court house is down that way too. One hundred years ago, most people commuted to work on their two feet.

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Right opposite the end of 20th Street, across from Milwaukee Center for Independence and a newish one story law firm building, is a safety hazard and eye sore in the sidewalk along Wells Street. In the summer, its a slippery wet hazard where water pools when it rains. In the winter, its an even more slippery slick ice hazard when it freezes after a slight thaw.

Water drains out of the retaining wall of the parking lot just west of WISN, northeast of the renovated residential Bockl building, due north of the rear end of the Pabst Mansion. At the top of the retaining wall, behind a fence topped with barbed wire, are also a series of satellite dishes. Drainage is necessary when soil is packed up behind a retaining wall, but there are no arrangements to channel the run-off safely into the storm sewer system or into the ground. It just pools on the sidewalk.

There is a stretch more than thirty foot long where pools of water collect. And then, after being dumped on a public sidewalk by the runoff from a private retaining wall for a private parking lot, the water can't quite make it over the curb into the storm sewer either.

Over the past ten years, there has been no sign that either the private property owners abutting the sidewalk or the Milwaukee Department of Public Works has taken any measures to remove this hazard. Perhaps a local TV station should investigate.

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