By Katie Crowther. CREATED May 7, 2014
MILWAUKEE - After nearly a year of protests, Southridge Mall officials now says they will consider moving a controversial bus stop.
"I'm glad they're taking notice," says Peter Adamczak, who has been confined to a wheelchair his whole life. "As a person with a disability, the bus stop move was a big deal. We are not going to back down on this matter. We will keep fighting until we get the bus stop back to where it was initially."
The bus stop was moved last November from near a mall entrance, to about 1,000 feet away on the outskirts of the property. According to Southridge representatives, it was moved to improve safety and cut down on high bus traffic through the parking lot.
"When people see the bus stop for themselves, they can't believe it," says Stephanie Suestein, the Director of Milwaukee County's Department on Aging. "They cannot believe that someone actually thought that was an okay accommodation for people who ride the bus, to be able to get into the mall."
Suestein is happy Southridge Mall's General Manager has agreed to talk with county leaders about finding a middle ground.
"This is a step that's been long in coming," she says. "I'm hoping it's the first positive step in a victory for us."
Mary Mokwa, the general manager of Southridge, issued the following statement Wednesday:
"Southridge appreciates the committee's willingness to work and talk with us. We believe that coming together in the spirit of cooperation is the most productive path, and we look forward to reviewing and discussing possible alternatives for providing safe and convenient access to bus service.
"The changes were made to prevent a dangerous situation from getting worse because of the estimated 150 bus trips through the mall property on a daily basis. It's unfortunate that the matter has developed the way it has, but today's committee decision is encouraging. We are hopeful that we can find a solution, look for common ground and continue to offer a great experience for everyone who visits Southridge."