Protesters bash bus stop changes in Southridge parking lot

CREATED Apr 19, 2014

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GREENDALE -- There’s a battle over a busy bus stop.

Many of the shoppers who ride the bus to the Southridge Mall aren't happy about the relocation of the bus stop. It takes longer to get to the mall entrance and several people who ride the bus are in wheelchairs or visually impaired, like Don Natzke.

“It makes me very angry that they’ve done it,” says Natzke. “But it also makes me very sad that there are people who would choose to do it, and they would feel comfortable doing it.”

Mall management says the relocation was intended to improve pedestrian safety. But others ask, what about the bus riders?

“It’s very dangerous,” notes Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik. They’ve got them walking in the middle of a parking lot – walking with traffic rather than against traffic which is required by state law.”

Mall security wouldn’t allow the media to be at the bus stop. But it’s a long, frustrating walk for many. There’s a painted yellow path that shows people where to walk. But for Don, that doesn’t help at all!

Don is visually impaired and was accompanied by a friend during Saturday’s protest.

“Certainly the yellow line does me no favors,” explains Natzke. “And when you have an area that’s full of snow it makes it difficult. But also for us who have visual impairments, when you have a wide parking area with a sidewalk that’s not raised, you’re really in harms way.”

Others, like Judy Troestler, will have to take the bus in the future. She’s had M.S. for 25 years and is dreading the trek ahead of her.

“I don’t shop at Sears anymore. I also have macular degeneration. There’s going to be a time when I’m not able to drive anymore.”

These are just a few of the complaints people have voiced. Many are so fed up, they’ve boycotted shopping at the mall altogether.