Livable Neighborhoods was formed in 1996 as a citizen’s group to fight the proposed 5B-1 North-South Corridor proposal.
5B-1 would be a new road from US Hwy 53 from I-90 in Onalaska through the La Crosse River Marsh and Indian Hill south to 7th & La Crosse Sts, where it would become a one-way pair on both 6th & 7th Sts down to US Hwys 14/61 (South Ave).
The supposed purpose of the 5B-1 road was simple: alleviate the projected congestion and move more cars from Onalaska to south of Downtown La Crosse (Gundersen Clinic). It was not freeway or a byway, rather it was a 4 lane road that cut right through the heart of the marsh, Indian Hill and the neighborhoods on the southwest side of the city.
The La Crosse Tribune posted the WisDOT video from the time.
In spite of the overwhelming public comment opposed to the new road, WisDOT and local elected officials approved the proposal.
Livable Neighborhoods and the Marsh Coalition organized a petition for a binding referendum so the issue could be put to the voters. We were outspent 12 to 1 by a coalition of business and labor, yet on November 4, 1998 the voters went to the polls and in a record turnout the proposed 5B-1 was rejected 11,951 (62.81%) Yes votes to 7,076 (37.19%) No votes.
You can read more about it on the La Crosse Library “History Repeats Itself“