Monday, September 22, 2008

Milwaukee Fares Well In Sustainability Rating...

But would have done better if it weren't rated so low in transit and several other categories.

Credit is give to our New Urbanist practices and Mayor Barrett's Office of Sustainability, and we rank number-one in water availability.

The city still needs a better plan to use its proximity to Lake Michigan as a way to bring industry to it, rather than just eyeing water sales under the Great Lakes Compact.

Bottom line: More innovation and risk-taking is needed.

It's no accident that Portland, with its signature light rail system and growth boundaries that bring people and capital into the downtown helped that city to the number-one US sustainability rating.

1 comment:

TWW said...

It is interesting that you point out transit (Commuting ranked 21st and Transit Ridership at 30th) in lieu of Milwaukee's rankings. Of the 16 categories, here are eight others that ranked even or worse: City Innovation (22nd), Knowledge Base and Communications (32nd), Green Economy (23rd), Housing Affordability (32nd), Green Building (26th), Planning and Land Use (21st), Solid Waste Diversion (24th), and Water Quality (32nd). Seems as though there many areas of improvement, not just transit.
Yet, you seem compelled to relate sustainability rankings to light rail.

Conversely, I can use the same data to invalidate the significance of light rail. The following is a comparison between Milwaukee without light rail, and other cities with light rail. The numbers are as follows: overall sustainability, city commuting ranking, and metro transit ridership ranking.

12 21 30 Milwaukee

21 35 29 San Jose

24 30 17 Dallas

26 33 15 San Diego

35 34 35 Charlotte

36 27 14 Houston

39 43 18 Forth Worth

46 42 37 Memphis

Hmmmm. Each has a light rail system, but lower sustainability and lower City Commuting ranking.
Again, let me state that I am interested in light rail. I would utilize a system if it is convenient and cost effective relative to my current mass transit choice. But, arguments in favor of light rail must have merit. This one does not.