New data show Milwaukee's Downtown residential population accelerating.
Which is a good thing, as residential growth is crucial to the success of businesses close by.
The stronger is Milwaukee's heart, the better for everyone who lives, works or visits here, and for the physical environment, because urban density creates less demand for fossil fuels, water usage (no pools to fill, no big-lot yards to water), and so forth.
This development pattern further justifies the creation of a Downtown rail system - - something former Mayor John Norquist promoted as part of his New Urbanist vision for Milwaukee, and which Mayor Tom Barrett will see begun, and soon.
A landlocked city like Milwaukee - - back in 1954 the state legislature froze the city's boundaries, which helped the suburbs grow, and then sprawl, and created also unsustainable expansion of both highway and water systems - - must be aggressive and deft when remaking itself.
Thus, Milwaukee has focused on the Downtown Riverwalk, city-wide bike paths, warehouse conversions in and near the Downtown into condos and lofts.
While making judicious use of public aid to get projects on the tax rolls, creating revenue to guarantee that basic services are delivered to residents and businesses.
Milwaukee needs to keep its eye on the ball, which means three things:
1. Making sure that the rest of the city gets as much care and attention as is focused Downtown.
2. Turning a deaf an ear to rightist, ideological critics of rail and urbanity the same way professional ballplayers tune out the noisy and uninformed louts in the stands.
3. Promoting full-scale rail service in and through Milwaukee as a complement to air and highway transportation: Downtown streetcars, commuter rail to the south, high-speed rail connections south, west and northwest (and growing the high-speed rail train set assembly and repair business planned for Milwaukee by Spanish train builder Talgo).