Thursday, August 14, 2008

Driving Keeps Declining, Transit Demand Increases - - But You Still Can't Get There From Here

More data about transit's advantages in the era of $4-per-gallon gasoline, a steady story the last few months.

But where are the direct bus routes from Milwaukee to, say, the New Berlin Industrial Park, or other sites in Waukesha County, where there is job growth?

Route #9. Cancelled, 2008.

Route #6 to the New Berlin Industrial Park. Cancelled, 2004.

Downtown Milwaukee to downtown Waukesha, a run between the two largest cities in their respective counties?

At the recent City of Milwaukee Common Council hearing on selling water to New Berlin, a Waukesha County Housing Authority official testified that many Milwaukee residents get discouraged about relocating to Waukesha once they realize that they'd have to take the Greyhound bus to get from Milwaukee to Waukesha.

Yet Milwaukee is encouraging more growth in these areas to its west through Lake Michigan water sales, but without transit connections as a quid pro quo.

And the state is forging ahead with the regional $6.5 billion freeway reconstruction and expansion plan throughout Southeastern Wisconsin without a companion plan for transit expansion.

It won't even redirect $200 million, or about 10% of the cost of the next phase of freeway building from Milwaukee to the Illinois state line - - as requested by Milwaukee's Mayor and Common Council - - into a commuter rail line in the same corridor that has been proposed and studied to death.

All at the time that driving is declining and transit demand is accelerating.

Despite all the talk about the need for regionalism, the discussion does not extend to transit.

Pretty disappointing.

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