Thursday, July 9, 2009

This Was The Perfect Day For Light Rail - - Which Waukesha Killed For Milwaukee In 1997

This was the perfect day for light rail transit in Milwaukee.

There was an afternoon ballgame at Miller Park that ended during the rush hour.

More folks were coming east on I-94 to the lakefront to see the circus wagons.

Others were pouring in from all directions to the opening of Bastille Days, a street festival east of city hall at Cathedral Square.

But without light rail to get and among these destinations, people were forced either onto the bus, or into the cars.

I drove south on Highway 41 past Miller Park on my way to the East side at about 5:30 p.m. today, and the traffic moving west towards Waukesha County was a solid crawl.

The radio traffic news reporter said there were no accidents, but the travel time from the Marquette Interchange west to Moreland Rd. was a very slow 46 minutes.

And there was a long line exiting onto I-794 towards the lakefront, or towards Cathedral Square.

No light rail ride to any of these locations for anyone.

Why not?

In 1997, conservatives-without-a-vision led by our brace of anti-city talk radio jocks, then-Waukesha County Executive Daniel Finley, and George Watts, the Milwaukee merchant who feared light rail would transport "strangers" to the suburbs, vetoed any more light rail study even though all stops in Waukesha County were removed from the plan.

History here.

So there is no light rail to move people in Milwaukee County (Waukesha riders could have parked at remote lots and ridden into the downtown or the stadium, too) through the city.

And here's the kicker for Waukesha County:

There is no light rail in place to mitigate the even worse traffic congestion that is scheduled from approximately 2012 through 2025 when I-94 is widened from Miller Park/Story Hill, through the Zoo Interchange and west across the rest of Waukesha County to the Jefferson County line.

That's because all that short-sighted, small-minded, anti-urban thinking cost everyone in Milwaukee County a modern transit choice, and prevented Waukesha commuters from a sleek ride in and out of town.

You prefer orange barrels and lane closures?

And the coming increases in state borrowings, probable tolls and other new "revenue enhancers" to pay the needed billions to support all this unsustainable road-building?

You'll be having it all.

For a longggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg time.

1 comment:

JoeyHepatitis said...

We're just so forward-thinking we're planning for that future when cars are safe, gas is cheap, and we do our jobs in our cars sitting in congestion sipping on a 40