Friday, June 17, 2011

Removing Ugly Bus Barn From Milwaukee Lakefront A Great Idea

Relocating the Milwaukee County bus facility to the new Intermodal station a few blocks away and joining it with existing Amtrak and coach services there would be a boon to lakefront development and regional transit coordination.

That its cost could come down gives the plan a real shot. Let's hope the County board and the Abele administration move assertively to rid the lakefront and intersection at Michigan St. and Lincoln Memorial Dr. of a planning mistake - - the building was sort of a gesture - - in location,  not design, to a lost railroad station gem - - that diminishes the museums, Lake Michigan vistas and pedestrian focus at this key destination.

The facility, formally known as the Milwaukee County Transit Center, really isn't a center of anything except failed vision and architecture. The Milwaukee County Historical Society maintains a nice display of local transit artifacts and photos in a second floor hallway, but I don't ever remember seeing any publicity that it's there.

Occasionally, the regional planning commission takes over a conference room for meetings; most people parked at the gloomy O'Donnell structure, now with even worse karma than the 'Center.'

Starting over, moving bus transit services and displays to the Intermodal station to the bright, pleasant true transit center on W St. Paul Ave. couldn't happen fast enough.


citydem said...

The Transit Center was built by former County Exec. Dave Schultz to soak up $18 million in Fed Capital money that might otherwise have been used for Light Rail which Schultz opposed.As for Inter Modal Transportation Centers, they are not needed for a bus system. IMT centers are a sop to smaller cities jealous of the large grants big cities like NYC and Chicago get for transit. Like Milwaukee's Lakefront Transit Center, most IMT's fail. They collect graffiti and depress property values. Intra city bus systems don't need a station. They just need streets and bus stops at the corners. RR stations, on the other hand add value and are usually necessary to handle larger crowds. Abele should remove Schultz's Mistake on the Lake and sell the land. No station is needed for the bus system- Wisconsin Avenue works just fine.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point. And we need to start saving for light rail or at least planning city expansion around the future prospect.

Making sure there's space may be the only pro-transit move we can afford for a while.