Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Killing Light Rail In Milwaukee Killed Transit-Related Development, Too

A few years ago I wrote this piece for the Milwaukee Journal Crossroads section about the myriad consequences of the blockade by the suburbs put in front of Milwaukee-based light rail:

Had plans unfolded on schedule, the starter light rail, with an estimated 21,000 riders on weekdays, would have opened in 2006 and run about 10 miles from the Third Ward to Summerfest, downtown, Miller Park, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the County Grounds. 
Talk about a missed opportunity...
The system would have benefited from the city's condo-and-loft boom, a resurgent  Milwaukee Brewers' ballclub, the successful Potawatomi Bingo Casino and an expanding Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. 
Extensions to Milwaukee's north side and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee would have generated support, and light rail could have assisted Waukesha County commuters because years of Zoo Interchange and I-94 reconstruction are planned west of Milwaukee. 
Hard to miss the echoes to this story about relocating a proposed light rail stop in the Denver area to spur added development:
By putting it farther north on Fitzsimons Parkway, the city could develop the area around the new station with commercial, residential and office space, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said. 
"It presents an opportunity for additional transit-oriented development," Hogan said. "It presents an opportunity for perhaps another hotel and restaurant...."
The new proposed stop at the northern edge of the medical campus would be the first light-rail stop heading south for the East Line from Denver International Airport after making a connection at Peoria Station, making it an attractive place for travelers to stay, Hogan said. 


Paul Trotter said...

Such incredible shortsightedness. No vision. Such a lack of critical thinking skills.

Anonymous said...

It's dead James, let it go. It just didn't get the public support it needed. Actually the public would prefer street paving. I don't know why they don't do what the public wants...but that's Tom Barrett and his social engineering. He's got all the answers doesn't he? He can predict the future on residency, a light rail being the spark to turn Milwaukee into the next Cleveland.

Anonymous said...

"It's dead James, let it go. It just didn't get the public support it needed"

Meaning it didn't get support from people who actively wish ill for the residents of Milwaukee, as shown by the comments of right wing trolls on this very blog.

And thanks to that, Milwaukee continues to stagnate while cities that are building better public transit are climbign up from the bottom. Such as, oh, Cleveland.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure the only social engineering going on in Wisconsin right now is coming from Walker, Vos, Ellis, and the rest of the GOP in Madison who all think they know what's best for Milwaukee City, Milwaukee County, rural Wisconsin, women, children, the poor, the non-white, etc., etc., and are using every bit of state power they can to get their way.

Anonymous said...

We should never stop reminding the Republicons of what could have been.

One day they might see the light.

That day will come when - there won't be room to expand roads and fuel will be too expensive.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand why people do support light rail. It's mostly the people in the suburbs that don't support it which I get because they all have cars but people in the city of Milwaukee near downtown need better transportation. The bus system isn't good enough and whenever I take it I end up being late. While on the other hand light rail is efficient and on time. Can you think of any other 600k plus cities without some kind of mass transit beside buses? No, only Milwaukee. We are stuck in the past.