Today Begins Milwaukee's Congested, No-Rail Lakefront Season
It's ridiculous that people can't access the Lakefront today as an air show, art fair and volleyball tournament lure tens of thousands of people to the area.
The folly will continue for months, from Summerfest to the last of the ethnic festivals. No rail stops on the lower east side, or at the end of North Ave., or in the Third Ward.
And what kind of a message is it for the newspaper to highlight the parking problems? The message is, oooooh, maybe it's better not to try. Stay home. Or go to the mall. By car.
Here it is 2014, and county officials were seen showing a TV reporter a few days ago which swaths of lakefront parkland grass will be open for car parking this weekend. That's the best we can do? Park on the grass?
The transit obstruction will hit suburban commuters hard, too, forcing them to drive into and all the road construction underway -- public billions for more lanes, but far lesser amounts were deemed too expensive for the light rail system.
And it's criminal that the signature new Northwestern Mutual Tower and other developments within walking distance of the shoreline do not have light rail stations or access in their construction plans or promotional brochures.
Or that you can't use light rail if you are at or headed to the convention center, the Bucks arena or Miller Park.
If we were truly open for business, light rail would be part of the mix, routinely.
Not to mention right-wing opposition also stalling the downtown trolley - - an asset for everyday workers, shoppers and residents - and continuing Milwaukee's suburban-led transit discrimination.
A Minneapolis employer recently sponsored a charity event in downtown Minneapolis - the promotional flyer called out the fact that for your convenience, you could ride the light rail or bus, and included a link to print out the free pass.
Light rail would be a huge asset to Summerfest - easing the DUI issues, the parking, the noise disrupting the residents and businesses of the third ward, and just overall making it a helluva lot easier to get there.
When I moved to Milwaukee, you could actually find some hidden street parking nearby, and park all day and night for free or next to free. Obviously, things have changed - for the better, mostly! - but as you say, the inability to think beyond CARS is a real problem, and if the current state legislature is unable to, we need to change them out for people who are willing.
Yet again, Minnesota and Illinois are drinking our milkshake.
I had to wonder, too, who thought it was a good idea to have the air show, with the awful Blue Angels, buzzing the arts festival this weekend -- the weekend that always has been the timing for the arts festival that opens the festival season at the lakefront. So it is the air show that, after four peaceful years without the Blue Angels -- pulled from the air for dangerous infractions -- that is the interloper that ought to have been scheduled at another time.
(Of course, "never" would have been fine timing for anyone in the flight path, having to put up with days of practice as well as the weekend audial assault -- and paying, along with all taxpayers, $40 million per year for this part of the defense budget. What do the Blue Angels defend?)
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