Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Light rail would help land Milwaukee NBA All-Star Game

Boosters are right: Milwaukee's new NBA arena should make the city a contender for an All-Star Game.

But people arriving by plane will expect to be directed at the airport to the light rail connections for the Arena, the entertainment district and downtown hotels - - but now-Gov. Scott Walker, the GOP establishment and their loud allies in conservative talk radio killed light rail here years ago. 
A starter light rail system was recommended for Milwaukee County in a major state-funded regional transportation study in the 1990s that had considerable public and private sector support.
But conservative AM talk radio and opposition in Waukesha County blocked further study of light rail for Milwaukee, even though $241 million in federal funds was set aside specifically for transit improvements in Milwaukee County.
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.
Queuing up at airport rent-a-car booths or bus stops isn't going to match our potential NBA visitors' 21st century expectations.  

And, yes, there are cabs and ride-services, but it's 2018, and counting: where's the train?

Light rail service extensions to the airport, UWM the Fond du Lac Avenue industrial corridor would, by now, be routine - - and I'm betting that commuters in places like New Berlin and the North Shore would have also been petitioning for stations - - had the system not run into partisan and anti-urban resistance.

Milwaukee's streetcar lines would make getting around the downtown easier were the NBA to hold its event here - - and people attending conferences and conventions are also going to swear by it - - but that doesn't solve the obstacles facing airport travelers getting in and out of downtown.

Remember that the NBA All-Star-Game, now a multi-day 'experience,' is a winter event - - this year's festivities begin February 16, in Los Angeles - - which is why during last weekend's NFL Super Bowl extravaganza transit officials there made light rail transit even more attractive:
VERY IMPORTANT: On Super Bowl Sunday, Blue Line trains will be reserved for ticket holders only. Same for the Green Line between the Stadium Village stop and U.S. Bank Stadium. Passengers without tickets to the game will be transported on replacement buses. Rides will be free on Feb. 4.  
Banned in Milwaukee 
Get with it, Wisconsin. The Foxconn site isn't the only destination starved by Republican ideologues for modern transit.


Anonymous said...

The way the tracks are laid out downtown, this is going to really screw up traffic. Just saying.

James Rowen said...

People will adapt.


Milwaukee needs light rail,and they need it to go a lot further than just the downtown, and east side area,they also need it reaching to the Milwaukee metropolitan area where people work,but live in Milwaukee city and buses don't go that far.
Milwaukee wants to be a great city but doesn't seem to want to take the necessary steps to do so.
Build some buildings taller than the 44
Story bank building,thats been the tallest building in Milwaukee since 1973,its 2018 ,this makes Milwaukee actually primitive, catch up with the present and the future, build some tourist attractions,give visitors something to see and consider,and give
Milwaukeeans a since of pride to call
Milwaukee home.
And get light rail,cath up with the times.